Darling, You’ve Been Sinking For A While
and I’d like to help you swim
Last night at music practice was an interesting experience. I’m all about development.. and so both Caley and Jono are singing solos on sunday night.. a great way to expand the quality and variation of what we do with music. But standing there coaching her through her nervousness and then seeing her hit gold.. it quickly came into clarity for me, that by my own doing, I’m nearly over the hill, and old skool, and boring, and remarkably average.
It’s always good to remember these humbling things.. but in giving away opportunities to shine.. i’m not necessarily the humblest of leaders, rather, these are dangerous vunerable places of potential woundedness. I’m weak and soft, and needing encouragement to keep pursuing my own gift, instead of feeling that soft and sinking feeling of seniority.
This must be the challenge of development I think. To what extent do we create or allow our own boundaries of excellence to be stretched and refined, or instead put ourselves aside. I agree with the idea that a congregation deserves the best, and it’s not that frightening me. It’s the possibility that I might not be the best.
Last week, my mother asked me if I was jealous of my sister. My youngest is training to be an opera singer, and has regular shows etc. When we were younger, she was accepted into a choir that I was rejected for. As a late teenager/early twenty-somthing it was a difficult thing to accept. Now that I am older, I’m glad that I didn’t go down the same vocal path she has. We have different styles and abilities. She’s better than I am. That’s okay. Beyond the choir, I’ve never resented what she’s done, in fact, I’ve tried to go out of my way to create opportunities to use her skills in what I do.. at Eastercamp and at church. She’s now a worship leader at St Georges and sings in a band. Things that I do. We do it differently, and she probably does a number of things better than I do.
Watching Jono learning to lead the band, and Caley singing songs that I love, and want to introduce to the congregation is both redeeming and condemning. There are costs to the personal integrity (my particular flavour and style) of my leadership. Costs that can’t be known. The best I can do is manage the transitions within the band, and manage myself.
There are limits to how we pursue musical perfection within a group that seeks to serve others, and not the music itself. That is a challenge for some coming from a strictly classical background. There are artistic clashes, stylistic challenges for classical singers having to lead pop charts. There are different vocal blends and techniques. There are challenges for guitarists learning how to voice in complimentary styles.
There is a challenge in learning how and when to lead again in this new context of dual leadership and development leadership. I instinctively believe that I can see my way through it though, to develop a well-rounded and constructive process of teamwork and team leadership here.
The hardest and uncertain task is managing myself. The niggling voice that watches out for people overstepping the boundaries, that wants to maintain a tight rein. That is trembling with insecurity, and wants to carve out a distinct path. That is the voice that needs to remember again, why I am here, and what I do. To remember what it is that I actually enjoy about this ‘worship leader’ role.. it’s not the music as much as it is the response of people to God. So that is where I must recenter myself. Lord, help me.
A Prayer For Me
Lord, I worship because You are worthy of it
I worship because it reminds me how very great You are
and how very great I am not
it helps me to keep life on a very human scale.
Lord, I lead because You have given it to me
because my ability to do this task is God-given
I remember that there are some who are younger, newer, fresher
to lead in worship, life and loving You.
Lord, I serve because You did first
because it is necessary to stay close to the ground
being down here, reminds me that those who are younger, newer, fresher
have so much to offer to my growth and worship
Teach me to lay down all that has been given
to wait with open hands for that which You daily place there
Give me all that I need to serve and love and lead
make my spotlight a private place before Your throne
lead me in the way of everlasting hope
from above me, below me and all around me
that my humanity would be small but not small-minded
and my life would swell with only Your divinity