Rolling Away The Shame Of Singing

Click here to read how God can roll away your shame in any situation. Transparent story by Jamie Rohrbaugh |“I heard Kristy say you can’t sing.”

One cruel insult delivered to my ears through a third person was all it took. I cowered in shame.

It happened during my first couple of years in college. I don’t remember exactly when. But I do remember Kristy. She acted like my friend, but she’d lash out whenever she wanted to. She wasn’t a very nice person unless she wanted to be.

But I was shy, scared, and lonely, and I needed all the friends I could get. And I thought Kristy was my friend … until the rumor of her cruel words hit me right in the stomach.

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    And at that moment, I stopped believing in my song.

    Nevermind that I had been awarded a singing scholarship to college. Nevermind that I sang alto in an 8-voice a capella group in high school. Nevermind that I loved to play the piano and sing my soul song anytime, any day. Nevermind that I had taken voice lessons for years with well-known vocalists and even an opera singer, who had always been very supportive.

    None of that mattered. When I heard of Kristy’s words, I knew I couldn’t sing. And shame covered me. From that moment on, for the last 15 years, I have never sung again without shame.

    Oh, I still sang when I had to. I even joined the choir at my local church, many years later. But every time I sang, the thoughts in my head went something like this:

    • “They’re probably thinking I can’t sing.”
    • “They’re probably making fun of me.”
    • “Don’t sing very loud so people won’t hear me and won’t know I can’t sing.”

    I sang to the Lord, but I was so ashamed for anyone to hear me or to know that I–Jamie Rohrbaugh, the girl Kristy said couldn’t sing–was stupid enough to open my mouth and sing a note.

    And then God made me begin to lead worship at our church’s healing rooms.

    Every time I led, the glory of God would sit down. There would be tears. There would be snot. (I always use snot as a pretty accurate measure of the anointing. More snot = more anointing.) 😉 The prophetic word would be released. The Holy Spirit would minister in power to and through our whole group of intercessors and worshippers.

    But every night I led, horrible thoughts still filled my head. I was waiting for people to tell me to stop singing. I was waiting for people to mock me. I was waiting for people to ask me what on earth made me think I should be leading worship with a voice like that.

    Those words never came, but I still cowered in shame. Every night. Every worship set. Every song.

    And just last week, I got tired of it and finally realized this shame was not from the Lord… but I didn’t know how to get rid of it.

    I was headed to Chicago for the annual Redbud Writers Guild retreat. I had been asked to lead worship there twice–Friday night and Sunday morning. I was honored to be asked; the organizers did everything they could to let as many people as possible participate in the weekend festivities, but it was still a huge honor for me to lead these women I barely knew in worshipping our King. I was excited about it.

    But I was also terrified:

    • I was terrified that I really couldn’t sing, and my writer-sisters would know it.
    • I was terrified they would make fun of me.
    • I was terrified I would humiliate myself.

    And all I wanted to do was host the Presence of God and usher in His glory. All I wanted to do was transport tired, some hurting, some weary ladies into encounter with Jesus Christ, who alone is the Answer to everything–and in whose Presence is fullness of joy. All I wanted to do was bring Him the worship He deserves.

    And one day last week, sitting in my cubicle at work, I couldn’t take it anymore. I broke down and cried:

    • I begged God to roll away the reproach from off of me.
    • I begged God to remove my shame in singing.
    • I cried out to Him and told Him that I only want to give Him a pure offering of my worship, and I asked Him to remove everything that would keep me from offering my worship to Him with joy.

    That’s when He showed me that Kristy’s insult had kept me wrapped in shame all these years. That’s when He reminded me that bondage is never from Him, so this shame of singing was not from Him either. That’s when He showed me that the enemy has tried to keep me from offering my song to the Lord all this time.

    And God began to set me free from this shame of singing.

    I know I’m not walking in total freedom yet; because even as I write this, dear reader, I have to admit that I’m afraid of what you’re thinking:

    • I’m afraid you’ve heard me sing or lead worship and thought it was awful.
    • I’m afraid you’ll talk about me behind my back.
    • I’m afraid you’re laughing at me or mocking me as you read these, my deepest confessions.

    But to be perfectly honest, dear reader–friend or foe–even if you are mocking me, I’ve decided to sing anyway.

    You see, God has given me a gift to play and worship. He’s given me a gift to lead others into His manifest Presence. I’m not saying this because I think it, but rather because I see it in action. Even when I think the most insecure thoughts–even when I’m most afraid–He still moves when I obey.

    And this last weekend, at the Redbud retreat, He did it again. It wasn’t just me; I had a couple of ladies help me. (Worship is always better with a team; don’t forget that, although it’s a different post for a different day.) But God sat down on us again. There were tears, and snot, and glory, and worshipful silence that nobody wanted to break.

    It’s not because I’m special; but anybody with a heart to worship Him is special to Him, and He will always respond to the genuine, heartfelt worship of His children. And I’ve accepted the shame the enemy has handed me for far too long. God’s people are too important for me to cower in shame and not obey when the Father calls. We need powerful, life-changing ENCOUNTER with Jesus every time we go to worship. We need to hear the Father sing over us.

    And if God can and will use me to bring others into that encounter with Himself, I’m going to obey. I’m going to let Him restore my song, and I’ll keep asking Him to roll away the reproach and shame off of me so I can sing to Him with freedom.

    Related: Radical Prayer #1: God Wants To Honor You

    What are you ashamed of? What has the enemy stolen from you? What do you need God to restore in your life?

    Isaiah 49:23b says:

    Start-quoteThen you will know that I am the Lord,
    For they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me.”

    That’s not a pie-in-the-sky promise. It’s very literal. Honor is from the Lord; shame is NEVER from the Lord. Shame is a trick the enemy uses to steal from the people of God.

    So what has the enemy stolen from you using this evil weapon of shame? Has he stolen…

    • … your love for your body, the temple of the Holy Spirit?
    • … your confidence in sharing your life story with others?
    • … your ability to offer friendship to others, and actually believe that your friendship will be received and embraced?

    Whatever it is, God is not the author of shame. When He brought the Israelites out of Egypt, He made them stop before they entered the Promised Land so He could roll away the shame and reproach off of them. And God wants to do the same for you.

    Whatever you have been ashamed of, God wants to roll that shame off of you RIGHT NOW and clothe you with honor instead.

    Would you pray this prayer with me? Pray it out loud:

    Dear Heavenly Father,

    I come before You in Jesus’ name. Father, thank You for sending Jesus to bear my shame all the way to the cross. Thank You for forgiving my sins and adopting me as Your child. Thank You for making me a new person in Christ Jesus.

    Father, Your Word says that, if I am in Christ Jesus, old things are passed away and all things are become new. Father, I confess I’ve been held by chains of shame all these years. I’ve been ashamed of ___________________________. Father, I know shame is not from You. These things I’ve been ashamed of are in the past. They are covered by the blood of Jesus, and I choose not to live with these things or with the shame that accompanies them any longer.

    So Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask right now that You would roll away the reproach off of my life. Remove the shame of _______________________. Cover me with the blood of Jesus. I renounce shame in the name of Jesus. I refuse to accept shame anymore. I command the spirit of shame to leave me in Jesus’ name. And in the name of Jesus, Father God, I ask You to fill me with the Holy Spirit where that shame was.

    Father, I’m calling upon You, and Your Word says You will answer me; that You will be with me in trouble; that You will deliver me; and that You will HONOR me (Psalm 91:15). So Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask that You would be with me, deliver me, and honor me. Cover me with Your cloak of honor, and teach me to wear it well. Be my defense and my shield to protect me from ever receiving shame again, and let me live like a blood-bought child of Yours, a prince/princess of God, should.

    Thank You, Heavenly Father. Thank You for loving me and hearing my prayer. Thank You for answering me. Thank You for rolling away the shame and reproach off of my life. I love You, Father, and I receive Your cleansing and honor by the blood of Jesus right now.

    In Jesus’ name. Amen!

    Shame is not from the Lord. No matter what you’re struggling with today that has brought shame into your life, I pray you would lay it at the feet of Jesus and let Him heal you and restore you. His grace is sufficient for you, and the blood of Jesus paid the price for you to be free from shame and clothed with honor forevermore.

    Does this message speak to your heart? If so, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

    Image courtesy of Michele Ursino on Flickr via Creative Commons license.


    1. Jamie. Wow. Thank you.
      The message of shame floating in my head came from a friend who said “bloggers are just trying to be famous.” In that moment I felt judged, that my words were worthless, that I had nothing to offer. God is scraping away the shame through my new buds and I am grateful. Thank you for sharing your story. And thank you for doing the hard work of allowing God to break you free from shame. You are paving the way for us all. Bless you, my sister.

      1. Hi Leah. Thank you for reading. I’m thinking “how dare they?” Because if I wanted to be famous, I’d sit in a tub full of candy and put it on YouTube. No, we as bloggers and writers put in hours of study, prayer, work, writing, not to mention blood, sweat, and tears… just to sow into the lives of people. For me, as a faith blogger, it’s all for the sake of Jesus Christ.

        I’m glad you’re refusing that shame also. You are an influencer whom God has called to change your world. Write on, my friend!

    2. Laurna Tallman says:

      Praising God for your release! Something similar happened to me when I was 27. Self-judgement blocks the flow of music through you to others. I had to be with people I felt safe with before I could find my voice and learn what it could do. That need for self-acceptance applies to all behavior, not just singing. Bless the Buds who opened the gates!

    3. Thanks for this honest post. I can relate to your struggle! Had a similar experience in a group that I traveled with back in college. It left me feeling like a failure for a long time. And that voice of self doubt still tries to whisper in my ear from time to time. Thank you for sharing the path to freedom.

      1. Angie, thank you for reading and sharing. I’m appalled that that happened to you, and I laugh at what God has done despite the enemy’s attempts to silence you. May your voice be ever louder for our King! 🙂 Go, Jesus!

    4. Your honesty & vulnerability in this post are so sweet. I’m glad you got this revelation and that you’re going to sing, no matter what. I had a moment of shame regarding my singing all the way back when I was around 7 yrs old. I had the 45 of John Denver’s “Sunshine on my Shoulders”, and I loved to sing along with him. One day I was really into it, singing in my very best voice, when my mom stepped into my room and said, “What are you singing for? You can’t sing!” She didn’t intend it to be mean…she was a loving mother, but sometimes she said things like that, meaning them in a playful way. But it devastated me, since I didn’t quite understand her version of teasing yet. I remember yanking the volume knob down and feeling so much embarrassment and shame that she’d caught me singing, and all I could hear, over and over, was, “You can’t sing!” So, I never sang much again, unless I was sure I was alone. And never around my mom, lol.
      Sadly, the singing shame is the least of my shames these days. So much has been stolen (namely my health) that I carry much shame daily. I was a very fit, athletic person for most of my adult life until I got so ill I became bedridden and unable to work out. I’ve gained so much weight now that I’m obese, and the shame is sometimes unbearable. Thanks for posting the prayer at the end. The more I read of your blog, the more I wish I went to your church!

      1. Hi Nettie, I’m so sorry your mom did that to you. That is not from the Lord! And I pray Papa would release you from shame regarding your health and fitness also, and would fill you with His strength. His Words always heal, so I pray He would minister His Word to you!
        Thank you for reading and commenting as always!

        1. I just read your post and realized we live in the same area when you mentioned your church. I really enjoyed your post. I think we all have struggles where satan is trying to shame us that we have to keep speaking God’s truth into. God bless!

    5. I will definitely check out your church’s live stream. Unfortunately, I have to do church from home (illness), so it would be perfect for me. It sounds like it’s a full-Gospel church, which is exactly what I need. Thanks for the link!

    6. The timing of this post is divinely appointed in my case. Actually yesterday for the first time since I can remember, like 20 years or more, I sang out loud during praise and worship at church. I have always been very self conscious that the person in front or next to me might hear me. I love to sing but was “diagnosed” with lacking what they call “musical ear” when I was in elementary school by the music teacher. He said I can’t hear the difference between the notes so I would always be off key. Ever since, I only sing when my voice can get lost among other voices, so nobody can hear mine. Not yesterday. Yesterday I just sang like there was nobody around me. Worship was pouring out of me to the point that I didn’t really care if I sounded good or not. And now I just prayed this prayer and I know something happened. Now I’m definitely not a candidate for The Voice, but I know that the restoration is undergoing. I thank you for it and all the glory be to God. Keep up the awesomeness!

      1. Wow. That’s amazing, Ivonne. If this blog post had touched nobody else, that right there would be worth it to me. Thank You, Jesus, for setting us free!!! Wahooooooo!!! 🙂
        Thanks so much for reading and sharing!

    7. Hi Jamie!
      This blog has touched me. This is exactly what I am struggling with. Let me first tell you that I have been saved for less than three years. I have been a born-again Christian for less than three years (I got saved in November 2012!). After I became a new creature in Christ Jesus, I was sent to the worship team by the Pastor of the church. I was with that church for two years until God moved me to another ministry in a different area. When I arrived there, I was also sent to the worship team. Because I do not have a strong Christian background, and I did not grow in a Christian/pentecostal church, I found it difficult at first as I was not familiar with most of the songs.

      I felt ashamed and sometimes still do when I come across the songs I do not know. Of course I love to sing to the Lord and worship Him, and I have the voice but sometimes I lack the confidence and I do not want to give my all. I feel like I am not worthy to be in a worship team. I would have thoughts that worship team members are mocking me or talking behind my back. But I went to God with all of these, and He has brought me my confidence and has assured me that I He is with me. I was led to Psalm 71: 8 & 23.

      Thanks a lot for your blog. It really has motivated me. May you continue with the great job God Almighty has entrusted you with.

      God bless you!

      Sanku, South Africa

    8. Nita Beauchamp says:


      Wow! What an open and honest post. I believe we all have had a Kristy in our lives, if not then we might need to reflect because a Kristy might be staring right back at us in the mirror.

      Jamie, you have a beautiful voice and you always have such insightful things to say in your blog, I look forward to reading what you have to teach me and I know that I am not alone. That is because I see your love for the Lord in your words and I can hear it in your worship of Him. Thank you for being obedient to what the Lord would have you share.

      I wanted you to know that I am glad I found you on Pinterest.
      Nita Beauchamp

      1. Hi Nita, yes, I agree. Sometimes the one telling us we can’t do something is us. But God never said it. Oh, to see ourselves the way God sees us! And thank you so much for your encouraging words. They mean a lot. Thank you so much for reading and sharing.

        1. Nita Beauchamp says:

          I came across this post just now and reread it. I have been struggling with shame of my singing voice as well but I would not admit it to myself. Up until a year ago I had been a closet/shower singer. Someone very close to me had often said that singing lessons would be a waste of money because my voice was so awful.
          Now I find myself on the worship team. I have been on the worship team at my church for a year this past June and am in awe of what my Father has done in my life, taking my little voice and making it more than I could have ever imagined. But you see, I still carry the fear and shame of the words that had been spoken over me and when I have a solo, I hear my voice and I hear the a jeering voice say, who are you kidding, you can’t sing and everyone here knows it. The funny thing is that I did not ask to be on the worship team, I was asked by one of the ladies on the team. I of course thought she was teasing me but that is not her style and I have been overwhelmed by the love and encouragement I receive from the team and the church members.
          Just last week at our corporate prayer, my spiritual mother stood up and said that there is a lot of people there in fear, and that is holding people back from truly doing what God has called us to do. She said, you know that fear is not from God, for He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. She and our pastor then prayed over everyone there to align themselves with the word of God and to cast out the spirit of fear.
          So, here I am singing to the one who set me free. Thank you again for your blog, I did pray the prayer you provided and I know that when I doubt my ability, I have faith in the One who gave me this voice and I will use it to praise His Holy Name.

          1. Wow, Nita, this is so beautiful. Isn’t it just like God. He’s amazing! I’m so grateful He’s using you in this way, and may He continue to strengthen both your voice and your confidence as you sing unto His name.
            By the way, if you haven’t ever heard Ray Hughes teach on singing and worship, you should. His teaching would wreck you forever. In a good way. You can find his stuff on YouTube for free. 🙂

    9. Yes it does speak to me

    10. April Beasley says:

      Thank you for your blog. I came across it as I searched for anything that could help me to be free from this shame of singing. I have always loved to sing and when I began following Christ I felt lead to be on the worship team. I have struggled for over 15 years trying to find my voice because of somethings that were said to me. Mother told me when I was very young “you just love to be the center of attention don’t you.” I think that was the beginning of my shame. I’m currently on the worship team at my church I’m now 46 years old and still wrestling with that shame afraid that people will think I am trying to steal the spotlight. Afraid that maybe I am. I feel Ashamed that I desire to sing a solo, or lead a song. And I too have had that one critic who said “You can’t sing” and it came from no other than my husband. I have lead a few songs, but each time I doubt myself, afraid that everyone else thinks I can’t sing too. I know it is not about my ability, it is about Jesus, but I have a hard time believing in myself. I struggle with whether I am really called. I prayed your prayer this morning and I am hoping it is just the begining of being freed from the shame my mother and my husband have put on me. Thanks again for your heart.

      1. Hi April. I am sorry you have been through that, but I pray Papa God would heal your heart and you would sing like the most beautiful angel–strong and beautifully for our Savior.
        Love and hugs,

    11. April Beasley says:

      Thank you Jamie.🙂

    12. Marjorie Blake says:

      thank-you, needed this prayer for my grandchildren who have being separated from us since July 2016, I have been the one who being praying for a breakthrough asking my daughter to keep praying too, hoping they will be released from where they are staying, my daughter wants to take them to court but its a money issue too, i said the prayer and leaving it in God’s hands, keep praying for me and family, that our family will be restored again soon.

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