May 13, 2013

Firsthand Experience | Day 26

Learning To Rely On The Lord

Scripture to meditate on: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

The following is an excerpt from Firsthand: Ditching Secondhand Religion for a Faith of Your Own by Ryan and Josh Shook.

For a few months now, my friends and I (Josh) have been flying in from Nashville one weekend a month to lead worship at Woodlands Church, and it has forced me to rely on the Lord in ways I did not have to previously.

Before leading worship, I had been living in Nashville and had been writing and playing music without overt references to the Lord or a church setting. Frankly, I liked it. For me, it was a way of coming out from my parents’ shadow. So I felt as if going back to my home church to lead worship would be a failure, saying that the music thing hadn’t worked out for me and now I would just move back in with my parents and sing in church.

But responding to the divine disturbance the Lord placed on my heart regarding worship music has forced me to find my identity in Christ, not in the style or subject of the music I play. Confronting my insecurities about playing in church, because of how I felt about worship music and how I wanted others to view me, has been liberating because I have experienced how the Lord uses us when we simply respond to Him.

The incredible response we have received from playing once a month, and the conversations I have had with people after the services (mainly regarding the honesty in our songs and our testimony), have convinced me that God is using our small contribution to Woodlands Church to do some pretty cool things in people’s lives. And that is incredibly rewarding and validating. Even better, it has become so much easier to acknowledge the Lord’s role in what we are doing because I am constantly confronting my own insecurities and shortcomings and learning how to deal with them through His Word. It is beautiful to experience, even in small ways, how God makes His strength perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

I still struggle every month and pray, “God, I’ve got nothing to write or sing about. What are we going to do?” But I am learning that anxiety is healthy, because when I recognize my imperfection, I look for inspiration from the Lord. The great artist Picasso said, “Inspiration exists. It just has to find us working.” I love that quote because I am so lazy, but it really does apply to our relationship with the Lord.

I always pray for God to move and inspire me or solve my problems, but I hardly ever put forth the effort to pursue Him. I am discovering that responding to the divine disturbances God places on my heart forces me to search Him out. In my case, having a monthly deadline has actually been very freeing and has brought me closer to the Lord, not because I am leading worship in church, but because the deadlines force me to sit down and spend time with Him. That is a good thing, because church is pretty useless if the people who plan it are not actively seeking God’s will. In the process of trying to be obedient, I grow closer to the Lord.