Sparkly tutus, matching tiaras, and princess wands. The camera is focused on me and my little sister as we sing and dance, our tiny faces lit with such delight as we perform. I am freely singing with my whole heart a song, no shame as my mother sits behind the scenes, encouraging us.
Fast forward in life, I’m off camera. I’m sitting on the edge of a bus seat, when a song on the radio stirs me to sing along. My bus buddy looks over at me, with wide eyes, and whispers, “You… sing?”
Shame, fear, and insecurity suddenly weigh heavy on my vocal cords as I give my friend an intense glare and assertively say, “No. No, I don’t.”
Somewhere between cameras and bus seats, I lost the confidence in what I delighted in. Any time singing was involved, there was shame on my voice, silencing me. I didn’t feel good enough, delightful, or worth the spotlight. I no longer had on a dazzling outfit and big smile, but mismatched clothes and a nervous expression.
This has been a running theme in life. The enemy overplays his hand when it comes to who we were created to be. Offense after offense would shut my voice down; I’d creep out of my shadows to offer a tiny piece of what I’d have, something would hurt my heart, and then I’d be running back to my hiding. Years went on where the only place I would release my sound was in the safety of my bedroom; my family being the only people who would hear my song. I was scared, I was ashamed, and I felt infinitely less important than the people around me.
Even though there was such a long time where I was afraid, songs would still pour out of me. In front of a piano, holding a ukulele, even washing my hair in the shower. Songs would spring forth from the deep well within. I’d get a surge of inspiration and be writing on notebook paper as fast as my hands could write. In those days, most of the songs were about heartbreak, anger, or some infatuation I had at the time. These lyrics were my emotions, my expression of what was inside.
I’ve been created to song write, to sing a new song. My mom has friends that knew me when I was really small, and could tell you stories of how I’d make up songs on the spot. You’d ask me to sing a song, and I’d come up with something brand new. I’d sing anything. I’d even sing about what I was doing in the moment. Tying shoes? Better sing a new song about it.
This is how I am, even today. Ask my friends. Sometimes, I have to sing the rest of my sentence to even get it out, because for some reason normal words have failed me. Today, as I sat down at a dinky little keyboard and showed a friend a song I have been working on, she spoke words that brought even more understanding of why I’ve went through so much pain, so much fear, and so much silence. She said, “Candace, you’re a songbird. You were created to write songs. They just flow out of you.”
Just writing about it makes me want to run to a piano and sing my heart’s song. When I was lost, scared, and lonely, my songs would reflect that. Now, in this safe place where I’ve been cultivating intimacy with my Maker, my songs reflect that beautiful hope. For so long, the enemy sought to silence me, not because I sounded bad(well, I doubt he really enjoys my song, seeing as how it’s usually glorifying my Lord), but because I was walking out what God designed me to.
A wise, older-sister type of friend once told me, “Whenever we have a lot of resistance and warfare in one area, it usually means it’s because we’re called to have authority in that place”.
I see why the enemy tried so hard to shut me up every time I get up to do a worship set. I see why he tried to shame me into hiding every time I write a new song that stirs something within the hearts of people. There is a power in my voice, in my song that sets captives free. This gift that delights me so was given to me because it delights my Father when I use it.
Let’s run freely, wildly. Let’s delight in what we were designed to do. Let’s have unbroken communion with God and live from that place of intimacy with Him. Do what delights your soul, be who you were created to be. Are you afraid of that thing you desperately want to do? Do you feel like there is so much resistance in your passion? It’s probably because there is something unique and powerful in it for you.
So yeah. I was quietly hiding for a long time. But as I open my mouth and release my song, I can hear the shattering of the glass ceiling in my life.
So long captivity, this songbird’s shook her cage.