Monday 24 February 2014

Glorifying God with your talents (Be yourself!)

So I have about 1.5 hours in the San Francisco Airport until my plane boards. I figured that's enough time for one post, even though a post normally takes me about 2 hours. Hah. I just have to be less long-winded then. Or less picky. Or less... distracted. (Definitely less distracted. Shoo, facebook!)

I've been kind of wanting to write a proper proper post for a while now, but have been busy travelling and then being distracted and then being tired and then being busy working and then... you know, life doesn't just want you to sit down and reflect and have a cup of tea and write rambles sometimes. But since this is down time anyway...

Well, during one of the cell groups I attended here, Iris asked "what do you think God is speaking to you about?" (or something along those lines). I think the biggest thing for me, which has been felt over and over again every week at church, is just the feeling of release, that it's okay to just let go and do stuff, because it glorifies God. I'm going to need to backtrack a long way to explain this properly, I think. I'm not even sure if I know how to explain it properly.

A gazillion years ago (or maybe about fifteen?), we were having one of those cell group days when it was just us faithful three - Josh, Fran and I. So we decided to just do extended worship (I think we walked out for supper after that, or that could have been another cell meet) and I remember Josh saying something like that I would bless people with my song, with my harmonies. (As you can tell now, I don't have a very good memory.) And I kept that word, because it was precious to me.

Then somewhere along the way, I became afraid. Self-conscious. Part of it was the worry that I was wanting to sing, wanting to do all this stuff for my own ego, because I liked doing it, and because I was good at it. Part of it was the introverted me getting shy when the spotlight came and when people praised me. And I think what confused me a lot was that strange feeling of wanting to be praised but not knowing how to respond to it, mixed with the feeling of not wanting to be praised and letting my gifts glorify God, jumbled up with the voice that said if no one notices or acknowledges what I'm doing, I'm just not good enough.

I don't know if anyone else feels the same way. (Please raise your hand if you do. Virtually, of course.) The question I think I really had was how do you know if you're doing this for God or for your own pride? I guess this is especially relevant for any Christian involved in stage ministries (singing, music, writing, - anything that showcases a visible talent) because it's easy to start serving in these ministries for God, and then get distracted and start doing it for your own ego. And all the while telling yourself that you're doing it for God.

Anyway, I guess what happened was that I started holding back. I didn't want to stand out, I didn't want to seem like I was showing off, I didn't want to push stuff, because of the thought "what will people say?" (I struggle with this a lot). And I felt what God has really been telling me this whole while is, I've given you talents for you to USE them.

So I tell myself - It doesn't matter what people say. It doesn't matter if I'm singing too loud. It doesn't matter if I look weird. It doesn't matter because if I'm doing it for God, and if my motives are pure, who is man to judge me?

This is especially crucial for me at this time, because my head is running full steam ahead with a gazillion plans - a new musical on the way (hopefully!), a creative arts team to start up, a whole creative arts network to build across Malaysia. The check is always to remember why I want to do this - not for myself, not for the glory, but to be able to build a ministry, build a place where people, creative people, can mirror God's beauty and creativity in our world.

There's much more to be said about this, but there are announcements and signs going up at the gate although there's another half hour to go before boarding but I get antsy about this kind of thing, so I'm going to stop here.

I don't know if it's made much sense because I don't have time now to read through the whole chunk of text I just vomited out but I hope it makes some sense to you.

So, goodbye America.

I'm on my way home. :)


  1. How lovely, Anna. I'm an atheist, but I find the idea of glorifying whatever one has faith in with our talents is, well, glorious. And, yes, releasing. Go forth and conquer, Anna. You'll do great things.

    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

  2. Do not let any one tell you that you are not good enough. All of us are a perfect masterpiece created and as long as we do our best the result will be worth the wait. each one of us has a special talent and we must explore all options to achieve it. Keep up the great endeavors and happy journeys.

  3. Welcome back home. I subscribe to a different religion, but could immediately identify with these lines, cos I've felt the same, often.

    "Then somewhere along the way, I became afraid. Self-conscious. Part of it was the worry that I was wanting to sing, wanting to do all this stuff for my own ego, because I liked doing it, and because I was good at it."

    1. Thanks Damyanti.
      Glad to know it's a common feeling for people with faith.

  4. I'm an introvert too, but have nearly forgotten to be shy! Sometimes I worry about people's reactions to the things I do, because I sing in the choir and sometimes read from the Bible in church. And then there are the temptations with writing to lose track of what God wants me to write. I'll be visiting your blog again! Sue

    1. Hi Sue!
      Yes, there's always that temptation to get so sucked into the life (writing/signing/etc) that we end up doing our thing instead of God's thing.

      See you around!