Everyone has those mantras they tell themselves when they're having a bad day.
Some of them are soothing, but we all also need a pump-me-up motto.
Mine sounds a little arrogant, but it always helps.
When I'm having a bad day, I look myself in the eyes, metaphorically speaking -- the eyes of my soul, if you will -- and I say, "Sara, you're a badass coloratura. You got into The Boston Conservatory, one of the most prestigious schools of music in the country -- with a scholarship." And it instantly picks me up.
Maybe that's a bit odd, but it really does help!
And that is a case in point of what I'm going to write about today:
How calling imbues you with power.
I know not how to say it, but it is true: the power of God shoots into our veins when we act on calling. As from a divine syringe. Like someone's injected me with silver in my bloodstream, traveling up and down my capillaries.
You know how when you get a shot, you can feel the injection push its way into your vein and alongside your blood cells? It's usually cold; it has to warm up to the temperature of your blood.
The power of God is a little something like that. It shoots like an arrow into the deep places of your body, both cool and hot, and you can feel the shift happening within you. Like a gear shift.
Or maybe not.
Maybe you can't feel it happening at all.
All you know is that suddenly everything is different.
Power feels like different things. It feels hot in your chest. It feels like the ability to take one more tiny, shuddering step when you have nothing left within you. It's saying yes, it's saying no, it's standing up, it's falling to your knees to beseech the God of the universe.
What I know is that the power of God equips us and enables us to do the things He has set forth for us to do.
On the days i feel least like practicing, it is the urging of the Spirit and the gentle pressure of my body that move me into the space -- but it is the power of God that enables me to do it.
It is divinity behind the sheer size of my voice, which belies my smallish stature.
It is the sheer cliff of the Divine that fuels my breath cycle, roots my sound in my chest resonance, sets flame along my low partials and my overtones. It is the light of God that makes my sound ring off the walls.
The power of the God of the universe is what puts action to the urging of His Spirit pressed against mine.
The moments in which I've felt the most powerful in my life take one of three forms.
First, when I am performing. Then I'm alive in new ways, wielding the sword of my voice and musicality. I am undefeatable.
Second, when I am writing, sitting behind my screen, free to work through and to say whatever I need.
And third, when I am facing down an obstacle, when I draw myself up and speak quietly, firmly, with a tone so straight you could set a level along it.
In those third kind of moments, I'm usually facing conflict with another individual. And when that happens, during those times of interpersonal conflict, God has given me the ability to speak calmly, quietly, in an entirely level-headed way.
If I had to characterize it, it would be like the clarity of an autumn dawn. Crystalline and quiet.
And I feel powerful then. I may second-guess later, but I feel powerful then.
I had to have a conversation of that order a few months ago, in July, and I was very proud of myself for the way I handled it: collected, quiet, straightforward, fair-spoken. It was a way of claiming power.
That power comes from knowing who we are in Jesus -- and part of that is in our calling!
It is enough to know that we are called. We are given a purpose. But -- and this is rather odd -- to know myself to be a singer is to feel even more powerful. When I began to dream again, to plan to go to music grad school, to sing again in earnest, I took back some power I had forfeited to the enemy, and, quite honestly, to a person I had allowed to have way too much influence in my life for far too long.
To know what I am called to do fills me with a brazen copper brashness. A confidence. A tilt to my smile. I have Performance Face that I always use when I walk into a room before a recital: a lifted eyebrow, a slight cockiness to my grin. It's an assumed face, the face of an actress playing a part -- but it bespeaks the power I feel in being a singer.
The confidence God gives me in the calling He's breathed into me.
It's a quiet power. Knowing who we are in Jesus (beloved and darling and chosen and called and perfect) lends a different air to all our actions and every tilt of the head. We go from cowering to walking tall, and all without words.
But to have purpose gives us drive. It adds another layer to who we are, and we are proud to be that thing.
It feels wrong to say, but is it any wonder? God has breathed it into our veins, and when we find that it is true -- that we are called to that thing we've always felt calling us -- we go walking and leaping and praising God.
And we have confidence, too, that He will not take it away.
At this point I'm not sue if what I'm writing makes any sense.
But writing it has made me glad anew to be a singer.
Being a singer makes me feel empowered and it makes me unafraid to take back the power that God has given me.
Because to know calling is to know a little bit more of who we are, how we're made. To know our calling is to know ourselves in Jesus a little better. And it is who we are in Jesus that fills us up with the quiet-spirited brazenness that spills over into all our selves -- into calling, infinity, and beyond.