This morning I led worship at Zion Covenant in Chambersburg, PA. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to lead there the first Sunday of the month on a pretty regular basis for some time now. The people there are like family. I love their freedom to worship and the freedom I have been given there to go where the Spirit of God leads in our times of worship.
This morning I did something I am not sure I would have had the freedom, confidence or ability to do even a year ago. I came to Zion with a list of songs. I had prayed over which ones to do for this particular service, spent time practicing them, playing them over and over and singing them, getting my heart centered on what I felt God wanted me to sing about. I was ready. Then I came into the church this morning and on one of the music stands was the chord sheet for a song that I’ve listened to over and over again for months now. This song has been one that has really hit my spirit and ministered to me. I’ve been wanting to learn it but have not taken the time yet to do so. I felt so strongly in my spirit that I was to play and lead this song this morning. My thoughts were running wild from excitement to fear. My mind was telling me that I don’t even know if I can play this, what if I try it and really mess it up. I had some time before the service started. My husband and the sound man were the only other ones there so I thought I would try it. I had the song on my iphone so did a quick listen to the song to get the timing, feel and melody fresh in my head again. I started playing it and from there it just flowed. The pastor came in while I was playing and singing it and said it sounded beautiful, this encouraged me that I was to do this song. So the first song we did this morning was “Victor’s Crown” which is written and sung by Darlene Zschech of Hillsongs.
Now to you this might not seem like a big thing, but to me it was huge. I’ve played songs for worship services before that were very new to me, but it was always with a team of other musicians who I could lean on. Playing something that you never played before when you are the only one playing is so different.
When I am getting ready to minister anywhere, be it to lead worship for a church service, or to give a concert somewhere, there are things I do to prepare. I spend time seeking Father God on what songs He wants me to do, spending time in His presence is also a very necessary part of my preparation. The other thing I do is spent a good deal of time at my keyboard, learning the newer songs, playing and singing the songs that I already know and do. What I learned this morning is that I have grown not only in my abilities, but in being more open to the Spirit’s leading. Often I can get so caught up in wanting everything to sound perfect, in not wanting to make a mistake that when I do feel the Holy Spirit leading me to move out of my comfort zone and do something I’m not as sure about, I have just stuck to what I knew and not done what I felt the Holy Spirit was leading me to do.
Now I’m not saying that as musicians we should not practice, that we can just go into a service or concert and just do whatever. NO, we still need to prepare. My regular practicing is very needed. It allows me to be able to move in the spirit more freely. It prepares me to be able to play whatever because I’m training in the physical. In the same way I am training in my spirit man. As much as I need to practice in the physical to increase my skills, I MUST ALSO PREPARE MYSELF IN THE SPIRIT! If I don’t spend time seeking God, spend time in His presence everyday, in my own private times, how I can possibly move successfully where His Spirit is leading. So what I’ve learned today is that to successfully use the skills, gifts and talents God has given me, I must prepare myself, yes, by practicing my piano and vocal skills, but it is also essential for me to be in the presence of the Father, to listen to His voice and then I can do anything He directs me to do. I can let go of my fears and insecurities and let Him play and sing through me. I feel like I saw another aspect this morning on what “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me” means in my life.
I hope this will be an encouragement to someone out there who has been preparing yourself for something, who is ready to move into doing something new but has been reluctant to step forward for fear of messing up somehow. You’ve prepared so let go of fear of failure and the need to be perfect and move forward as the Holy Spirit leads you.Sharon Hock