When I was a little girl I dreamed of singing for thousands of people on the biggest stages and traveling all around the world. Despite my tendency to be shy at times, I was still thrilled and often overwhelmed with elaborate daydreams of being a great entertainer for all to see and enjoy. However, throughout my life the Lord has shown me that these gifts and talents that he has given us was made for more than just entertainment. If you are currently leading worship, a singer/songwriter, musician or you are thinking about joining your worship team I want to share with you the importance of why your intention behind it is so critical. If you are going to sing, then sing with purpose.
Do not look for fulfillment in your gift, but in the one who gave it to you.
I cannot tell you how many concerts, competitions, and music festivals I have performed in. Too many to count, yet they didn’t really count. Growing up I believe the Lord instilled in me a desire to deeply connect with the audience through music and the words that I sang. I thrived to see the look on people’s faces change throughout a musical piece as they would get raveled into the story of the song as if it was them standing right in my very shoes. When I would compete, I took it very seriously to the point where I created this unhealthy connection between my identity and desire to win 1st Place. I was quick to adopt a well known motto internally. “If you’re not first, you’re last.” No matter how many people I may or may not have impressed or temporarily amused, I never felt at peace or satisfied with my efforts. If I did not win, I felt unworthy and I felt as if I was not good enough. I would replay scenarios in my head over and over with hundreds of ways I could have practiced harder or longer or perhaps how different I could have made the quality of my performance so that in the end I could come out on top in hopes that I would feel a sense of accomplishment and those who I loved would be proud of me. In cases when I did win first, the satisfaction and the joy I felt in those moments were only temporary. All the accolades, medals, certificates and praises of people didn’t transform me to become a better person.
No matter how many classes, lessons or professionals helped me to become a better singer it didn’t fulfill my purpose at that moment which was to be used as a vessel to bring others closer to their own transformation and encounter with God. I am not saying these things are wrong and that you should not be involved in your community choir, school music programs or perform in a competitive setting. Those things are great to be a part of and if it wasn’t for my former music and vocal teachers, I would not have had some amazing opportunities or the chance to grow in my gift. Now with that said, the reason I share this with you is because, many fall in the trap of seeking fulfillment through their skill. We long and seek the approval of others by displaying our gift as a means to be noticed and viewed as worthy when God has already called you as enough. So long as you use your talents to establish who you are, you will not be able to fulfill your true God given assignment without added struggle. When our identity is placed in our gift and not in Christ, we no longer rely on the promise of God, but by the strength in our own efforts.
I was hopping from event to event and compliment to compliment and for sometime, although I loved to sing for the Lord, my heart was torn, because of my desire to receive affirmation. The search for peace within myself continued for years until I realized that true wholeness was not in my talents or in the things I was good at. Being whole could not be found in another persons approval of my production, but in the presence of the Lord. Any of us could one day wake up and never be able to sing again, but God will always be there. My heart must follow something bigger than what any talent can offer and that is to impact the world for Christ. Lose yourself in God and you will not lose yourself to your gift.
Your gift will catch people’s attention, but your anointing will capture their heart.
Singing and playing beautifully will soothe the listen
er’s ear, but the anointing you carry through the Holy Spirit will sooth their soul. As worship leaders, we really want to do a great job and we want to hit all the right notes and sing the most well known songs and all of those things have their place, however, there is more important things than a fire set. As musicians, worship is the tool we use to cultivate an electrifying atmosphere with the congregation. As I have mentioned previously in other posts, we use worship to exalt God, edify each other and to open up a space for the Holy Spirit to come and move. When our identity is in our gift alone it can cause our
focus to shift from God and towards ourselves. I have spoken to people who are involved in worship at their local church that truly believe they have been called in the area of worship and music, but are constantly battling with the fear of what others think of them. If people do not raise their hands, cry hysterically or compliment them after the worship service they immediately doubt themselves, their worth and value. In these moments do not be quick to lose sight of why you are doing this in the first place. Whether you got the response you wanted or not, God still receives all of the honor and glory. Every bit of praise still belongs and goes to him. It has nothing to do with who you are.
The Lord blesses us with the talent and then we decide how far we will take it and how much refinement and work goes into it, but it is the anointing that breaks the yoke. Rely less on what you can do and more on what the Holy Spirit can do through you. The ministry is not a place to shine and be a star. Ministry is where we serve and Jesus comes does what only he can do. Worship leaders, I urge you to keep your heart aligned with the word of God by worshiping in spirit and in truth.
Raise the next Generation of Worshipers!
As we grow and mature in our journey with God and in our leadership, there comes a time when the wave of your generation passes and makes room for the next wave of worshipers. I have been fortunate enough to be in the HungryGen Worship Family for 10 years now with the guidance and care of my Pastors and leaders. Just as our former worship director passed down the torch to us, we will soon pass it on to the next generation. God uses these transitional periods to reveal where our identity, motives and intentions rest within our heart. Someone who is grounded in their gift and not in the Lord will be stingy to share the light with newcomers or fresh faces, but a person who is rooted in the word and is close to Holy Spirit will understand that there is room for everyone and that God has a special timing for each and every one of us. Just as the Lord uses others to raise you up, he wants to use you too to Father or Mother those who are upcoming in their calling. The stage, lights and the titles will always fade, but your relationship with the lord is what will keep you sustained. I encourage you to spend time in the secret place and allow the Holy Spirit to work in your heart. An identity crisis can stem from many different roots, but you can destroy the doubt, jealousy, insecurities and so much more when you learn who you truly are in Christ Jesus. Leaders, be intentional every time you open your lips with praise. Sing every word as if it came straight from your heart. People can feel and sense when someone is worshiping from a connection with God versus a connection to themselves.
There is so much ground to cover when it comes to the topic of identity. In this case, I wanted to touch particularly on those involved with the praise and worship ministry. I pray that if you are currently struggling with this that you may find peace with yourselves through Christ. If your fight is against fear, self-doubt, pride and conflicting with your motives, there is also grace for you as there was for me. Genuinely surrendering to God with the raw, ugly and broken part of me saved me from self-destruction and closed the door on the enemy. Wherever you are today in your walk, do not be fazed by the pressures of your position. Yes, it is easier said than done, yet all things are possible with God. In your pursuit to discovering who you are, be bold as you lead the congregation into God’s presence, but be meek to the Holy Spirit. Embrace what God has given so freely to you and allow Him to steer you back home whenever you have seem to lose your way.