I read that Jerry Jenkins (Christian author) made a commitment to only write when his children were asleep. He believes God blessed that commitment by granting him success in his writing, and I'm sure in his relationship with his kids. He felt compelled to keep his priorities straight.
I try to do that with my singing too. I usually try to take gigs that do not take too much time away from my children, something that is becoming increasingly hard, which is why I'm really not doing any singing right now.
That, honestly, makes me feel very insecure in my singing. Not singing makes me feel like I really can't sing. Which, is an entirely different thing. I wish I could just trust that I can sing well and be done with it, not needing affirmation from anyone and everyone for that confidence.
Back to keeping priorities straight. I believe that God has made me a singer...I'm still trying to figure out what kind of singer, but I think I'm slowly learning why: because it glorifies Him. I just need to remember that it is from Him and for Him, not of my own doing or for me. I need to work hard to gain more "talent"...but it should not be at the expense of other callings He has placed in my life.
A little story: Recently, my kids and I were having a day. It might have been due to the fact that we weren't really feeling that good, but we didn't know that yet. All I knew is that my limited resource of patience was being tested. It was the dinner-bath-bed time of the day, and Jon was at class, so I had this lovely routine all to myself. With two whiny, tired children. I had Jeremiah at the table eating (this is the 4th time I've said it..."TAKE a BITE!" - commence broken-hearted pleas of relationship restoration from my sensitive, yet ornery 5-year old) and Isaac in the bathroom tub about 5 feet away, whining and standing up trying to maim himself by slipping. I started feeling irrationally irritated, so rather than yell...I decided to start singing. What did I sing, you ask?
"Somewhere over the Rainbow", gospel style.
Well I'll be if they didn't shut right up and start eating and playing and smiling happily as if their little worlds were all right with them.
I liked this effect so much, that I sang another song "Bye Bye Baby", arranged by Jane Monheit. By this time, I'm feeling much better as well, and I came to a stunning (for me) realization. God has made me to be a singer. End of story. And this doesn't eclipse my calling to be a mom, or a wife, or a teacher. All of that is meant to work in tandem. But my greatest talent and gift is that of singing to bring glory to Him. It makes everything else seem...right.
Now, you may disagree, or think this is bad theology...I've never claimed to be any sort of great theologian (I leave those discussions to my husband). All I know, is that I felt God's presence while I sang jazz to my children, and He calmly reminded me that I don't need to define my talent or success by the world's standards, but by His.
What about you readers out there? Anyone else have dreams and aspirations that you feel compelled to "shelve" or that look differently than you imagined as a teenager?