Singing out loud.

People get nervous singing at church.

Even in a church like ours. The music is loud. I mean LOUD. Nobody in that auditorium is going to hear you, and I think most of us attending are pretty much aware of that.

So why don’t most of us sing out loud? Every time the worship pastor stops singing to encourage the churchgoers to sing a verse it becomes a struggle. Pastor Ben is pretty charismatic, but even he has to coax the audience sometimes.

“Come on, you sound good!” he will say

Still nothing out of the mouths of most.

Why?

I know most of us don’t sound like Mariah Carey. Does it matter though? Is that why people don’t want to sing out loud, because they don’t sound good?

Maybe they just don’t like the music that much. Judging by the amount of dancing and clapping i’d say that’s not the problem.

So what is it?

I realized today why so many don’t want to sing the music out loud.

It makes them vulnerable.

Sometimes i’ll be in church worshipping and it will dawn on me how much I cleaned myself up for church that day. How long it took me to pick out the right clothes. The minutes I wasted making sure I don’t just PLOP down in the chairs, but instead gracefully lower myself onto the seat. My previously lax language is instantly cleaned up, with every foul word or judgement noticeably gone from the conversations that I have inside the church doors. I sing in church sure, but every note that I sing in church I strain to hit the right one, to make sure I sound good. If a verse in a song is too high for me to hit, I just pretend the verse doesn’t exist and close my mouth.

Everything has to look neat and presentable. I have to look like a good Christian (whatever that looks like). I can’t look frazzled or downtrodden or vulnerable. We don’t want our brothers and sisters to see us for what we really are. Messy and imperfect and broken and tone deaf.

Why here? Why is it so hard for us to be vulnerable in front of other Christians when it does so much good?

There are two people I envy in church. The first is a girl whose name I don’t know. When I choose a seat in church I always try and sit behind her. It brings me great joy to see her arms stretched out in worship as wide and as high as she can reach them. She sings louder than anyone else in the church, including those with a microphone. She smiles and jumps and sings out loud. Most of the time she sounds pretty darn good. Sometimes she doesn’t, but that’s when I enjoy sitting behind her the most. She just belts the lyrics with every once of air she has in her lungs, and it makes my entire face break into a huge smile.

She sings just for Him. Everyone else be damned. It’s the most beautiful thing i’ve ever seen.

The second person is my husband. He doesn’t sing as loud, but not for a lack of trying. More because he’s so caught up in the beauty of the music that he’s crying. He doesn’t worry about looking tough or manly. He’s too interested in the one-on-one conversation he’s having with God, the conversation just happens to be set to music. He doesn’t wipe the tears away, but it’s also beautiful.

When we walk into church vulnerable and open we are giving God an unlocked door into our hearts. When we let others see us at our most transparent God uses us to inspire others.

Who cares if you can’t sing, or if your hair is a little messed up that day, or if you couldn’t find anything “decent” to wear to church that morning.

Just let yourself become beautiful, messy and vulnerable.

Let yourself sing  out loud in church.

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