What I'd Tell My 13-year old Self

Published on October 20, 2017 by Audrie Appel  
Audrie Appel

I always knew I wanted to do something with music whenever I grew up. When I graduated from high school, I went to college and studied voice. While in college I felt God leading me to pursue music for the purpose of leading worship within the church. Soon after I graduated from college, I moved to Birmingham to be a part of a worship internship program geared toward equipping young men and women to serve the local church as a job. Now, I have the privilege of working at that same church as a worship associate. As a worship associate, I get to work with vocalists, adult choir, and children’s choir. I also have the privilege of helping plan and lead worship every Sunday. I love what I get to do!

As I think back on my journey that led me here, there are a few things I wish I would have known. If I had the opportunity to have a conversation with my 13-year-old self, here are a few things I would say: 

It’s not all about you. It’s going to be so tempting to think that the world revolves around you. It doesn’t. Not in the least. Whenever you have to make a decision, ask yourself, “Am I seeking to bring myself glory, or am I seeking to glorify God?” There will be times when you are so self-involved, that you lose sight of the people around you. Instead, consider others more significant than yourself (Philippians 2:3). Don’t make yourself an idol. Lift up your eyes and focus on the Creator. He is the most awe-inspiring sight you will ever behold. Get on board with His incredible mission, not your own.

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do." -- Ephesians 2:8-10

Don’t put yourself in a box. Never assume you can’t do something until you try it. Sometimes you’ll try something new and you will fail. Try it again. Never be afraid of failing. It’s going to happen now and again. Failing is a gateway to success. Don’t let your logical and practical side overrule your creative side. It’s ok to think outside the box.

Keep music in its place. Music is a beautiful gift from the Father above. Don’t let music be something that divides relationships. Remember what Matthew 22:37-39 says: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most importantcommand. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” That’s what’s most important. Love God. Love people. While you’re at it, enjoy music and use if for His glory.

Never stop learning. Always be a student. Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate. When it comes to your musical skill, there’s ALWAYS room for improvement. If you think you’ve got one style of singing down, move on to another.

Don’t be intimidated by people who are better than you. Be their friend and learn from them. Surround yourself with good musicians. You’ll be better for it. Never be embarrassed to ask questions if you don’t know something.

Finally, enjoy the ride. Seek the Lord with all of your heart. He is a good and gracious God who is working everything for your good and His glory. One day you will look back and be amazed at how faithful He is. He indeed is worthy of all of your worship.