I took a break. I took a break from the band. I took a break from leading worship. It was for different reasons than what I now realize I actually needed a break from. My pregnancy gave me an excuse to take a break because I was tired. But I didn’t know what I was tired from. I thought it was just drama and the sometimes thankless job of the indie musician.

But that wasn’t it at all. I needed a break from me.

I stepped down from leading worship four years ago. [blockquote align=”right”]I needed a break from me.[/blockquote] Over that time God has done an incredible work in my soul. I never realized I was doing it so wrong. So unauthentically. But I was. I was leading worship for the accolades, for the recognition. It was, shamefully, a bit of a competition for me. I was used to hearing people say, “You’re such a good singer! That was incredible! I was really moved.” I bought that and took it to heart. I believed my own hype. And it swallowed me up deep into its belly. The belly of pride. And I stewed in it for a long time.

But God, in His infinite wisdom, knew not to take it all away from me. He knew that I would just become a “victim” and blame someone or something for my misfortunes if that happened. Instead he let me get burned out and step away on my own terms. Then and only then did I realize that I was the culprit. I was the problem.

During my sabbatical I joined a church that I fell in love with. I found my favorite worship leader there. This incredibly talented person is someone whom I would never listen to outside of the context of worship. I don’t like their voice. I don’t like their style. I would never do it the way they do it. And irony of ironies, I find that I worship more authentically when they lead than anyone else who could lead me. I am moved to tears with every word out of this person’s mouth. This blows my mind. I thought worship would be better if the leader was the best. I thought worship would be more effective if the leader was exactly my style – edgy, current, whatever. As if worship is just another episode of American Idol where the best will rise above the rest. How wrong I was!

It’s all so trite when I read it back now, but folks I’m sad to say that’s where I was. That’s where my mind went when I led worship. And thank God I got sick of myself.

Tonight I step back on that stage to lead worship again. I don’t feel prepared. I don’t have that signature “I got this” attitude I always had before. I don’t think, “just wait ’til they hear me.” I am hesitant at best. I don’t know what to expect. But I know that all I hear God say to me is, “Just worship up there. Let them in on your personal time with me.” So that’s exactly what I plan to do. Get out of the way. Let God be God. I’m just going to sing to him. No frills. No “can do” attitude. No “come and see how awesome I am” pride. Just me and Jesus. Pickin’ and grinnin’ (as my dad would say).

And perhaps, that’s exactly as it should be.

[blockquote align=”left”]Pride first, then the crash, but humility is precursor to honor. ~Proverbs 18:12[/blockquote]

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