I am one of those lucky ones who have parents who love the Lord. We read bible studies together as a family. We went to church every Sunday. My brothers and sister and I sat in wooden pews and saw our parents lead the worship of our Lord. I sat in high school youth group knowing that there was no youth leader at that time so my mom and a couple other moms gave of their time (which I’m sure they had little of) to plan activities for us. Sure, we didn’t really want our MOTHERS to chaperone our youth convention trip to San Antonio but, looking back on it, I realize that if they didn’t do it, no one would of.
That particular conference is an important part of my life because that’s the first time I realized that I wanted to lead worship. I saw the worship team up there on stage and marveled at their talent and their confidence. 12 years into my music ministry career, I am thankful for that moment. In a dome filled with 10,000 other high school students, God spoke to me about His calling on my life. Wow.
As a 15 year old, I didn’t have quite the right thinking about what it meant to lead worship. As a current 35 year old, I don’t have it all figured out either. But I think I get closer to the truth every year:-)
The 15-year-old me saw the main singer up there and dreamed of the fame that came a long with leading worship. But, even more that that, I dreamed of a time in my life when I would be confident enough in my musical ability to sing in front of people. My defense mechanism in high school and college was to act like my voice was “whatever”. Something I could use, or not. I put up a front that music was just one of the many things I did. But, in reality, I desired for music to be THE thing I did. I just wasn’t sure how to be confident in it because I was so darn insecure.
I decided to go to college for music education. Teaching was a safe way to use my gifts but not make it about me and my voice specifically.
Now, hear me on this. I am not promoting the whole “Those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach” philosophy. That’s a crock statement, to be sure. I’m just saying that, for me, an education degree gave me a chance to do something I loved (music) while not having to stick myself out there very far.
In short, I didn’t have the courage to really see what I was made of.
This past decade or so has been a lot about shaking off the chains of fear that stomped out the worship leader fire that God was building in my heart from that 15-year-old moment. How did I break those chains? Simple.
More of HIM, less of me.
Seems backwards, doesn’t it? To build a gift that requires me to be in front of the whole church every Sunday, I needed less of myself? I think John says it best:
“Therefore, I am filled with joy at His success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but He has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else.” – John 3:29b-31
On Sunday mornings, I get out of my own way. I cast out any thoughts that maybe today is the day I totally forget the melody of the first verse or draw a blank when it comes to the keyboard lead line. I proclaim that my gift, just like the gift God has bestowed on you, was given to me so that He could make himself known.
What a privilege. Sometimes, a scary privilege. But, a privilege nonetheless.