Can you keep a secret?
This is just between the two of us.
My biggest insecurity is that I think I’m untalented.
I know . . . that’s probably something very insensitive for me to say. Because I guess the truth is, there are actually so many things I can do. But for some reason, deep inside, I feel like I’m just not good enough for anything.
This Easter, I felt God reach out to me where I was, and gave me a beautiful reminder that I’ve been graced with something greater than being able to do something.
Every year, our church has a grand Easter celebration. This year, it was going to be in MOA Arena. And the coolest thing was they were calling all the young people to audition for the music team, because they wanted to make a statement and everything.
I was really nervous and excited because they announced there was gonna be auditions. I had never auditioned for anything, but I knew I really wanted to.
It was only later when they said they were only going to accept singer auditions, and for the band, they were gonna handpick it.
My heart sank because I knew I wouldn’t be picked.
Sure, I can play drums, keys, guitar, whatever, but you see the problem is, I’m just not good enough compared to everyone else. There are so many better young drummers, keyboardists, and guitarists from our church.
Later, the director of the entire event contacted me. No, I wasn’t chosen. Instead, my fear was confirmed.
“Ben, I need you for this year’s Grand Easter Feast by the tech.”
I don’t mind doing behind-the-scenes things! In fact, I normally do the lights for our church’s big events. But you see, I have a friend who became a lot better than me at lights, so he was picked for that.
Instead, I had a very special job: operating the brand new in-ear monitoring system the church bought.
Sounds cool right? But in actuality, the bulk of my job was to clean them. It was my responsibility to clean the earbuds of the band and singers after they used it.
I felt it was a slap on the face confirming how useless I am.
I wasn’t good enough for anything, so I had to settle for cleaning the good enough people’s earwax off their eadbuds.
It sounds funny, but it was really difficult hearing all these voices in my head . . . the voices telling me how much I sucked, how untalented I was, that I was this useless. I would breathe a heavy sigh as I would clean an earbud with Q-tips and alcohol.
My heart was sobbing because the worship team was creating beautiful, musical melodies and I couldn’t help but furiously compare myself to each one of them. “Why can’t I be that good?” They were all so gifted, so talented. I was only good for removing earwax.
Of course I didn’t want to let anyone know that, so I held my guard up, and just kept scrubbing earwax.
Suddenly, things changed, seemingly for the better. Another friend of mine was assigned to manage the in-ear monitoring system, and the director called me.
The director asked me to sit next to the sound guy, and told me to start giving cues to him on how the music should sound. That was a big deal for me.
The sound guy was super accommodating, and was teaching me how to operate the board, until at some point, I was doing it myself.
I thought to myself . . . YES. FINALLY. OH MY GOODNESS. I’M DOING SOMETHING.
And man, IT WAS GREAT. I felt smug and powerful adjusting everyone to how I wanted it to sound.
I was releasing my inner Chainsmokers and there I was, turning the knobs and faders and throwing in “compression” and “reverb” and whatnot (without really knowing what the heck I’m doing)
It was fantastic! Until I messed up. There was this one speaker who went on stage and I forgot to un-mute his mic in the nick of time.
The director talked to me and said he changed his mind and it would be better to let the sound guy do his job. For a great reason though, he said he didn’t want people to lay the blame on me, if I messed up. After all it was my first time and it was a huge event.
He asked me to just stick to telling the sound guy which mic needs to be turned on or off.
To be fair, that was definitely a great call. Didn’t make me feel any less terrible though.
It was not just back to square one, there were three other guys already doing that at the same time. Every time I’d say “Kuya Nestor, mic 3 please,” three other guys already said it before me. I was in square negative one. Kinda felt like i was in square negative infinity if there was such a thing.
I felt completely useless.
I moved to the side of the tech booth, and stood there.
Little did I know, God was speaking to me.
You see, I felt helpless standing there, watching everyone doing great while I was doing nothing. But in the midst of it all, God was not making me feel useless, he was making me available.
Instead of being so busy trying to be this and be that, I was open to receiving God’s love.
And suddenly I was hearing His voice.
He was telling me how much He loved me.
And I was starting to understand something I heard a long time ago:
“God isn’t asking want more for him, he wants more of you.”
It made me realise, God just wanted to spend time with me???
You see, this whole time, I was putting my identity in my service, and what I could give . . . but God wanted to remind me that my real identity is being a child of God.
My internal sobbing became external sobbing. I realised I was separating myself from the love of God because I thought I wasn’t worthy enough.
But despite my lack of worthiness, God loved me still. Wow.
I think we don’t put to thought too much the idea of how God loves you “despite who you are.” We should though. Because sometimes, we don’t realise that God’s doing just that; that Easter weekend, he was loving me despite who I am.
Despite my self-centeredness. Despite my selfishness. Despite my insecurity.
God met me where I was, and told me:
Bene, you don’t need to be selfish. You don’t need to be insecure. You don’t need to be self-centered. I love you more than you think. I love you more than you know. I love you more than this.
I realised I didn’t need to prove anything, and whatever I was trying to prove was me being afraid that I wasn’t enough for God. I wasn’t enough for love. I wasn’t enough to be accepted. What a bunch of lies.
It’s so funny that out of all possible times I could feel that way, it was during Holy Week. The week where God went out of His way to show how much He loves us.
So everything I went through (in fact, if I told you the whole story how everything led up to where I am right now, I’d have to split into several parts because it’s just too long), was just God’s crazy way of meeting me where I was. He wanted made me experience personally what it means to be loved DESPITE who I am.
He tore down each wall, each insecurity, each stronghold of pride in me, so that I could feel what it meant to be truly loved.
To make me available.
To make me open.
To make me realise that more than anything, I don’t need to identify or prove myself as anything but a child of God.
To cut the long story short, there I was. Because there was room in my heart, my full attention was on the sermon. The speaker was talking about how great God’s love is.
And I would like to highlight a certain portion of that message.
I believe God’s love is not like a cheap freebie totebag with cheap memorabilia given to the attendees of a concert. God’s love is personal. Your name is written on the bag. Your name is written on God’s heart.
He will go down to your level, He will go such far lengths and such vast reaches just to pursue you.
The Easter story is a timeless one. But what makes it timeless is that God is at work right now bringing Easter into your life. What do I mean by that? God will do anything, literally anything, to love you. Just like how He went out of His way just to love me.
He gave me what I really needed. If I think about it, He didn’t just want me to be happy or contented or satisfied. He wanted to love me. He wanted to get rid of my insecurities (and I think I’m making good progress because I’m able to write about it right now). He wanted to get rid of my pride. He wanted to get rid of the things that were preventing His love from coming in.
That is so much better than getting to mix the audio, or playing drums, or anything really. God gave me more than I thought I could have ever wanted.
Up to now, I’m still overwhelmed.
As we were singing the response song (i was more of screaming at the top of my lungs complete with tears and mucus dripping from my face), Declare Your Victory, God wasn’t just satisfied from claiming His victory over the world. He wanted to claim the victory of my heart. That’s a whole different thing.
And God looks at you the same way.
He wants to love you in a personal way. So if right now, you feel useless, unimportant, disabled, insecure, unworthy, whatever label you call yourself . . . be very excited. Because there’s a huge chance that God is in the process of making you available to the wonders of His love.
I’m looking forward to reading your Easter story.
PS. A few weeks later, this happened.
PPS. I really want to hear your Easter stories too. Post on instagram your testimony, tag me (bene.sanchez), and put in your caption #easterstory. I’ll feature it if it’s really good! Actually, even if isn’t really good. A great priest I look up to, Fr. Bob McConaghy always ends his masses by saying “sometimes, you are the only Gospel a person will read in a day.” God can use that story of yours to bless someone! So if God’s pushing you to share something, go share it!
PPPS. I want to thank you for taking the time to stop scrolling your Facebook feed and reading my blog. I truly appreciate the attention you give. I know I haven’t been faithful with the “Every Wednesday” blog posts, and yet you’re still here. Thank you, thank you, thank you. So yeah, see you next Wednesday! *fingers crossed*