I can’t watch American Idol anymore. Or The Voice. Or the any of the other singing competitions on tv. It’s not that I think there is anything wrong with those shows. I actually like watching them, I just can’t subject myself to them any longer. They are bad for my self esteem.
I don’t have a problem when I watch Dancing with the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance, but that’s because I’m not a dancer. I would like to learn to dance some day. I hope that one day in the future, I will have the free time to take a ballroom dancing class (preferably with my husband), but that would just be for fun. I don’t have any ambitions about making a career out of dancing.
Singing is another story, though. I have loved to sing since I was a little girl. I remember singing a solo for church when I was about 11, I think it was a Christmas song, and as I stood there in front of the small congregation, this thought came to my mind, “This is what I am meant to do”.
That kind of dream has a way of getting squashed by the world, though.
I did a lot of singing in middle and high school. I was part of a big acapella choir, a 12 member jazz ensemble choir, and when we moved from Oregon to Southern California, a show choir. We did concerts and choir competitions. Performing was what I loved to do.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that in order to “make it” as a singer, you can’t just be good, you have to be extraordinary. Even in the choirs I performed in, I wasn’t good enough to get solos. There were always the “stars”, you know, the ones that had the big solos in the concerts; the kids that had plans to go to Hollywood or Broadway after high school, and everyone believed they would be famous some day. I was never one of them. I was just one of the background voices. I tried to convince myself that I could be content with that, even though I wasn’t. It was ridiculous to think that I could be a singer, anyway. I didn’t have enough talent. I wasn’t pretty enough or skinny enough. It would be better to just let that go and focus on trying to do something with my life that would be attainable. I could be a nurse or a psychologist or something like that and maybe sing at church sometimes, if they would let me.
This wasn’t a conscious thought process. There wasn’t a moment when I decided to give up on the dream. It just slowly got crowded out of my mind. I knew I had to be realistic about myself and my abilities, so it drifted away until I forgot that it had ever been there in the first place.
When we started attending Bethel Church, God reminded me of how much I like to perform. Bethel does wonderful, professional quality Christmas and 4th of July shows. When I saw my first Christmas Spectacular in 2006, I kept saying to myself, “Wow! I have to get in on this!” I had missed it so much, but in the craziness of trying to figure out life as a wife and mother of two young children I had forgotten about my love of music. Shortly after that I joined the choir and got to be a part of the amazing shows the church does every year to reach out to the community. Slowly, over the next few years, God reawakened the dream he put in my heart when I was just a little girl.
So, back to American Idol. I can’t watch it because the singers on the show are so good. They have so much talent, and the world watches them sing and critiques every note, choice of song, outfit and hair style. In the auditions, sometimes a young person will stand in front of the judges and sing, and I think they sound good, but then Randy or Simon or Steven (depending on the season) will say something along the lines of “Sorry, dude. Not good enough.” Then I start to think, ”If that person isn’t good enough, why do I think I can sing?” “If she, who is so beautiful and talented, isn’t talented enough, why do I think that there is any chance for me?” Never mind that I don’t want to be an “American Idol”, per se. I’m too old, to begin with, and I don’t want that kind of lifestyle, anyway. The enemy uses my insecurities about my level of talent, though, to try to beat me into submission. He pounds me with all the reasons that I should just give up and be happy with being one of the “voices in the background” because, if all but one of those amazingly talented young people will end up off the show, why do I think that my mediocre ability can make any difference in the world?
I believe that my mediocre ability can make some kind of difference in the world because God has told me to sing. Because, if he can use a donkey to speak his words to someone who needs to hear it (see Numbers 22:21-31) he can use my voice too.
I don’t know where God is going to take me. Maybe someday I will sing on a stage as big as the American Idol stage. Maybe it will never get bigger than the little worship band I sing in now. I don’t know. What I do know, though, is that I can’t let the enemy discourage me into giving up and feeling unworthy. Therefore, I don’t watch American Idol anymore.
See, the LORD your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Do you have a dream that has been squashed by life? Are you working toward your dream but feel that it is threatened all the time? What do you do to protect it?