On Christmas Eve, at the end of 2017, I was getting ready to play piano and sing for the first of two evening Christmas Eve services at church. I wasn’t feeling well physically, and I actually ended up coming down with a virus and was sick the whole week of Christmas that year. But more than that, my mental, emotional, and spiritual health had been in decline mode for the last 7ish years. Andy (my husband) and I had been leading worship together for as long as I can remember, really. We led worship for various church related events before we even dated each other. When I look back, music is what brought us together. It was our thing that we did together. I always wanted that in a partner– to share life and have something we could call “ours”, so I assumed it was music.
Naturally, it was difficult for me to tell him that I didn’t want to do it anymore. Imagine how that conversation went! Actually, it was a series of conversations over the previous few years that culminated in that one, really dramatic conversation on Christmas Eve. I quit right there and left him hanging for those services. I remember feeling like I was losing my mind. I don’t know how I came across to him that day, but inside I was a mess and knew I needed to step away to care for myself for a while. There is a lot more to this story, but it has taken nearly 20 years for me to realize that I’m not called to music ministry like I thought I was back as a teenager. I swallowed that idea whole (you know the one I’m talking about, right? “What is God calling you to do?”), and believed for many, many years, that I was called to sing and lead worship. My dream was to travel the world and sing to glorify God! I didn’t give much thought to it back then; it seemed like a given to me.
So much of life has happened to close that door, though, and I was not as aware of it until more recent years. This has been one of the most difficult challenges of my life. I suffered with years of inner conflict over it, too, but in the end, reality was staring me down. I knew from somewhere deep within that this was not my path and I had to face that reality. Not only was I conflicted because this was what we did together, but I was also conflicted because of the opinions of other people in my life. For years, I chose to go along with the opinions of others, while living in a state of inner conflict. I pushed through, always telling myself “it will get better” and “everyone is stressed out; stress is normal and to be expected.” But the truth is, simply, that I don’t want to be on a stage. I don’t have any desire to continue on that path. I realize now that I am the only one who can know how God is guiding and directing me from within. I love the people in my life and I believe they are sincere and well intentioned, but when it came to this area, I needed to learn to hear God’s voice and discern between that voice and the noise of outside voices. For me, it took stopping myself in my tracks and stepping away from the noise itself.
I write this today for no reason other than to share the story of my own journey to God and sorting through this whole “life’s calling” thing. I think our lives have purpose, yes. I think God calls us, absolutely. I’m still asking questions about those two ideas, but I think that “whole-making instinct” has been awakened (thanks, Jung). I am on the path to wholeness in my entire being; on the way to living life from my deepest, truest Self. And it’s not at all what I expected. Andy and I are learning how important it is to cherish the time we do have together, and we are getting more creative about what it looks like to share life now.