The Heart of Worship (Leading)

heart of worship

Happy Summer to you all!

First things first…a celebration is in order. Why? Well I’m glad you asked, because:

THE MESSY COFFEE TABLE IS ONE YEAR OLD!! *cue the fireworks*

fireworks

As you may have noticed, the website got fresh coat of paint in honor of this anniversary, and I’m currently brainstorming ideas for more stories, bibles studies, and other awesome content for you. A HUGE thank-you to all my readers in this first year for your encouragement, your feedback, and your engagement with this blog. Whenever I’m feeling unmotivated or discouraged, it’s YOU guys that keep me going. So THANK YOU!!

Secondly, I owe y’all a SINCERE apology for being M.I.A. for the past couple of months. I’ve been struggling to decide where to pick up since I left off. After a great experience reading and blogging through Ephesians, plus a couple creative pieces here and there, I confess I drew a blank for awhile. And then alas, life happens, and personal blogging isn’t exactly top priority anymore. So I suppose I’ll pick up there.

Identity Crisis

I’m a worship leader. At this point in time, I say this as a calling and a conviction, not as a job title. As God ushers me into yet another new season, I’m finding that I’m facing an unexpected, overwhelming sense of…disorientation? Of being in limbo? A little lost, maybe? What does one do when they aren’t doing the thing they said they would always do to earn a living?

The answer my husband and I are settling in on: make a living someplace else, but keep doing that thing. In other words, I could never hang it up completely. It’s just not where my paycheck will be coming from anymore.

The flip-side of this adventure is the little panicky Kayla inside my head keeping me awake at night. Seriously, imagine a microscopic me scurrying around my brain, screaming her teeny head off. She sounds a little something like this (cue the helium induced high-pitch voice): “omg what am I going to do I’m a failure I’ll never be good enough now I need a different job this sucks I suck I’m a freaking fraud!”

Well EXCUSE me, Miss Panic Attack, who invited you to this party? You don’t even go here!

Recently, in an all-out venting, sobbing conversation with a close friend of mine, it began to dawn on me: this is an identity crisis. What I mean is, I’ve held on so tightly to a title for so long, that now that it’s not mine to hold, it’s like I’ve forgotten who I really am…who HE says I am (John 1:12, Romans 6:6, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 2:10, the list goes on and on). I’ve been believing lies and idolizing my calling.

I gotta tell you, I should have seen this one coming.

It makes total sense, if you think about it. For leaders in the church, especially those on the stage or at the pulpit, of course the enemy would try to tempt us, using our pride and insecurities to deceive us into thinking that what we really want, what will really make us happy, is for people to like us. To adore, affirm and praise us. Essentially, to worship us.

But those things do not belong to us. They belong to the Lord alone (Luke 4:8, Galatians 1:10-12). And I’ve been trying to steal that glory from him without even realizing it.

Glory-Stealer

This revelation is not a fun one, guys. In fact, it’s left me feeling pretty much like a piece of dirt. Lower than dirt, actually. How could He have ever entrusted this role to someone as selfish and insecure as I am? I deserve none of it from Him. He deserves my all, but here I’ve been keeping some of it hidden for myself, stored up for a rainy day, just in case he might actually fail me. What a lack of faith I’ve had, forgetting that we serve a good father, who loves his children and desires to give them good things (Matthew 7:9-11, Hebrews 11:6).

The root of it, I think, is fear: not that I won’t be enough, because the truth is, trying to do any of this without Him, I definitely will NOT be enough (this we know, Matthew 19:26). The real fear is that He isn’t really enough to satisfy me and give me the significance I seek.

That’s really what I’ve been longing for. Significance. I’ve fallen for the subtle lies that on a pedestal, in the spotlight, highlighting my gifts and my capabilities I will be seen as worthy of something…of love, of recognition. Significant.

Guys, this is the exact opposite of leading people in the worship of our God. This is man-centered, self-worship.

Real, authentic worship leading gets the self out of the way and makes much of Jesus (John 3:27-31). It boasts only in what makes God worthy of all the praise and adoration we are tempted to claim for ourselves (Psalm 29:2, 1 Chronicles 16:23-36). It speaks the living Word of truth and flows by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 4:24, Ephesians 5:18-20). It seeks to put prayers on people’s lips and to draw them into a moment with God that’s all about praising Him and thanking Him for who He is (Colossians 3:15-17). And it is ONLY because of Jesus—the perfect worshipper and therefore our perfect worship leader—that we are able to draw near to the Father in worship (Hebrews 4:14-5:10). Without that, and without the presence of the Holy Spirit, indwelt as a gift within the hearts of all believers (Romans 8:10-11, 1 Corinthians 6:19), our “jobs” as worship leaders are useless.

How dare we claim to be anything more than a vessel for His glory?

worship leading

All For Him

This doesn’t mean we can’t approach the throne with our brokenness or lead people in our mess. Quite the opposite, in fact. There’s something so real about recognizing our scars and our cracks and approaching God with the boldness that comes from the Gospel to worship Him still. The Gospel not only enables us but beckons us to do that (Ephesians 3:11-12, Hebrews 4:14-16, 7:18-25). The whole point of this blog is so the light can shine through the cracks in our stories. But we have to remember where our light comes from. It is a gift from God. Not from our own abilities and awesomeness. It is all from Him. And so, it should also be for Him (Romans 11:36).

As I enter this season, I’m praying to get back to that. Back to the root of why I started leading worship in the first place. Not for the approval of others or for the recognition…but because God reached down into my heart and revealed Himself to me, and called me by name, and assured me that this was how He wanted to use me to draw others near to Himself. He never promised a pay check. He never promised that it would be easy, or that I’d always be happy doing it. He simply said do it, and that He would be with me in it.

That, my friends, is enough. I haven’t always truly believed it, but that is enough.

Give It All Away

Louie Giglio once said, “Worship is simply giving God His breath back.” So what has he breathed into you? That thing he gave you to do, this life he gave you to use? It’s ALL for Him. My prayer is that you would go and use it, give it all away for the sake of proclaiming and glorifying His name. It might not look like singing on a stage on Sunday. Whether it’s your artistic talents, your incredible people skills, a love for teaching or a heart for serving others…give it all back to Him, as a pouring out of praise that shines the light—His light—to a world that desperately needs to see it.

For God’s glory,

—Kayla

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