It must be part of the changes that happened during the Fall in the Garden of Eden, but it seems that humans are born with a desire to be recognized for being bigger and better than others. We want to feel special. We want to leave a mark on the world. We want to know that it matters that we were here.
I know that I have my problems with it! My insecurities have run so deep that I’ve ruined friendships while seeking to have people make me feel valuable, worthwhile, important, and lovable. Part of the reason I started singing and performing was the rush I felt that, in those few moments at least, I knew the audience loved me and appreciated what I did. I was talented enough to feel special, and thought I might at some point use music to leave my mark on the world.
What I learned is that seeking happiness and fulfillment this way left me empty, hollow, and lonely. The more validation I got, the more I seemed to need. True happiness doesn’t work that way.
The problem is that we lost our vision of eternity when we were born, and it’s hard to retrain ourselves to think beyond the here and now. I know that when we can hold on to the vision of the eternal, my perspective changes.
For instance, the secret to gaining a sense of value and meaning to life is to serve others. The human heart understands its power when there is positive proof that we have done something good and that it means something real. It’s not about having my face on a million billboards.
Which brings me back to singing. Singing is a part of who I am. It’s not something I could just “give up,” even if I wanted to.
Thanks to the grace of a loving Heavenly Father, my heart has changed and is still changing. I no longer sing hoping to gain the attention and approval of the people around me. I sing to share a gift. I sing to share a testimony of the reality of a living Father in Heaven and of a personal, loving Savior. I sing, hoping I can bless and lift someone who needs a boost. I sing to bring glory to God.
And when I sing, I find happiness – even though there is no song on iTunes or CD with my name and image on it. I don’t have to be bigger, I need to serve.