I’ve been singing a lot of lies lately.
Well, reluctantly singing. And in church, no less. Let me explain: we’re no longer in the era of frequent community singing. Our praise songs aren’t converted from bar songs anymore, intended to rally us together at the end of a long work day. Outside of the car or the shower, I don’t sing that much and especially not with several hundred of my nearest and dearest friends, which is why I find our extended church worship times a bit awkward. I’m all for expressing God’s gifts of creativity and beauty, but can’t it sometimes come in form of a poem or painting or piano concerto? But no, it’s always a crooning white guy strumming a guitar and forcing my vocal chords to go several octaves past their comfort level.
But I still try. I stand up and sit down and get back up again while pretending that I can match pitch and praying for a flute solo to let me sit back down.
It can get rough. So, lately, I’ve been distracting myself: by actually listening to the lyrics. And you would not believe some of the things I say! Things like: “I’m no longer a slave to fear.” and “Through it all, my eyes are on you.” and “In oceans deep, my faith will stand.” Sounds nice, right? But it’s not true. I still have lots of fears. My eyes are often on safety and success and recognition. And in oceans deep, I stay in my pajamas and eat cake and request back rubs while watching Netflix.
So, I think that’s why I actually don’t really like singing in church. It doesn’t seem honest. It doesn’t seem real. Taylor Swift seems to get me way more than my worship leader does.
But a couple weeks ago, I heard a prayer. After the worship, once everything was quiet, our music pastor prayed for “people who these lyrics might not be true for yet”. “That’s me!”, I thought. He prayed that people, like me, will press on, will keep singing, and will eventually see the faith and blessings expressed in the lyrics to come true in their lives.
And then the next week, he prayed again. This time, for everyone: that we might see the lyrics as a goal, a direction to head, and a compass to point us towards God. We may not be living all the truths found in the music yet, but we’re letting them surround us, wonder with us, and hope with us.
I’ve started to see the lyrics less as lies and more as aspirations. Aspirations for things to be “well with my soul” and for my soul to echo “whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing till the evening comes.”
So, on pitch or not, I’ll keep standing up and sitting down while trying to follow along with the worship leader. And I won’t feel like I’m singing lies–I’ll let the lyrics wash over me and will keep praying to see more of their truths in my life.