I’ve been quiet on my social media. To be exact, I deleted my FaceBook and Instagram apps from my phone on the first day of 2017. It is in part a bid to “detox” my system from the addictions I find creeping up on me, such as that incessant checking on notifications for no really good reason, or that unexplainable urge to just want to post picture after picture when really, who cares that much about what I just ate anyway? I found myself mindlessly flipping between my FaceBook and Instagram apps whenever I’m on public transport or waiting for anything at all, and so I knew I had to cut myself off for a while. So in part all of the above, but also in part because I needed some quiet in my mind.
It’s been exactly fifteen days going cold turkey now and I must admit that except for a few sneaks into FaceBook on web to look at some pictures of events that I attended, I made a delightful discovery: I don’t miss scrolling, and I don’t miss posting, oh thank God.
Social media detox announcement aside, tonight I feel it’s time to open up a little about some thing that has been bothering me for a while. It’s about worship leading.
I’ve been worship leading for several years, and in recent months and many more to come, for reasons altogether valid and outside of my control, I am in for a long and hectic run: my worship leading schedule would have me up on one stage or another every single week and sometimes during the week too. It’s been like this for a while now and though I absolutely love leading worship and am passionate about this, entering into overdrive mode has done something (bad) to my heart. Familiarity has indeed bred contempt.
As week after week passed I found that I began to lead more out of my ability than in fresh anointing. I relied on past formulas and previous successes and did not push/press forward to bring something fresh each time I led. It became more of me and painfully less of God. I settled, I got comfortable, and then I began to die. And this isn’t new, it’s been going on for a long time. I saw it at the beginning, was reminded of it in the middle, and I’m desperate to bring this deadness of spirit to an end. In all my years of being a Christian, I would say I’m the furthest away from God now, ironically, the deeper and more involved I got in ministry.
If there is such a thing as the proverbial “dark night of the soul”, I would describe this season as the cold, dry winter of my ministry journey. I wrote a snippet of a song last night in an effort to convey to the Lord how empty I felt about leading worship, all too often.
To Sing Again
Standing on this platform
Such a familiar place
Watching eyes are waiting
For me to start again
But I’m a little tired
Just a little exhausted
I wonder if they really know
What’s going on inside of me
And here in the silent moments
While everything’s still quiet
Here, where it’s just you and me
I start to wonder why
Why is this road so long and winding
Why are the days so hard and tiring
What does it take to get a grip
And why is it so hard to break free
Why does everyone want a piece of me
When is it safe to just be me
Why do these tears never seem to end
And why’s it so hard to sing again
The words convey a glimpse of the condition of my heart that I wanted to share. I believe that as I bring it to light, I can’t hide in the shadows anymore and let the dis-ease fester. Rest assured though… it’s not the case that each time I get on stage to lead worship I “fake it till I make it.” It’s all still authentic.
But I know that I know that I know… that deep down, I’m increasingly drained each time, it gets harder to stand on stage and lead again each time, I’m leading from deficit, and I no longer know how to draw from the well that is God’s strength and joy.
I said it to the congregation this morning and I’ll repeat it to myself: I can’t do life without God and I don’t want to do life without God. Apart from Him, I can do nothing.
I’m praying and pressing in for a breakthrough in this winter. Pray with me. And even as I walk through winter, I pray that I learn of the tenderness and nearness of God, of how He holds my heart even in its fragments, how He waits patiently with open arms to embrace me in my failures and weaknesses, and how He leads me to tarry, to endure, to learn that He carries my burdens and truly cares for me. Trees in winter look bare and snow-laden, but they still make for a beautiful sight.