I wonder how many worship leaders or band members have thought about this. When we lead worship, we are not entitled to our own personal moments of intimacy with God. As leaders, it is our responsibility to draw our congregation into worship. We are guiding these people into worship, and if we are so caught up in our own personal worship while we're leading, we can leave others behind and they can lose that intimacy. Leading worship is a sacrifice; sometimes we need to give up our own intense worship of our Creator in order to draw others into that same intimacy that we seek.
I know, kind of a deep way to start a blog post. But that has been on my mind for the past week, and it's something I've had a chance to talk to Rachel and Joellyn about. Last week was Lake Ann's first week of campers, and HeartSong began our 6-chapels-a-day routine, leading morning and evening worship for three different age groups. After a couple of days, we felt worn down spiritually, and we talked about how strange it is to lead worship when we feel so tired. We don't want to be fake and raise our hands if we aren't moved to, but at the same time if we don't look engaged in worship, we can't draw others into worship either. But it is possible to give glory to God even if we don't necessarily mean what we sing with all of our hearts in that moment. If we are guiding these campers into intimate worship, we are still bringing glory to God.
On a personal level, I have found that when I play the piano with HeartSong or any church band, I can't worship in the same way I do when I'm in the congregation. Either I am thinking too hard about the music to think about the words, or I'm thinking too hard about the words and completely botch the music. Helping to lead worship by playing piano is always a sacrifice for me; my heart is never fully engaged in the way I'd like it to be. But this is what it means to be a servant, isn't it? I am giving up something I want for the sake of someone else getting what they need. By sacrificing my personal worship through music, I am able to give these campers and counselors a chance for personal, intimate worship. At Camp Carl I learned about having a servant's heart by washing dishes instead of having fun at the Rodeo, giving up something I wanted so someone else (the kitchen crew) could get something they needed. I am discovering that I can fully apply what I learned there here at Lake Ann, but instead of a fun Rodeo, I'm giving up personal worship so that all these spiritually hungry campers and counselors can be filled to overflowing through their awe and worship of the Savior.
Some might be shocked after reading this. "What?? Does this mean Deanna isn't worshipping God any more??" Of course this isn't true. But I am worshipping Him in a different way, a way I have always wanted to worship Him but have never developed a habit to: through daily time with God in his word. I have never been consistently intentional about opening my Bible and soaking in His word on a daily basis. In giving up my personal worship through song, I need to be filled by God in another way, through personal worship in His word. As I've been reading through the Gospels in the mornings, I have begun to find spiritual strength to carry me through the day. When I am filled up by Him, He is able to use me to pour out His love on others.
Being a member of HeartSong is difficult. I am having to give up a lot of what I am used to, a lot of what makes me comfortable. I was reminded the other day of my post from last September called "Stretching," and as much as I've grown in the past year, I am still not done being stretched and molded by Him. I am praying that I can face this new phase of stretching with joy, knowing that God will use it to form me into the person He wants me to be. Step 1: offering my body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, because this is my spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1).