Whenever I get feeling down, it’s usually because I am focusing on myself, looking downward and inward. I know that life is hard, and is full of hard problems, and it is easy for me to throw a giant pity party with little notice. What helps to pull me out of this self-destructive party is to keep trying to look up and out. “I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” (Psalm 34:4,5)
When I was first starting to sing, a wise person told me a great way to get over stagefright and that “inward” self-critical gaze: Focus outwards toward the people in the audience. Think about what they may be going through, and how you can encourage them with what you’re singing. Know that they want you to succeed, they’re not waiting for you to fall. Remember that they are just people like you who need encouragement, understanding and love. The more you reach out, the less you think about your own insecurities and fears.
Bono from U2 said this about looking outward in love: “God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them.”
I don’t know about you, but today my prayer is to look up and out…it’s a big world in need of a lot of love.