Recently I finished Shauna Niequist's gorgeous book Bittersweet, a collection of vulnerable essays in which she explores the way that God has shown Himself beautiful and true through some pain and change that she experienced in a difficult season of her life. I am recommending this book to almost everything that breathes -- it is so good. Almost every essay convicted me or spoke to my heart, breathed new life into me. I think my favorite of the pieces is called "Love Song For Fall," in which she speaks to creatives. She encourages artists, writers, sub-creators of the One Creator to, well, create. We can't help but create, but sometimes we tend to suppress that human urge. And she calls upon creatives in a kind of manifesto that has changed me utterly.
Get up. Create like you're training for a marathon, methodically, day by day. Learn your tricks, find a friend, leave the dirty dishes in the sink for a while. This is your chance to become what you believe deep in your secret heart you might be. You are an artist, a guide, a prophet. You are a storyteller, a visionary, the Pied Piper himself. Do the work, learn the skills, and make art, because of what the act of creation will create in you.
Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet (emphasis mine)
When I read this, it called to me. These words breathed new life into my soul and spirit. They set my mind spinning and my heart dancing and my voice itching to sing. Because isn't this what we've all longed to hear at some point? Isn't this what we need? Isn't this the kind of life we've craved for so long?
Have you ever experienced a knowledge that you could be more than you are? Still yourself, with your heart -- but have you ever felt called up to something greater, higher? Have you ever known you could be something more than what you've always thought you were?
I'm feeling that with my singing these days. I'm feeling that with my entire personhood these days. In my heart, I know who I am. I know myself to be the little tender-hearted, wide-eyed, deep-feeling woman that God's created me to be. I don't always know how to let her out. But I'm learning what it looks like to be the person God made.
It's in my singing that I've really begun to notice this, though. I see a space between the artist I am and the artist I show. Yesterday I had a coaching with a guest artist, and he spent a large part of the coaching coaxing my voice out of me. You have so much more voice than what you're giving me. Give me all of you.
I want to. I want to be the person I most truly am. I want to sing with my full voice. I want to express to my fullest potential. I have it all in me. It's just been waiting all this time to come out.
And now -- and now I can feel myself becoming the singer, the artist, the person I know myself to be.
Everywhere I turn, someone says to me, "You have to let go of your fear." My voice teacher. My coach. Guest artists. My fight club. If letting go of fear is what it means to become, I will do it. I want to do it.
I'm being pressed on all sides, pushed and prodded and teased and frustrated until I break out of my shell. You're on the verge of something, the guest coach said to me. I want to see it.
I want to see it, too.
I want to break.
I want to become the person I know in my deepest heart of hearts I am.
I want to be free.
I can feel it happening. I can feel myself becoming.
I am ready.
May I sing with my whole voice, my whole body. May I speak freely. May I rejoice fully, feel deeply, love the gift, and love the Giver more. May I become the singer I know I am. May I stand up and say, as one of my friends foresaw for me, that this is my time. I have been given a gift. May I shine brightly.
May I become who I believe deep in my secret heart I am.