I have been seeking to disengage the automatic thought patterns that seem to cloud my view Jesus.
I mean very simply: sometimes when I try to focus on Him I am inundated with thoughts about what people think about me – whether they approve or are pleased.
As a co-worship leader worship leader singer & songwriter I find that there is a constant battle to be fought and won in order for effective worship to take place. This battle consists of judging the success of the “worship session” by the comments or feedback of others. Simply put we are constantly battling Satan’s attempts to get us focused on others opinions.
Have you ever led worship or participated in a worship set in some capacity & felt that God really showed up – the worship was incredible – only to find that the feedback was not what you expected? Or how about the times you feel things did not go so well and yet find yourself amazed at how others respond?
There are always those special people whose opinions are weighted much heavier in mind – we all have them. I am saddened at how much mental energy and time I have spent wondering what it would take to get this person or that person’s approval. God is wooing my heart with these words “I want my opinion of you to be the most important in your mind.”
Take for instance this past Sunday leading worship with Shannon: in lieu of the sweet times I had been having with Jesus and the unity Shannon and I were experiencing in our marriage lately I was particularly excited about this time of worship together. I prayed fervently for God to use me as a vessel to glorify Himself through me and to create in me a clean heart. Well the last thing he is definitely doing.
Well wouldn’t you know that most everyone whose opinion was of high value in my mind was in the first service. Shannon decided to drop a song at the last minute and whispered it around the stage but – unfortunately – I was far away and never got the notice. I started playing the song planned then realized I was wrong jumping into the planned song (which I knew very well). But the nervousness caused by being caught off guard combined with my concerns of other’s opinions threw me off: I stumbled through the song – not playing it nearly as well as I could have. Yes this is the gentle way of saying that I made some mistakes. Shannon – knowing that I knew the song well – was quite frustrated and asked what in the world happened.
I sat quietly backstage in between service ands I said “God what happened? Shannon and I have been so in sync lately but clearly we were not on the same page on STAGE in front of a lot of people and people whose opinions really MATTER to me.”
The thought came over me: “Cyle… ask me whether I was pleased with your worship – ask me whether you ministered to my heart.” My first thought “How could you be pleased?” “Just ask me” He said. I silenced my anxious thoughts and I did just that. I was amazed at the response. Jesus began to talk to me about the condition of my heart. He told me what was pleasing to him. He showed me where my motives were off. He quietly reminded me that I had exalted certain people’s opinions and that He was doing a work in me purifying my motives. I was humbled. I walked into the second service with an abandon that was so sweet. I had already made a screw up and had nothing to prove to anyone anymore. Of course everything went well but – of course – the folk’s whose opinions I was interested in – they weren’t in that service. So I had to resolve that they would probably remember this Sunday as the Sunday I made a mistake but the Lord said “That’s Okay. Do you think – as long as someone’s opinion is an idol in your life – that I will allow you an opportunity to puff yourself up with a good performance before them ?”
“ ‘My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
God is jealous after my heart – He wants the only thing that ultimately matters when I am worshipping to be HIM.