You know, I’ve tried to be many other people at various times in my life. Somewhere along the way I guess I figured out I couldn’t be the band U2. And while I love many types of music, when I was learning to sing, my vocal teacher quickly informed me that I needed to choose people who I could follow vocally – i.e. women artists.
So I bought a bunch of CDs and I tried to learn to sing like the Greats - Evie, Whitney Houston and Amy Grant. Who wouldn’t want to sound like them, right?
But when I think about it, it isn’t only the vocal qualities of amazing women that I’ve borrowed from. Now that I think of it, I’ve learned from watching so many leaders. Just like most people my age, I’ve even worn a ¾ length black jacket like Darlene Zschech, and I’ll admit I’ve danced and yelled out "C’mon church" in tribute a couple of times.
I’ve tried to draw from the communication style of Christine Caine, hoping that I sounded as witty and direct as her. I’ve tried to be quirky like Audrey Assad, and make meaningful and honest comments between my songs. I’ve tried to read theology.
There are so many great women, and great things to say about Ce Ce Winans, Mary Mary, Leigh Nash, Natasha Bedingfield, Brooke Fraser… the list continues… Heck, if I was honest, I’ve wished at times that I was Nikki Lerner.
But I’m not. I’m me.
And that’s all I can bring this Sunday when I worship lead. So church, it’s just you and me approaching God together in hope and expectation. And look, I promise I’ll be the best me I can be. I’ve prepared my heart and I’m not hiding anything. I’ve chosen songs I think will help us get closer to understanding God’s word and ways. I’ve warmed up my voice and my heart. But I can’t be anything more than me. I think that’s all God desires from us anyways.
So, on Sunday, you can also just be you. And we’re going to worship together like we’ve never worshipped God before. Completely, utterly, truthful and abandoned. And if you’re hurting more than you can bear, feel free to kneel down and cry. If you’re full of energy and praise, you can dance. If you’re not really much of anything, you can just stand there, and ask God to find you. Because I trust that when we ask that, God does. And I’m not watching, if you know what I mean.
The thing is, every time I’ve approached worship this way, God’s presence truly comes, finding us in all senses of the word. We come truly into the presence of the One who created us, and who knows us by name. But when we’re hiding behind our masks and facades, our images and presentations, we lose the opportunity to meet, and to be truly seen, truly loved and truly found.
So I’ve decided that this weekend I’m going to worship. Who else is in?