UNFURLING GOD'S GLORY IN OUR LIVES

The most spectacular moment in the life cycle of the butterfly is when the butterfly emerges from its cocoon, unfurls its wings, and is ready to fly. And this is just the beginning of its journey!


 
Similarly, there are times in our lives when, after going through the egg, caterpillar, and cocooning stages, we finally burst forth to fulfill God’s purposes and plans. “Bursting” may be a bit of a misnomer, as it really is the culmination of a gradual process that bridges occasional breakthrough moments with long periods of personal and spiritual growth (along with the inevitable backsliding). Nonetheless if we are attentive, we can identify moments in time when everything changes.
 
I had such a moment recently. But first, let me share a bit more of my backstory.
 
This year (2015) marks my 20th year in music ministry. I am humbled and in awe! However, my musical journey actually started years before.
 
At around age 10 I learned to play the piano, eventually completing eight years of formal training through the Royal Conservatory of Music.
 
Around the age of 13, I developed an intense interest in recorded music and would spend hours studying and singing along to some of the best vocalists of all time. In essence, I was in the process of finding my own voice and style.
 
By my late teens, I was playing the piano and singing at the same time.
 
When I was 20, my parents moved away, taking the piano with them. So I focussed on my vocals, including taking opera lessons (!). Throughout this whole time, I never sang publicly.
 
In 1995, I started singing for a church outreach group, and eventually, Sunday morning worship teams. I re-taught myself how to play the piano, and how to play from chords only. Eventually I incorporated the two together, and led worship. Praise God!
 
There is one area in worship leading in which I struggled for a long time. That was speaking and/or praying at the beginning or end of worship, or in between songs. In fact, it was an extension of my difficulty in speaking publicly at church, period.
 
It was hard to understand why I struggled with this, as I have performed for years in science shows for audiences in the hundreds. As a high school substitute teacher, I spoke daily to over a hundred students. And I have done professional science, education, and more recently, songwriting presentations to colleagues at conferences. But for some reason, I have always had trouble sharing in front of the body of Christ.
 
This barrier limited my ability as a worship leader. Although I occasionally shared something I had written down that God imparted to me earlier in the week, I still struggled with the freedom to allow the Holy Spirit to speak through me on an impromptu basis during services.
 
I knew in my head that: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7) But in this area at least, I was not able to put it into practice.
 
Something that is often repeated by singing coaches is to sing from your heart and stop being “in your head”. I have meditated on this a LOT over the last year or so. And the time has come to put both this Scripture and this advice into practice.
 

Which leads me to this small “victory” story.
 
Over the last couple of weeks, I have been practicing a song called "Open Up the Gates" by Henry Seeley. However, I wasn't feeling entirely ready to share it during Sunday morning service, as I had a few details yet to work out. Nonetheless I brought the music along with me this past Sunday morning, with no intention of playing it.
 
However, God had other plans.

During our pre-service prayer time, our prayer leader repeated several times “King of Glory.” I couldn't help thinking that this phrase is included in the first line of the chorus of the song: "Open up the gates and let the King of Glory in." And I thought, okay, Lord, if this is the song I'm supposed to sing today then I will put aside my hesitation and insecurity! I will sing from my heart, and give it my all. For you have not given me a spirit of timidity, but one of power!

So I took a deep breath and went for it, trusting that the Lord would give me the ability to successfully lead the song. And He did! Praise God!

But I didn’t stop there. I challenged myself to speak out the impromptu words God was giving me to share on the spot with the congregation, to connect and edify.
 
Yesterday was the day that I truly overcame the thing that was holding me back from FULLY fulfilling God’s purposes and plans for my life. It was the day that I took flight.
 

So here’s what I want you to take away from this.
 
Whether you are a musician, a writer, an artist, or a dancer, I pray that God’s glory will be unfurled in you FULLY. This takes risk and action on your part, but you can do it! Fully embrace your art. Fully trust that He will provide what you need. To be fully unfurled may take a while. Or maybe it will come quickly. But either way, I encourage you to have the confidence that His purposes and plans for you WILL come to completion.
 

And like the butterfly, when the time is right, you will indeed fly!
 

2 comments

  • Bobbi

    Bobbi Edmonton

    With benefit of your backstory, I can see what a huge victory this was for you, Sally. My take-away? When someone appears to have it altogether, when it looks like life's a breeze for them, I need to remember that what I see may be the victorious unfurling of a wing that's been snagged for a very long time, and is only now able to stretch. Thanks for the excellent visual!

    With benefit of your backstory, I can see what a huge victory this was for you, Sally. My take-away? When someone appears to have it altogether, when it looks like life's a breeze for them, I need to remember that what I see may be the victorious unfurling of a wing that's been snagged for a very long time, and is only now able to stretch.

    Thanks for the excellent visual!

  • Sally Meadows

    Sally Meadows

    Bobbi, I love when readers' comments bring depth and vision to the metaphor. Excellent comment and observation; it will be an eye-opener for many others too.

    Bobbi, I love when readers' comments bring depth and vision to the metaphor. Excellent comment and observation; it will be an eye-opener for many others too.

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