I had an RA meeting and got to Crusade late. I ran up on stage, did a quick mic check, and we started practicing. It was gross. I was not feeling it and I got really self-conscious of my voice. My friend Peter came up to the stage and said "Stephanie, stop worrying about it," gave me a hand hug and a smile, and walked away. So I tried really hard not to worry about it but the rest of practice went the same way, bad. Then somewhere between my Dr. Pepper and pizza I was over it. I am so sick of worrying about my voice, so sick of caring about what I sound like, and so tired of not really worshiping God. So I told God that I was over it and I needed him to help me. I wanted to give Him the glory and I wanted to hang out with Him during worship. I had no idea He would answer so quickly (once again I underestimated Him).
We prayed as a team and went on stage. We intro-ed with a Snow Patrol song (legit!) and it didn't take long for me to be swept up in God's glory and in his overwhelming love. I didn't give a second thought to my singing other then subconsciously making sure I was singing on tune and I was instantly one-on-one with Jesus. He met me tonight and I can't begin to describe what that felt like. I was dancing (still somewhat subdued dancing though), had my arms fully raised (which I normally am super self-conscious about), and was singing TO God. Not singing to the audience or the band but to my Creator and Redeemer. I got choked up on "Give Us Clean Hands" (lyrics below) and I couldn't stop smiling the whole time we were singing.
I got nervous and felt sick during the message because well, that is what I should feel like. If I feel inadequate and nervous I allow God to fill in the gaps and lead me to him. It is when I am cocky and self assured that I worship myself. When we were done with the last set I couldn't contain my joy and excitement and I was smiling, jumping up and down, clapping my hands, and saying "that was awesome!" There was no containing me. =) Some of the guys chalked it up to the caffeine in my soda but it was so much more (besides I consume gallons of Dr. Pepper... it doesn't affect me anymore)! I was worshiping God, bowed at his throne and he blessed me. He blessed me with intimacy, with passion, with love for him and for music. It wasn't a performance. It wasn't worship of myself or of my voice. He used my voice for himself and that is why I am up there in the first place!
It even blessed others and lead them to worship as well! I never expected that... I am always desiring compliments on my voice and how good I sound and what not. But tonight people were telling me that they could tell I was worshiping God and that I wasn't focused on anything else. They said they were blessed by my freedom to worship God and they in turn felt more free to worship him. People said some of the songs really spoke to them and one friend said "Amazing Cause It Is" almost made her cry. The best part? None of it was because of me!!! This was all God! These were the best compliments anyone could give me because they were ultimately a reflection of God that He shows up and meets us here. That he desires for us to draw near to him and praise his name.
This is what WORSHIP is! It is not about the music. It is not about hitting the right notes. And it is definitely not about ourselves. And when it is real worship it is an unforgettable experience!
Give Us Clean Hands
"we bow our hearts.
we bend our knees.
oh Spirit come make us humble!
we turn our eyes,
from evil things.
oh Lord we cast down our idols!
give us clean hands.
give us pure hearts.
let us not lift our souls to another.
and God let us be,
a generation that seeks.
seeks your face,
Oh God of Jacob!"