I tend to be a fearful person. Social situations, big crowds, talking to strangers on the phone, attempting something new. I am really good at hiding my insecurity, so you might not know that about me. But truthfully, anxiety has been a companion of mine since I was child. I'm talking about gut wrenching, about-to-puke anxiety. A lot of it has to do with failure - - being afraid to fail, that is. Over the years, God has been changing me and giving me more confidence, but I still struggle with this a lot. Can anyone relate?

Recently, I have been thinking about gifts. I tend to be the most fearful and the most self-pitying when reflecting on my gifts and talents. I guess it's human nature, but when we have a gift or talent, we tend to be the most insecure when it comes to using that gift. We also want to be the only one with that gift in the near vicinity. And if we are not, we want the next best thing - - to be the most talented of everyone who has that gift....and if we aren't, then pooh, "There is no point in me using a gift that everyone else already has." (Can you just hear the self pity rolling off each word?)  In a town where 3/4th of the population has the same talents that I have, being confident can be difficult. (All of you musicians living in Nashville know what I mean). There is always a better singer, guitar player, fiddle player, etc....and they are probably living next door.

Over the past month, Jacob and I have decided to put more energy into music. This is the perfect time to produce an album and travel with our music. However, true to form, my insecurities have surfaced......Are my songs really relevant? Do I have anything unique to offer? I am going to be able to play this song without really messing it up? Can I play a new instrument and not get laughed off the stage? .....

Jacob really likes to talk about how truth does not come from us. It has to come from outside of us. Anything that we come up with and say is truth, just leads to death. And despite what I may think is true about my gifts during my insecure moments, here is the truth that God has established...what is really true about our gifts: Every gift that you or I have has been given to us by our creator. Whether you have the gift of writing, metal smithing, photography, music, organization, event planning, wood working, encouraging others, management, teaching, etc., all of these gifts are reflections of God. He is taking his own talents and giving them out to us. And He gives them to us to glorify Himself.

I may not be the best songwriter in this town or even on my block, but if I build a box around my gifts, put a cushion on top and sit on my comfy seat, my tush might feel nice, but I am wasting what God has given me, and in the process, holding back glory from God. God never promised that I would be unique. He does promise that whatever we do unto the Lord, he will bless. So I am making a declaration to you: I don't want to sit on my gifts anymore. I am going to use my gifts and talents, not because I am the best at them, but because God has given them to me to glorify Him. That knowledge strips away the fear because it reminds me that this life is not about me. It is about being a reflection of Christ...Showing the world what kind of God we have....a God that has given "to his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of [His] tender mercy, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace." (Luke 1:77-79)

Will anyone join me in letting go of their fears and letting out the gifts and talents that you have been given in order to glorify God? Also, next time you hear me doubting my gifts and talking all pitiful, please remind me of my declaration. And I would be happy to do the same for you :)


Luke, Holly, and Isaiah said...

Great post, Annalise. You ARE gifted and it blesses the rest of us when you use your gifts! I think of how many people at Pepperdine - especially HD - were ministered to by your music. And it's time for more :) I would love to hear new music from you. And, I'm still pretty convinced that you and Jacob could do an awesome hymns album.

Annalise Joy said...

Thanks Holly!

Keely Brooke Keith said...

Right on, Sister!

My two cents (you did ask, right?) on the topic of using gifts to glorify God is to remember what music was made for - giving worship to God, not receiving worship from men. I don't recall any Scriptures that say "and the skillful musicians were thus gifted by God to be worshiped for their talents". That's where, not just our town, but the entire MTV-generation has mutated music: it's no good if you're not adored.

You are a skilled musician, songwriter, singer, chicken-keeper, and a remarkably competitive athlete... and musician and songwriter and chicken-keeper. You're right on when you do all that you do as if unto the Lord.

Annalise Joy said...

Great cents and sense!

Amanda Conley said...

Great words Annalise. Thanks for writing them.

Elizabeth Shaw said...

These beautiful words touched my heart. I hope to join you in letting go of my fears and anxieties and using what God has given me to glorify Him! Thank you for your beautiful ministry that reaches others in so many ways - your writing, your music, your friendship... God continues to pour out His love through you.

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