At the start of the year I set myself up for a personal challenge; 'To regularly post a video of me sitting at my piano, playing and singing'.
For me, it is a scary challenge, and is definitely a case of 'biting the bullet'. In my first video, I explained that the reason for the challenge was to do something practical and to 'make a statement' to myself, in order to counteract a lot of negativity I had heard through my life about my voice. Since I live in the zone of "Dare to..." I decided to hashtag "DareToBeHeard". I found myself really thinking about this statement recently when I was caught in a deeply theological and emotional discussion about the meaning of Israel, it's role in theology, and it's relevance today.
We had completely opposing viewpoints, and although we were both open and soft in our approach, it really impacted me how nervous I felt to voice this often unpopular opinion. Something rose up in me, and I noticed that my expression of my opinions and beliefs were no longer apologetic, but rather, confident and bold. I don't know what caused this switch, but it was good timing, as I was in the UK, on a trip to record the first "Dare To Ask" EP!
I found that this confidence carried through in my recordings (which was a huge answer to prayer). More thinking occurred. Why had so many people throughout my life, felt it necessary to comment on my voice? Why had so many found a reason to silence it? Why had so many insisted it wasn't good enough? Why had so many torn it apart and found it to be not 'what they were looking for'?
Then I realized that I was no longer thinking about my singing voice.
Then I realized that's probably how a lot of people feel about their voice, their opinions, their beliefs and their experiences.
It baffles me that in this age when we are supposed to be free, enlightened, educated and inclusive, we all feel the need to conform. We all sense what 'politically incorrect' is, and although we might not always go along with the politically correct view, we feel the pressure to dumb down what we really think, in order to not offend.
I've always been a person who's been told I'm too blunt, or too loud, or am clearly 'unenlightened' because of my views, and I've never really cared, because I have strong convictions about what I think, and am fairly confident in myself.
So why does this not transfer to my musical position?
I guess we are all on a journey of embracing more of who we are. Accepting more of what God made us to be, and finding a boldness to 'own' what we are, and to stop apologizing. While we must always be willing to change and learn in regards to our views, there are things about us that don't change, that are intricately a part of who were are created to be. These are the things that we must learn are there for a reason, in the way that they're there. These are the parts of us that are a gift to the world because they are unique and will never exist again in history. These are the parts of us that were intended for the world now, at this point in time.
Too many of us try to force ourselves into shapes we were never supposed to fit in. We silence our views because we're afraid of the backlash. We silence our voices because we don't have the same sound as the current favorite. We shut away our beliefs because they are not the same as the millennial pastor on Instagram.
I don't know about you, but I am a little fed up of being silenced, and I am asking God for the courage to be me, to be who I was made to be, and to dare to be heard.
Listen: "Awakened" - an original song by Simcha