THE STRUGGLE (Well…my struggle)
Lately I have been struggling with what exactly God is calling me to do. I know that I am called to make a difference in peoples’ lives – to pray for them, be there for them, lead where I can, and teach where I can. A few years ago, I felt God calling me to ministry, specifically, music ministry. So, I began praying. God answered. Over and over in different ways God confirmed his calling on my life to do ministry. So, I began praying about how I might begin preparing. I transferred schools. I changed my major. I changed my entire focus. I have learned a lot and experienced a lot.
I love what I do. I get to lead people singing every single Sunday. Why is that a big deal to me? Picture this. You watch your favorite sports team get hammered by the opposing team, but then something in the game changes. Your team makes a pivotal play. The energy begins to shift. Play after play your team begins to gain ground – making a comeback. It comes down to the last minutes of the game. Your team is losing. On defense. Your team intercepts the ball, runs it down the field, and scores. The band plays the fight song as loud as they have ever played it. Your team wins! In celebration you jump up, raise your hands, and joyfully shout.
Scripture suggests that it is totally normal to worship God in much the same way.
Psalm 98:4 says,
4 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
BUT….let’s be honest. Most of the time it seems like people seldom ever get excited about singing praises to God. I look out at the congregation hoping to see smiles, people singing, hands raised, maybe even some swaying back and forth. But mostly what I see is people with blank looks on their faces, not singing, and are ready to “get on with it.”
I pray. I prepare and plan. I schedule the musicians. I rehearse the songs. I work on smooth transitions so that the songs feel like one unit rather than a series of awkward intersections with unseen stop signs. I consider where and if a “pastoral moment” might fit in somewhere. I think through places I can pray and what I might pray so as to make connections for the congregation in regards to theme. Then, Sunday happens. I look out at the congregation while I lead them in singing and I become discouraged. Self-doubt creeps in. I begin to wonder, “What am I doing wrong?” Is all the “work” I do worth it?
I write music. from a young age I have had a strange attachment to putting words together in a poetic form. My desire is to write music that glorifies God and would encourage the church to sing praises to God. I write music in hopes that it would cause change in someone’s life to begin loving their spouse more and even more importantly, loving God more. I write music in hopes that it would create an avenue for someone to express their prayers and praises to God in ways that they feel but might not know how to express.
BUT….let’s be honest. Every time I turn around there is another worship song written by people with much more influence thus, making a much bigger impact than I could ever hope to make. Again, I begin to wonder, “Is it worth it?” I spend a significant amount of time writing songs – lyrics, music, arranging, and recording. Is it time well spent? Or should I begin pursuing other things.
These are hard questions for me because these are the things that I love to do. So, I began praying and I am continuing to pray. That God would give me wisdom and discernment. That he would give me clear vision of what to do moving forward. That if I am not called to write songs that he would reveal that to me. And That he would once again confirm my calling.