I have a confession to make. I’m regular. Sure, I’ve done amazing things of which I’m proud. Performed with great choirs, been their lead soloist and director, appeared in a movie and a live concert video, and taken part in recording an album. I’ve recently completed a stint in the studio and now have another credit to my name: vocal coach for a movie. I feel accomplished and grateful for all these opportunities, but God is not done with me. There’s so much more that I want to do, and I plan to keep using all the gifts he has given me until he takes me from this place. But really, I’m just a BBW entering middle age and a working stiff, just like many of you.
It used to be my dream to become a great gospel singer. As I sat in the audience of a megachurch one Sunday, I listened to the testimony of one of my favorite gospel singers just before she was about to perform. She spoke about how she had to make a choice between something in her life and her job. And I thought, job? What is this you say? You – gulp – work for a living? Gasp (while clutching my pearls)! Surely a venerated vocalist like herself must have hit the big time long ago, and would never have to work again, I thought. She quickly put that assumption to rest. Her story, however, is not unique. There are gospel music giants who travel the world, sing their faces off at great venues, perform in concerts, and attend award ceremonies only to come home to a day job which supports their efforts.
I once read an article about the late Darryl Coley, another phenomenal gospel singer and one of my all-time heroes, where he gave details of his struggle. Lights cut off and homeless, he could do nothing but trust God. His testimony was encouraging, and I was so thankful that he shared. He could have gone to his grave with that truth and the world would be none the wiser. It forced me, however, to face a dismal fact. Gospel singers of his caliber often live normal lives and not the glamorous existence I supposed.
Gospel singers are not the only celebrities who live dual lives. A minor scandal broke out when rapper Bow Wow (no longer called “Lil”) gave the false impression on social media that he flew first class. Then social media dragged him when he was caught on a budget flight, instead. Like so many on social media, he fostered a lie to uphold his image. Here’s my point: how we, the onlooker, perceive things may not be true.
But I get it. My private life is not for public consumption, though I live it out in a public arena. It’s a delicate balancing act. While I would never put my business (financial or otherwise) out there for all to see, I don’t wish to mislead people and still struggle with how much to reveal. However, my silence leaves things open for people to fill in the blanks and interpret in whatever manner they like.
Since becoming an author, folks invariably think I have money. Boo-hoo! Poor me! IKR? But seriously, whenever I release a new book, relatives and even strangers hit me up for money soon after. It never fails. Somebody needs this or that. It’s flattering in a way, it truly is. They believe I’m a celebrity and they have access to me. And I don’t even need to be a celebrity for that to happen. All people need to believe is that you are doing well because of the house you live in, the car you drive and clothes you wear, or the job that employs you. I still remember the time that a relative (through marriage) called me and insisted:
“You and your husband gon’ buy me a new car. I know you got it!”
Unbelievable. And a true story. Look, I try to never “poor mouth” my situation. You know – talk like I’m broke. The more you confess what you don’t have, the more likely it is to become true. I don’t brag about riches, either. But I do believe you will have what you say (Mark 11:23). Proponents of “The Secret,” and self-help gurus Tony Robbins and Wayne Dyer also teach that prosperity begins with your mouth. Our daily speech habits can impact our world. If you want to improve your life, they say, first start with what you say. It will transform the way you think and alter your outcomes.
That’s a good rule to live by, I think. Since I became aware of how words create our reality, you’ll never hear me confess how broke I am, no matter how close to the truth that may be, LOL! But because I won’t say it, people assume I’m rich! And while I wish very much for that to be true, it hasn’t happened… yet! A friend and I recently shared a meal, and he posed this question:
“Loria, do you see your books being made into a movie?”
Stunned into silence for moment, my first thought was to be humble and aw shucks him. But then I quickly reminded myself of another friend’s favorite adage: closed mouths don’t get fed! So, I said what I wanted to happen. Boldly, I put my answer out there for the universe to hear.
“Well,” he continued, “it’s all in who you know. That’s how these things work. Do you know anyone that could make your books into a movie?”
“No,” I answered, soberly but quickly gained confidence. “Not yet.” And I knew I had spoken something wonderful into reality, calling it out of the ether into this plane of existence. It’s coming. But it’s not here yet.
Until that day comes, people might as well refrain from asking me for my as-of-now-unrealized riches! They will not make me say, “I ain’t got it!” just to get them off my back. That’s not ever going to be my confession. I will always lay claim to great things because I serve a great God. One day I will attain that glorious state of existence – celebrity plus riches. But I suspect that even once I have achieved it, I will still be “just regular”.