I have to admit that I am a fan of American Idol. With so little to watch on TV these days, it’s one program that doesn’t pollute my mind with total garbage. I enjoy enjoy watching the aspiring singers trying to break into the world of music. On one episode, after a young man had waited in line for his audition, one of the judges asked, “Why are you here?” The young man replied, “I like to sing in the shower and think I have a good voice.” The judge pointed out that the singers who advance in the competition have been singing since they were children. They have sung in church choirs and local bands. They have had voice lessons and coaches and have worked hard for years to develop their talent. The young man then gave it his best shot, but he was not good enough to make it to the next round.
This incident made me think about writers who try to get published with no experience. Just because they think they have written a good story (because all their friends tell them it’s good), doesn’t mean they are ready for the world of publishing. The writers who make it through to the next round after submission are writers who have taken the time to develop their skills. They have been writing for local newspapers, magazines, or church newsletters. They have gone to writer’s conferences and had their work critiqued by professional writers and editors. They have rewritten and revised until their fingers ached. They are the writers who have a chance.
I suppose this can be applied to many other activities and careers as well. If you want to be a good pianist, then you have to take piano lessons and practice, practice, practice. If you want to be a good swimmer, you need to learn how to swim before you jump into the deep end. If you want to be a teacher, doctor, or lawyer, there are degrees to earn and internships to fulfill. There are no shortcuts to becoming proficient in whatever it is you want to do.
God has given each of us unique talents and abilities. But in order to fully use the gifts that He has given us, we need to invest time and effort into becoming the best that we can be. God will equip us for the tasks that he calls us to do, but we need to do our part in order to do our best for Him.
2 Timothy 2:15 says, Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
So follow your passions and pursue your dreams, but remember the road is long and winding and bumpy. And if you are not interested in becoming the next American Idol—go ahead and sing in the shower!