Fanning into flame
God-given gifts can lie dormant or be neglected, but we were given them to use them! Here’s some recent experiences I’ve had in ‘fanning into flame’ my own gifts, especially songwriting.
Everything changed in 2020, right? And the game-changer for me was that I remembered that I used to write songs! I wrote my first Christian song the day after I got saved, with my friend Mark Edwards. Songwriting had been such an important part of my life and was something I loved, but it had become overlooked in all the busyness of our church and home lives. One year recently our son was a member of six different bands (and of course needed to be driven to all of them!). Life had become hectic. But in having to stop and break with routine, there was a reminder to ‘fan into flame the gift of God’, as Paul encourages us in 2 Timothy 1:6.
It makes you wonder, doesn’t it, how something you may consider deep-down to be one of your primary giftings can be neglected and squeezed out in favour of doing other things? Leadership expert John Maxwell says most people give 80% of their time to things they are least good at! That’s a wake-up call. Maybe you’ve had a similar experience to me and you want to refocus. Maybe you need to re-set your priorities and get some fresh input, something that will help you get going again. I needed a fresh start in both songwriting and singing.
My aim in songwriting has always been to communicate theology in a poetic way. I became aware of a Hymn Writing Collective - an initiative from Getty Music that seemed like a good fit for me - and my husband Miles encouraged me to sign up. If you want to grow in something, why not learn from the best in the world? I have had some experience in songwriting but, as the Aussies say, ‘Every day’s a school day’! Through great webinars and insightful feedback on my songs, the Hymn Writing Collective has really refreshed and broadened my knowledge and vision. Deadlines to submit songs by certainly helped as well!
Then there was my voice. As an introvert who has no objections to staying at home for long periods of time, the enforced time at home made it a very quiet time for me. As we emerged at the start of this year, I actually found even singing a couple of songs in church a challenge! The saying, ‘use it or lose it’ is very true! But a recent online singing course gave me new warmup exercises, fresh input on preparing and delivering songs, and the discipline of daily practice. Lifelong learning is an awesome thing! If you’re in a similar place, my friend Geraldine Latty also offers great ways to get your voice in shape, many for free! (See geraldinelatty.com)
By intentionally taking hold of it again, I’ve been able to re-focus and make songwriting the priority it should have been. I’ve now written more songs in the last year than in the last decade! That feels really good, and I’m excited to start sharing these songs with you over the next weeks and months. Watch this space! And through some daily discipline, my voice is getting in shape, too.
So in writing this I’d like to bring an encouragement to you:
- What gifts do you have that you need to take hold of again and ‘fan into flame’?
- What choices are you going to make to take some action?
- Do you need fresh input? Remember there are so many free resources on YouTube etc
- What measurable goal can you set (for example, write a song in the next month)?
Will you do it? John Maxwell says, “Starting is the great separator. It separates the doers from the do nots.” God has given you gifts for a reason, and He wants you to use them for His glory. If they’ve been lying dormant, for whatever reason, I encourage you to ‘fan them into flame’, and start today! I’d genuinely love to hear your story if you do.
© Kate Simmonds 2021