I just joined a praise team at a church I recently became rooted in. I moved to Austin, Texas at the end of the summer and found a church that I now call my church family. I used to be on the worship team at the last church I was part of, but when I moved to Austin, I took time off for several months before feeling like God was calling me back to be on a worship team.
And if I’m being honest, I hesitantly obeyed. I put off the application for as long as I could. I put off recording my audition video as long as I could… but every Sunday, my heart was burning more and more to be up there, with the worship team. It’s not that I love being on stage, in fact, I hate it. It terrifies me. Even though I served every Sunday at my previous church, every Sunday morning my stomach would be in knots, my body would turn as cold as ice, and I would be shaking so much internally that it made playing the keyboard extremely challenging.
So why on earth would I join another praise team? Well, quite honestly I’m doing it out of obedience to God. Don’t get me wrong, I love singing, and it is totally and completely satisfying spiritually. I’ve never felt more at peace than being on stage leading hundreds of people to the throne of Jesus. It’s a strange dichotomy of my body wanting to collapse into a puddle on the floor, and being wrapped up in indescribable peace. The humanness of me absolutely hates being on stage. If it were up to me and what I want, I would be in the very back corner of the room, and in fact if I could just go ahead and blend into the wall, that would be great. But the spirit inside of me thrives, because that’s where I’m closest to God; when I’m in His will for me.
This calling from God to be a worship leader however, has led me to question, doubt, be angry, and frustrated at God. Why would He give me a gift that has to be used in public? Why would he call me to do something that makes me overrun with anxiety?
Because I can’t do it…in my own strength, at least. And I’m convinced that’s exactly why God has called me to be a worship leader. Because I’m not called to live a life that I can do in my own strength. I’m not called to live a self-sufficient life. I am called to become more like Christ, and the only way I can do that is by being in a place where I seek him, spend time with him, and hold onto him every moment of every day. I could never, in my own strength, walk out onto stage and lead a crowd to do anything, let alone lead a crowd to the presence of God, the most holy of holies.
When I walk onto stage, week after week, I remind my brain that I’m not doing this for me – it’s about God. It’s about his glory. And my prayer is the same, week after week: that I wouldn’t be seen, but that HE would be seen through me. That my presence on stage and my voice ringing through the air would be his presence, and his spirit rushing in.
After all, maybe I am exactly where I need to be. Surrounded by my anxious thoughts, with my savior right here waiting for me to go to Him. He is my saving grace. He is my anchor in the hurricane.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”