Article:Passion lived out of the box!
Life can often be one drawn out journey of search experiments when it comes to grasping the core of who we are and what we feel that we are purposed by God to do on this earth. Since childhood, Most people thought the obvious (singing) was my one true calling and passion. My family were not just singers but as I would like to so not eloquently put it...they were SANGERS! I t was only a matter of time before people would soon look for me to follow suit. The singing thing became a natural part of life. Watching my mother perform for political, spiritual, and social events seemed just a simple past time for me, but little did I know that a true performer brewed steadily inside of me as well. What surprised us all however, were the other creative outlet avenues I began to take.
Something Beautiful is created when a child is allowed to explore and express her creativity in several ways. Theater, writing, dance, and public speaking all became my "favorite " thing to do. Those that knew me as a singer thought that I was born to do it, but those who knew me as a dancer argued that it was my destiny to dance. The ones who knew me as a writer believed that it must have been my absolute favorite thing to do, and the audiences who I had spoken for, would later share that they knew the moment they heard my speeches or messages..I was created to speak!
Instead of being encouraged by God's wonderful variety of gifts, I became incredibly discouraged and frustrated. I never knew which gift to operate in at what times, and I never knew how to create a business card as a young adult. What would it say? Shenette Jones, writer, dancer, speaker, singer, performer, preacher?? Not so sure that business card would go over well. Growing up as a military brat, I thankfully had the exposure to several cultures which later began to feel like a curse as well. I could no longer fit in with the Black church or the White church. I'd go absolutely nuts within pretending to like one kind of music when everyone who knew me personally knew that I knew every genre of music, had performed most of it for different audiences, and they knew that a box was the last place I wanted to be. I felt uncomfortable doing only black theater because as a student I had to perform Broadway musicals and classic theater. As a Christian who sings, I felt frustrated singing one style of music because I had already learned classical music and opera peices (arias). I grew up in Memphis where country, blues, and hip hop were saturating the arts and I was well soaked in it all.
Finding my way, God spoke to me in the saddest of seasons in my life. He asked me if I trusted what he had put in me? He reminded me that my gifts would open doors and make room for me bringing me before great people. He finally shared with me that my gifts are not all for the church, but the world. All people, all races, all religions, all genders. The exposure I had to variety was not for dulling down my gifts but instead for reaching beyond the highways and far away hedges as the bible suggest.
Now, I'm proudly comfortable in all of them. I know when to dance, I know when to sing, I know when to speak, I know when to write. They often come together quite beautifully. Today my music is versatile. I love jazz and adult contemporary music, rap, hip hop, gospel, classical and soul. I love being the christian lady singing at the upscale restaurants and the cozy coffee shops. I don't have to wave a Jesus flag, but his sweet spirit waves for me, setting an atmosphere in those places that only God himself could set.
I love the moments that I get to grace the mic at church because although my Non denominational mixed culture church is large, I am only singing for one God up there under those lights. I Love teaching hip hop dance classes for women because although they think they're coming to jam and throw down, I know that the intimate conversations and fellowship to follow makes room for the true ministry. meeting people where they are. I love writing. Challenging people's thoughts and emotions with other various overlooked perspectives...that seems to be my niche. As a Motivational speaker I have the privilege to go into all facilities to talk about fitness, health, domestic violence awareness, sexual assault awareness, youth education rights, race relationships, and finally, last but not least... God. NO LONGER am I boxed in! God has given me great comfort in knowing that what he gave me...HE GAVE ME and it's not for one people, but all people. Not for one place but many places. As long as he's with me, it's great work!