Feelin' Chalky

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The "&" of Worship

I have been thinking...which is often a dangerous thing. A post by Lysa Terkeurst last night really triggered some emotions and insight that I have been keeping on the inside.

"Here's an encouraging word for someone tonight - don’t think you’re not doing what God called you to do just because things don’t seem as glamorous as you thought they would be. 
If you are a woman who honors God right where you are, you are in ministry. Keep being obedient, keep looking for the next open door of opportunity, and above all else hold closely to our Lord." - Lysa Terkeurst

A lot of people assume that leading worship is glamorous. That getting up on a stage and singing and leading people in worship must be exhilarating. That the people on stage are in some way hyper-spiritual - always living on some kind of "God-high."I can't speak for everyone, but for me the very opposite is often true. Yes, there are definitely moments where I feel completely overcome by the Spirit, where I feel like I am soaring...but not because of my own talent, spiritual fervor, or awesomeness. 

If I have learned one thing more consistently over that last year (ish) it is that true, authentic worship - worship that inspires and moves and soars is worship that comes from a place of struggle, brokenness, lacking, sometimes sadness and frustration. That is what makes it so beautiful. Just because a person may be a gifted singer or speaker or musician doesn't mean that stepping on the stage week after week is an easy and always exciting process.

For me the process has been humbling and terrifying. But God. But always God. God continues to meet me through the fears and tears and doubts. He continues to ask me to have those emotions but do it anyway. Lay aside my insecurities about my body. Set down my perfectionism. Strip away pride. Refine motives. It. Is. Hard. Nothing about the process is easy - at least for me. Yes, I am gifted. God has placed in me an ability to sing. But that doesn't make USING that gift easy - putting myself out there, exposing my heart - my most intimate moments with God for all to see.

I spent many years singing. Singing is a little easier - less risky. When I sing I can still be guarded. I can "put on a show, " entertain, but still protect the deepest cries of my heart and soul. I never dreamed that stepping out of the mindset of a singer into a worship leader would be such a risk. As a singer your greatest risk is hitting bad notes or getting off tempo, but with leading the stakes are so much higher. 

I know each time I walk out on to the stage that if God does not show up and work through me that what I deliver will be empty, meaningless "noise." It may sound good (or not - ha!) but that is where it stops. It doesn't MOVE. And for some people that may be OK. In fact, it used to be OK with me. I used to gauge how good a song I sang was by the amount of or lack of mistakes. That was before I experienced leading through the Holy Spirit. Once I had experienced that - there was nothing that I could possibly do to measure up.

Leading in any capacity is messy business. I rarely feel the need to celebrate my "successes" but instead find myself consistently surrendering, setting aside ego, stripping off walls that have been built up to present myself completely and fully to God to be used in the way that He sees fit...even when I don't want to. Especially when I don't want to. Especially when I don't feel like it. Especially after a fight with my husband and especially after a rough day with my kids or unpaid bills or unmet expectations. Especially when I have to get down on my knees and beg God to use this measly gift one more time for His greater purpose...when I know good and well that He doesn't need me. But He does choose me. And He does love me. And He loves you.

Don't get me wrong. I have enjoyed this journey and I so look forward to where God will take me next. I am having so much fun learning and experiencing new things. My creative side is completely bursting with thoughts and ideas and vision. I just know that for every "high" moment I get to experience with God there is another side to it. There is a spiritual battle raging. There is a whole person (a very imperfect person). There is life to be lived. A couple I really love and respect recently put it so well - there is joy & sorrow. God is deserving of our undivided, fully engaged worship ALL OF THE TIME. There is no hiding from the trials of life just because you decide to step into ministry. Life doesn't just all of the sudden get easy or make sense.

I have so much more respect for those of you who have served or are serving as church staff and leaders. I understand now just a tiny piece of what it must be like to continually give of yourself to the cause of Christ - the ultimate call on all of our lives. Thank you. We often take what you do for granted. I now can see your brokenness but I also see you lay that aside in humble surrender and "do it anyway"...because...God. Because always God. And the stakes are far more higher if we don't.