Grace and peace, Friends.
A new season of “The Voice” started on Monday. I love this show! Here are the reasons why.
1. The Judges have it all. They have expertise…each one is successful in the music industry. Each one has an ear for what they are looking for for their team and it is visible while they are listening. It is fascinating to watch them respond to the tryout without seeing the singer.
They enjoy what they are doing. It is so obvious that they enjoy the singers that are before them and that they enjoy working with each other. The friendly repartee that goes on between them is fun to watch.
They are compassionate towards those who don’t get chosen. They have words of encouragement and improvement for those who don’t make it. They are affirming. One of them will often get up and give the person that didn’t make a team a big hug. I think this is amazing.
2. The contestants are all pretty good. I don’t have a trained ear so I am not a good judge of this. But unlike many reality shows, it seems that The Voice choses people to participate who are already pretty good singers. So there aren’t embarrassing moments…or goofy moments. It is clear that everyone has a chance to make a team.
3. The contestants have real life stories…and most of them are very touching. Not because they are unique, but because they are real. Adversity, sickness, homelessness, bullying, alcoho…and these people persevere with a gift that they have been given mostly because they love to sing. And their families are always there, it seems, to support them in this opportunity for a big break.
Seriously, I am almost on the verge of tears as I watch this show because of all these relational dynamics. How weird is that?
Of course this got me to thinking about living out faith. How many of us know what we are good at, enjoy doing it, and are able to offer words of encouragement and compassion to others on the journey? I think it is God’s desire that this be true for every person. We are all gifted. Unfortunately, we often don’t pursue who we are (for way too many reasons to list here) and consequently miss out on much of the joy of life and the opportunity to encourage others. But when we do (either as employment or serving or for pleasure) what we are good at, we do enjoy it and we do find and make opportunities to bring others in…and encourage them on that journey as well.
As persons that God has created, we all are pretty good. Do we have issues? Yes. Have we “sinned”? Yes. Do we make wrong and bad choices? Yes. What I have been working on of late is to see the core of good that is in every person. That core of good is a reflection of God. And I think somehow if I can work to see that, and affirm that, I will see less of the person that I want to judge and exclude… and that, in and of itself, will make me a better person and the world that I live in.
And of course, the importance of family in this life is not to be underestimated, ever. No family is perfect. Families are the cause of lots of grief and pain. But our family is where we learn to live. As we grow and mature we determine our own course and make changes where necessary and hold to values that are important…but we never lose our family. As much as we might want to, or as much as we might try…we can’t. It was a blessing when someone identified one of our house churches as “family”. Brothers and sisters. Going through life together. That is what families do.
So, I want to encourage you today to name your gifts and talents and pursue them with all your heart!
I want to encourage you today to see that core of goodness and the grace of God in your life and celebrate it by getting back on track with Him…letting go of the brokenness, hurt and pain and sin…and get on with the fullness and joy and love.
I want to encourage you today to value your family…your nuclear family and spiritual family, by laughing with those who laugh and weeping with those who weep and making sure that you are doing life together.
God bless you richly today.
(next week: Parenthood !)