It’s Christmas Eve.
I’m center stage at my church in downtown Minneapolis with a spotlight on me and a microphone in front of me.
The track starts, the band follows, and I hear the prompt in my in-ear monitors to sing the first verse of “O Holy Night”.
We’d rehearsed earlier that week, the recording had been playing in my car in preparation, and the final practice just an hour earlier went smoothly. I was ready.
Until half-way through that verse when I realized how off tempo I was. I could feel the beat behind me dragging. I knew it was my fault, but as my panic increased, I knew there was nothing I could do to correct the situation.
I wanted to just stop; I felt like I could walk away from the mic and have the more experienced, better sounding worship leader next to me take over and sing this iconic Christmas song.
“Why did she have me lead this song anyway?”
“She’s the one that they pay to do this”.
“Hasn’t she recorded albums or something?”
When moments like these (maybe not always to the degree to screwing up a pivotal point of the Christmas Eve service) happen, my thoughts immediately spiral.
“There are so many more talented people that should be up here instead.”
“I let my band down …”
“Am I even good enough to lead worship?”
“I let this church down …”
“How am I going to face these people after this set?”
“I let God down …”
I understand there needs to be a level of excellence when leading worship. I think band auditions are a good thing. I think rehearsals are necessary. But “being the best” is not what it takes to be a worship leader.
One time someone told me I had a very “congregational voice.” I didn’t really know what they meant by that or whether I should be offended by that comment, but that is now my favorite way to express my style of worship leading.
In all honesty, I sound like just about everyone else in the room that can carry a tune. There is nothing remotely amazing about my voice and my range is perfectly average.
I’ve had to put my insecurity behind me. I’m not on stage for a show nor to show off. As cliché as it is, I have an audience of One. So, what’s the big deal if the vocalist’s voice cracks if their heart is in the right place?
Being a worship leader has absolutely nothing to do with the person on the platform and absolutely everything to do with God. It’s about becoming less so that people can see Him more. It’s about putting Aly Halbakken aside, proclaiming truth, and leading people to experience God through music.
So, here’s my challenge:
- If you’ve been called to lead, lead well.
Don’t believe the lie that you’re not good enough. If you have been entrusted to lead, God has you there for a purpose. If you allow the fear of letting people down rule, you can actually hinder the work God wants to do through you.
- Keep perspective of Whom you’re praising.
Bring your best and trust that God will work through that, but remember Who your worship is for. When it can be tempting to look for worldly affirmation and approval, remember the fixation of your heart is what brings God glory.
- Your identity is not based on your performance.
You are worth more than the outcome. This applies in all areas. If you get a bad grade or miss the winning soccer goal, God’s love for you hasn’t wavered and your identity hasn’t changed. Your accomplishments don’t define you.
- Pursue the passions He has placed on your heart.
Don’t let fear stop you from pursuing the passions God has woven deep into you. You are His vessel and He is going to use you for great things.
Guys, even writing this blog, I’ve been fearful to post because I don’t want to say the wrong thing. Sometimes I’ll rewrite the same sentence six times over again. Putting yourself out there, knowing you’re not the best writer or singer or whatever you do, is scary.
But I’m going to bring my best. That’s all God asks of me. I will work to stop comparing myself to others and continue to pursue these things for His glory alone.
A little prayer:
May your worship be more about the condition of your heart and focusing on His greatness. May you always bring your best musically and serve Him by using the talents He has given you. But let there be a wave of relief in remembering how much greater worship is than a seamless production. He is so worthy of our selfless praise.
What is an area where you have to give up your fear of failure?