On January 21, 2009, an unemployed woman who had never been married and lived alone with her cat, Pebbles, walked onto the stage in Glasgow, Scotland to audition for the television show Britain’s Got Talent. When she marched onto the stage, there was a collective laugh from the audience. I am sure many of you have watched talent shows like this from time to time. While we watch them to see people perform and succeed, we also watch them to see people fail and to give us all a good laugh. It seemed the audience was ready to see yet another performer fail and provide them with a good laugh.
When the lady introduced herself, she informed the judges and the audience that she was 47 years old and that it was her dream to be a professional singer. She then told them that she wanted to be as famous as Elaine Paige. She was greeted with rolling eyes and snickers. She informed the audience that she would be performing the song “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical Les Miserables. She gave a thumbs-up signal and the music began to play. Then she began to sing. Suddenly the laughs and snickers turned into thunderous applause and within five seconds of the first note she sang, everybody in the audience was standing on their feet cheering wildly for this woman that no one had given a second look. As she continued to sing, the audience became more and more amazed. How could it be that someone who looked like this could have such an enormous gift? By the time she finished singing she was on her way to being one of the most successful singers of our time. That lady was Susan Boyle.
Susan Boyle had lived a very ordinary and uneventful life up until that point. She was raised in a small village in Scotland by parents who taught her to have faith in God. Her mother had once told her that God had a plan for everyone, and she held onto that belief through some of the most difficult times in her life. Susan had lived a life of solitude. She was tormented and made fun of in school for the way she looked and for her learning problems. She had never really had a boyfriend and when her father died she took on the responsibility of taking care of her aging mother. Susan’s only escape from the reality that she lived was singing. She sang whenever she was given a chance, but it really never seemed to go anywhere. As the end of her mother’s life began to grow near, she urged Susan to audition for shows like Britain’s Got Talent, but Susan was afraid. She felt that she was not talented enough and that she did not have the looks that are required to be a singing sensation. When her mother died, Susan went into a deep depression. She would not leave the house and she would not sing. This went on for close to 6 months, until one day she decided that things had to change.
She later said that she felt her mother urging her to take a chance and audition for the show. She decided that she would do it in her mother’s honor. The day of the audition she got on a bus to take her to the theater. During the long day of waiting, Susan kept to herself and waited for her turn. No one in that theater had any idea who she was or who she would become. It was truly the day that would change Susan’s life, and it was a catalyst to her becoming who she was always meant to be. God’s plan for Susan’s life was about to unfold right in front of millions of people. Until that day, Susan had not sung in public since her mother’s death. She said as she performed she could feel her parents surrounding her and that gave her the courage to keep going.
We can learn a lot from Susan Boyle’s story. She had spent the better part of her life possessing a God given gift that no one really knew about. She had been waiting for what some would call a lifetime to become the person that God had always intended for her to be. Her journey to international fame was one laid with failure and heartache, but it was all preparing her to become the person that God always knew she would be. She has said that she does not regret any of the steps she took on her journey and that she is thankful for every twist and turn that she had to experience to realize her dream. Many people would have given up on achieving their dream by the time they had reached 47, but none of us really know what God has planned for our lives. Some of us realize our dreams and our purpose early in our lives, and some of us have to wait many years to realize our purpose.
Susan’s story should remind all of us that we cannot judge a book by its cover. How many of us have snubbed someone based on what we see on the outside? How many of us have sold others and ourselves short based on what we present on the outside or because of our own self-doubt? God truly does have a plan for all of us, and every single one of us has a purpose and a gift that we are supposed to share with others. In Susan’s case, it took her enduring one of the most trying times in her life to muster up the courage to take a chance and sing in front of a large audience. This is true for all of our lives. God can take something that we feel is the worst thing that can happen to us and turn it into something amazing. We all have endured tragedies and hard times only to realize later that it was through those experiences that we became the person we were always meant to become.
The most important lesson that we can learn from Susan Boyle’s story is that we should never give up. We should keep moving forward no matter what happens, and we should never let our setbacks define us. We should allow our misfortunes and tragedies to make us stronger and help us to realize our dreams and our purpose in life. I know how easy it is to want to give up, especially when it seems we have spent a lifetime searching for the things that will finally fulfill us, but in most cases it is worth the wait and once we discover our purpose, it will bring us pure joy and contentment.
God has a plan for your life. Your job is never to give up and keep allowing God to lead your steps. You should take God’s hand and let Him help you to become the person that you are meant to be. It is never too late to allow God to take the lead. All you have to do is to reach out to Him and listen for His voice and let Him guide you. God wants to guide all of us. He wants all of us to discover our purpose and to use the gifts that He has given us to make the world a better place. Through God’s guidance we all have that power. God will never leave us or forsake us, and He will always see us through to the end. We should never let the negative voices in our minds keep us from achieving all that we can achieve. We should never allow self-doubt to keep us from moving forward. God will encourage all of us along the way. All we have to do is hear His encouraging words and be obedient to the things that He is saying to us. It really is that simple, but it is often very hard for us to do. We have to quiet the negative voices in our minds and focus on the good in life. We have to take God’s hand and let Him lead the way. The road may be bumpy and full of potholes, but God will lead us over them. God can make a way where there seems to be no way. God can make miraculous things happen for all of us. All we need to do is trust Him, surrender our lives to Him, and let Him guide our steps. When we do this, it will make all the difference in our lives and will bring us peace like we have never experienced before, and PEACE MATTERS!