Are you using your gifts to bring glory to God?
Article by Amanda Collins
I accepted Jesus Christ into my life when I was four years old, and my faith and love for him has grown ever since. Any time I ever needed a friend, or some words of encouragement, God was right there for me. I try to give thanks and praise God for all he has given me as much as possible, and one of the ways I like to praise him is by singing.
Using your gifts
Ever since I was little, I’ve loved worshipping God by singing because it’s a fun and active way to express my love for him. Last year, I wanted to grow further in my passion, so I signed up for a Musical Theatre class at my school. On my first day of class, I quickly realised that all of the kids there had extraordinary talent. Most of the people in my class had been singing for years and even took lessons outside of school. Our teacher would assign us songs for homework, and whenever I heard my classmates perform, I would just stare in amazement at their passion and energy.
The comparison trap
Compared to all the great voices in my class, I felt very weak and inexperienced. When I performed, I was convinced I wouldn’t sing as nicely as my classmates and that I’d embarrass myself. My body would go stiff and my voice would crack as I sang. My teacher constantly told me to relax and have fun, but I felt so insignificant compared to my classmates. Letting go of my anxiety seemed impossible.
As my classes continued, I grew more frustrated. I constantly asked God why he would put me in such an uncomfortable situation, only for me to fail over and over again. Then, one day during spring break, I was browsing through my devotional when I came across an article on gifts and talents. Desperate for advice on using my talents, I began to read. The article contained a bible verse from Colossians 3:23-24 which said,
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and the Master you are serving is Christ.”
As soon as I read these words I realised my anxiety had nothing to do with my talent. It was all to do with my attitude! The reason I was stressed was because I was singing to impress my classmates instead of God, the way I used to. From that moment on, I decided to keep practicing my singing, but this time I would let go, have faith, and use my gift for God’s glory.
Give it all to God!
I started graciously accepting my teacher’s critiques, recognising they would help me improve. I practiced while walking my dog, doing the laundy, and even in the shower! Eventually, the time came for me to perform my Musical Theater final: a four minute solo.
Just before I went up to sing, I prayed to God and promised I would do my best for him—and only him—no matter what the class thought of my performance. I focused completely on the song and giving it my best effort. When I finished singing, the class burst into applause. They were amazed with the awesome voice I had been holding back for so long. My teacher called it my best work yet. I was so happy and grateful to God for giving me that moment in the spotlight that I could barely contain it! He put a smile on my face for the entire week.
This experience has taught me not to seek approval from others, or even compare my talents with theirs. I will always fall short of that goal. But God does not focus on my mistakes or ask me to be the best at everything—even singing. To God, as long as I am turning to him for applause, my best efforts are good enough.