I've just come home from one of my biggest joys and biggest spiritual challenges - worship team practice.
It's a joy because I love to worship God, and I've always loved to sing. Growing up, I was that little girl in her bedroom, singing dramatically with the hairbrush, dreaming of the day when my favorite band would invite me up as a guest lead singer.
From a very early age, I sang in school choruses, church choirs and a short stint in a Christian band in the early 80s. (Our one "tour" consisted of singing in Presbyterian churches in northern Arizona and the California coast).
Yet singing has also been a source of spiritual challenge, because it's been in worship where God has revealed most of my pride issues. You see, there is always a danger when you are on a stage of any kind to start to think that you've got it all together. In fact, you can easily start to think that if only people would listen to you, things could really flow more smoothly. And that you really could (and should) be selected to sing in this program, and given that solo, and so on.
In hindsight, I can see God was starting to split open my heart and reveal my pride, when 11 years ago when we moved to Charlotte, and He clearly told me to not sing. In fact, He told me to not tell anyone I could sing. I didn't listen. I let it "slip out" one day in a Bible study, and that led to an opportunity to help lead worship at an event. The leader of that event sensed my pride issues coming to the surface, and I was "relieved" of that role with the explanation that they would be using someone on the worship team.
In spite of the embarrassment, something amazing happened when I wasn't leading worship. I learned to actually worship. When I wasn't worried about how I sounded, or hitting the right note, or singing the right words, I just relaxed and focused on God. It was in my humility that I sought God as I never had before.
It was six years before God released me to be back on the worship team. And to be honest, it is still a place where I continue to lay down my pride and submit in humility. Years ago I asked God to do whatever it took to remove pride from my life, and He is faithful. But I will confess, it is often difficult, uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing.
Like the time I was asked to sing a solo at a women's retreat, and the accompaniment CD stopped after the first verse. Just stopped. The sound team restarted it, I started singing and it stopped again. So we started again, and finally I was able to finish the song. No one could understand what happened to the CD. I just smiled because I was pretty sure I knew Who stopped the CD.
My voice has changed over the years, and I will probably never get another solo. I may be one of the oldest back up singers on the team. And I will occasionally sing a wrong word or hit a wrong note. But my hands will be raised in praise, and I'll sing at the top of my voice out of love for my Savior.
I know the day will come when I won't be on the team, and some young girl will take my place. And I will still be worshipping God, and thanking Him for not letting me stay in the place I once was.
In His Love,
P.S. If you've visited today from reading my Encouragement for Today devotion, entitled "I Would Have Made a Great Pharisee" I bid you welcome. If you haven't seen it, please hop over to the P31 site and give it a read.