I am convinced that God brings us through seasons where he presents us with a particular theme or idea repetitively in various formats to solidify a concept in our hearts that he desires to work out in our lives to his glory. Lately, I have been inundated with thoughts, ponderings and vision concerning giftings, personality, and how we live out what has been wrought within us by our Creator in the context of life and community. And I have a strong feeling that all that mumbo-jumbo can be summed up with the simplistic questions “who am I?” and “what am I here for?”, but that starts to sound a bit existential and man-centered.
Many of us are familiar with the very first question of the Westmister Shorter Catechism and its corresponding answer: “What is the chief end of man?” and “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” Romans 12 gives us insight into spiritual giftings and their use in the body of Christ:
“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…” Romans 12:4-6 (ESV)
But I think a lot of us, though thoroughly familiar with these ideas and in wholehearted agreement with them, are still left with the question “what does that look like in my life?”
How do we live day to day, exercising our gifts and glorifying God with our unique personality and ways?
One morning, quite early, I was struck with a new realization as I delighted in the clear, sweet song of a bird piercing the morning quiet with its clarion call of beauty and grace. I paused what I was doing to truly hear, to let the music of nature wash over my soul. The lilting few notes, a delicate trill. Repeated again. And again and again. The same each time yet never diminished in loveliness, never lessened in its effect on the parched places of my being.
And suddenly it hit me. We each of us are songbirds. Each wondrously created with a “song” to sing…with at least one, if not many, gifts and talents inherently woven into the fabric of our nature that may be used to glorify God and bless others. And though we might attain many accomplishments over the course of our lives, gain competence in several areas of skill and knowledge, there tends to be for each of us a particular area or gifting where we excel and feel most ourselves when we are doing it, doing that thing, singing that song.
Well. What is it? What is my song, you ask?
You know what? I think you know. I think we know deep down what it is that delights both our hearts and the heart of the Father. That thing, little or big, that not only blesses us but blesses others. That thrills our soul and makes us feel real, gives us a taste of Eden, hints at the truest essence of our personhood at times difficult to glimpse, so marred as it is by sin and brokenness. What hinders us is the haunting fear that our song isn’t what others expect it to be, or as glorious as the song of another.
The birds outside my window, perched amongst the drooping branches of the weeping birch, do not change their song with passing fancy. They make no attempt to sound like a different bird nesting in the opposite tree. Their soul-stirring melody pours forth, effortlessly…they can’t help but sing out their song, full and loud and bold, no holding back or hesitation. It’s the song they were created to sing. It’s what they do. And there can be no question as to whether it brings glory to God. To stop and listen is to be graced with the holiest of arias perfectly executed by a soprano with flawless timbre and tessatura. Drawing forth praise from the driest and most wounded of hearts. Lifting the spirits, whispering…no, shouting truth from the treetops.
He exists. He has always existed. He creates. He created you. He created me. He gave me a song. He gave YOU a song. You know the notes. Sing it out. Sing it clear. Be His Songbird!