At work, I was asked to do a voice-over for an instructional video, so I had been using a recorder app on my phone to practice and playback. On the ride home, I was singing along to something on Country radio. Now, when the mood is right, and the weather is right, and the song is just right, there’s nothing better than singing along on a car ride. It was one of those songs that just felt good to sing. Out of pure curiosity, I wondered if it sounded as pleasant recorded on my phone. So I quickly tapped the record icon and let it go.
I should’ve let it go when I had the idea to record. I crossed the point of no return, when you can’t un-hear something you’ve heard. Listening to the playback, I certainly didn’t decide to turn around and head to Music Row. Let’s just say, it wasn’t good.
It was a bit of a hit to my ego. In general, I know I sing fine. I was in chorus, I lead singing at church, I know a bit of music theory. I’m like 3rd-place-karaoke-contest kind of good. Maybe it was just the phone’s poor sound quality… yeah, that’s it.
But I love to sing, especially the ones that feel like they’re just right in your zone. Like it physically feels good to sing it loud. In college, on the 3-hour ride back to school after a weekend away, I would wear my voice out and be hoarse the next day. “OOOOOHHH We’re half way there, OOOOHHHH OHH, LIVIN ON A PRAYER!”‘
So what? So the recording sounded bad? What’s the big deal? It wasn’t FOR anyone else. I most definitely didn’t post it to the public. It doesn’t change the fact that I enjoy singing.
My daughter, as wonderful as she is, didn’t inherit a natural gift of music like I thought she would, having two fairly musical parents. We taught her how to clap on beat (which she’s got now) and get her to keep climbing up to the note when she’s not quite hitting it. But she loves to sing. And she’s so honest and sincere when she does. It’s the sweetest thing to watch and hear.
My toddler has picked up on music. He finishes the lines to “Wheels on the Bus” and “Jesus Loves Me.” He dances when it feels right. He claps along. He sings to himself when no one’s bothering him, completely incoherent words. It’s the sweetest thing to watch and hear.
Surely God looks at us the same way and appreciates sincere hearts. Time after time He acknowledges people with an honest and clear conscience, e.g. the giving widow, the Centurian; and in some cases punished those who did not, i.e. Ananias and Sapphira. More often than not, quality isn’t the top priority. In parables like the Good Samaritan, He purposefully takes the unexpected, to prove that He’s more concerned with the heart of the matter.
It’s the same reason why you will sit through your child’s elementary school concert, with a dumb smile slapped on your face, trying to get a clear shot with a camera, but never in a million years would you want to go to a different, random school to watch their concert. If you see your kid get a base hit in little league, you will lose your ever-lovin’ mind, and scream and cheer – a bigger reaction than any other game you watch this year. Why? Because it’s your child. Their success, happiness, or achievement means more than any of your own. Their acts of kindness or selflessness gives you a sense pride you wouldn’t feel about yourself or anyone else.
God loves us the same. And when we sing, the quality is secondary to the heart. I believe the heart will cause us to want to improve the quality as well; they’re not mutually exclusive. When we give a drink of water to someone thirsty, your Father is in the audience with a camera. When we swallow spiteful remark and choose to be gracious, your Dad is in the stands with a smile and a puffed up chest. When we love others they way God has loved us, He says “well done, good and faithful servant.”
Be less concerned about the tone of your voice, or if someone is watching or listening or judging. Sing anyway.