Dexter Darden has been singing his entire life. He started singing and playing the harmonica in the church choir at the age of three and today he continues to incorporate his love for music into the roles that he plays including Joyful Noise, Standing Ovation, and Cadillac Records. We interviewed Dexter Darden five years ago and talked with him about his spiritual journey, how he has had to trust God through difficult times and how he uses his gifts to glorify God.
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” Psalm 100:1-3
Darden shares about his faith journey and how he uses his gifts to glorify God.
“I grew up in church knowing Christ. My mother and father were very involved and I got my foundation from the church. Plus, I grew up singing and laying the harmonica in church. Now it is growing in my faith and really [having’ my own view as I grow into adulthood…God gave me these gifts and this is my calling. I feel like if I am using my gifts in the right way and doing it the way that he would want, then, I’m glorifying him because he is the one that blessed me with these gifts.”
Darden opens up on having how he had to trust God with his sickle cell anemia and the passing of his father.
“I was born with sickle cell anemia. Growing up with it was a struggle in its own. Then, when I was eight-years-old, my father passed away. Dealing with the passing of my father and sickle cell was an emotional struggle…I turned to my mom to help me process everything…Being brought up in the church, you learn that everything happens for a reason. Whether you have sickle cell anemia, lose a parent, or have cancer, we can go back to the fact that God has a bigger plan. My mom would remind me that God had bigger plans for me. I had to trust God and his plan.”
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:4-5
Darden encourages others on the importance of using their gifts and talents.
“Practice and use your gifts and talents. Focus on them and bring them to fruition. God gives us the ability, but we need to find it within ourselves to work hard on that craft. Whether it is singing in the studio, taking a piano lesson for four hours, or going to the gym to get better at basketball, God gives the abilities to us, but we need to access them and use them to the fullest so he is glorified by the gifts he gives.”
Make a joyful noise. You don’t have to be a professional singer or musician to praise God. Turn on some praise and worship music and sing to God. Don’t worry if you are off key. God is more concerned with your heart and drawing you closer to Him through worship then if you are in tune. If you need some suggestions for worship albums, ask a pastor or small group leader. We love Hillsong, For King and Country, Matt Redman, and Chris Tomlin. There are so many great groups and songs. If you can play a musical instrument, take time to play some worship songs. You can either play ones that are already written, or write and create your own!
Worship God with your gifts and talents. Take time this week to read the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). Ask God what gifts and talents He has entrusted you with. Sometimes, it is helpful to ask others who know you too. They can sometimes see things in you that you might not realize about yourself. It can also be insightful to take a spiritual gifts test. Reflect on the passage and how you are using your talents. Think about if you are using them to the fullest potential. If you aren’t, pray for God to show you ways and opportunities where you can glorify Him.
Embrace hardships and difficulties. Proverbs 3:5-6 says to “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” The word trust in the Hebrew implies clinging to something. Even though we may not fully understand a difficult circumstance or a trial, God wants us to turn to Him and cling to Him. He will help us get through it. God never promised that our lives would be easy but he did promise us that He would never leave us. If you are facing a difficult situation or season, pray and ask God to give you His strength. Remember that God has given us a body of believers and family through the faith that can encourage and support you during your difficult time. If you feel alone, ask your pastor, small group leader or a trusted friend to help you walk through the trial.
To read our entire interview with Dexter Darden, click here.