I am not really sure how this is all going to come together, but usually, as I write, my thoughts sort of fall into place and I can pull some sort of nugget out of an otherwise embarrassing story.
Like the one I am about to tell you.
I don’t know if I have waited 3 weeks to write about it because my ego is still a bit singed, but for whatever reason, I am ready to “reason it out” with ya’ll on this fine day before Good Friday.
It’s probably not a coincidence that God has put this idea in my head and on my heart, coming to fruition the day before the horrific event that made what I am about to talk about even a possibility.
So, I will now stop stalling and tell you how it went down.
It was St. Patrick’s day and we went to hear our friend’s band (Fun DMC….check it out!). I was innocently minding my own business and visiting with the people at our table when all of a sudden, the lead female vocalist was standing in front of me and then pulling me on to the stage.
I didn’t really have time or opportunity to object before she handed me a mic and told me to sing. They were singing the song from “Friends” (I’ll be there for you….) and since I figured running off the stage and into the bathroom would also be pretty humiliating, I did my best to muddle through in my mom-clothes while the adorable lead-girl jumped around in her miniskirt and Wonder Woman tank top.
Now, even though I wasn’t prepared for this, I do sing at church and other places so I joined in and felt like it sounded pretty decent. It was terrifying but at least I kept up.
Well, the next day I watched the video that my dear husband took and sent to our children to prove their mom is still sorta hip and not a stick-in-the-mud on St. Patrick’s Day.
I was mortified, to say the least. I won’t even spend time talking about how dorky I looked. You are welcome for that.
But listen, people. I sounded hilariously horrific.
I was just slightly off, slightly sharp (for those of you who know music lingo) the entire song.
At the time, I had no idea. I thought, considering I had not prepped for it, that I had nailed it!
Watching it made my skin crawl and my ego shrivel.
I mean, I know I can sing on pitch. I really wanted a chance to explain this to those people. Give me another chance, for the love of Pete!
The past few weeks, as I have relived this embarrassment over and over in my mind, God has taught me a little something (as He usually does, if I let Him).
In trying to analyzed why I sounded so off, I realized that the reason I can hear myself (and remain on pitch) when singing at church, with a full band and other vocalists, is that I have an in-ear monitor. This allows me to hear my specific voice as it cuts through all the surrounding sounds.
To keep it simple, I think life with God’s Spirit in me is like this.
Only it’s His voice that cuts through all the other noise and leads me. Guides me. Directs me.
He helps me stay on pitch.
When I am not listening for His voice, I may be thinking I am performing like a rock star, but I am just slightly off.
There is no “sunlight of the spirit” about me.
I am pulling myself up by my own bootstraps. Enforcing my will and my way.
Running full speed ahead with out pausing to ask if this is what God would want for me that day.
In short, I am out of tune. I stink and I don’t even know it!
Until later, when I take time to reflect. To harken back to how I responded, behaved or reacted and realize that it was my nature, not God’s that came out of me. And then the regret and remorse for having grieved His Spirit by relying on my own comes flooding in.
I know it can sound a bit far-fetched and spooky to some of you, but the Holy Sprit really can dwell within you, helping you live life abiding intimately with the God of the universe. It’s hard to wrap my brain around sometimes.
I don’t remember where I heard this, but a speaker said, “Having the Holy Sprit live in us—God Himself in Sprit form—sounds too good to be true; and so we live as if it is.” As if we don’t have access to our Creator at all times but just talking to him without so much as moving our mouths.
Tomorrow is Good Friday. The day Jesus, the son of God, was killed so that God could make it possible for me to live with the whisper of His Holy Sprit in my ear, and in my Being, at all times.
Because, as pastor Tony Campolo so brilliantly preached: “It’s Friday…But Sunday’s Coming.
The despair of Good Friday brings the glorious promise of Resurrection Sunday: that God Himself can now whisper in your ear too, if you are willing to listen.