Back in the days when I sang all the time, I took my voice for granted. There was a talent there and I recognized that my voice was a gift, but I never once considered losing it. I took pride in my singing. Probably too much.
I loved to sing. I loved being on a stage. I got a high from performing like nothing else.
So yes, there was joy in singing back then.
But I don’t think I truly appreciated the ability to sing until I lost it.
If you’ve been around here long, you know about my struggle with anxiety, about the trauma that’s left me at times voiceless, about the fear that seizes my lungs when I begin to even think of singing solo.
The subconscious mind is powerful, and even though I’ve made giant strides, the fear sometimes still sweeps in and paralyzes me .
I feel so much sadness and grief over it. It aches deep inside, this loss of something so dear, something so core to who I am. And yet there’s a learning I can’t deny.
Losing my voice has been a catalyst, a grand force pushing me toward growth. It’s changed me.
How Losing My Voice Helped Me Find It
When I say I’ve lost my voice, I must clarify.
I still speak.
- It’s hard at times. I’ve learned to recognize the anxiety when it grips me, tightening its hold around my lungs, my ribcage.
- I’ve learned to push through it, to breathe, to remind myself that it’s simply my brain doing what it’s been conditioned to do, and telling myself to overcome.
- And the more I do this, the more comfortable I become.
I still sing.
Not a solo yet.
- But I sing more at home.
- I sing along with the radio.
- I sang with a choir this summer.
- I’m even re-teaching myself how to sing while sitting at the piano, although for some reason the anxiety hits me hardest there.
My lungs are still afraid. I haven’t reached a point where I can trust them and pour myself into song completely the way I used to.
But I am singing.
It’s hard. Some days I have to force myself to do it.
It’s disappointing when I don’t sound the way I once did. It’s hard to accept growing older, and how the voice is indeed a part of this aging body.
But I keep singing.
And I’m slowly finding freedom there.
I’m happy because I sing
I always loved the song “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.” It’s a beautiful hymn with a lovely text about God’s provision and care. But I love this William James quote even more:
I don’t sing because I’m happy. I’m happy because I sing.”
All my adult life, I’ve been encouraging people to sing. I spent years in the classroom teaching children how to use their voices to make pure music. I taught the moms in my Kindermusik classes to put away the lullaby CDs and sing to their own babies as they rocked them and played with them. . . whether they had beautiful voices or not.
Singing is a vital part of the human experience. Singing connects the mind to the soul in a way nothing else can.
Psalm 150 says,
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”
Sounds like a pretty clear indicator to me. We ought to be singing.
And let me tell you something. Singing changes the brain. I don’t know how. I’m not a scientist.
But I know it does because I’ve lived it.
It might just be the cure for today’s sadness.
Author Gretchen Rubin wrote about singing in her book The Happiness Project. She challenged readers to sing every morning, the idea being that if you act happy by singing, it will send your brain a message that you are happy. In other words, act the way you wish you felt, and soon you’ll be feeling the way you act.
The Simple, One-Step Secret to Making Today Happy
Singing is my holy grail, but it might not be yours. Doesn’t matter. You should still do it.
Everybody ought to sing at least one song a day. And I dare you to try it.
I’m always writing about abundant life on this blog, and I even came up with a music-related tagline that reads “life’s a song that’s meant to be sung.” And I mean it from the bottom of my heart. It’s a great metaphor for living life fully.
But today I’m challenging you to think literally. To sing. Today.
Because I don’t know about you, but my life needs more happiness in it. And some more music, too.
And I’m pretty sure a little singing never hurt anybody, right?
So don’t sing because you’re happy. Take the challenge to be happy because you sing.
Because life’s a song that’s meant to be sung. So stop reading this.
Go sing instead.
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