None of this.
It was never about me.
It was never about how much I love to sing. It was never about how much I wanted to volunteer at church. It was never about how much I wanted to join the worship team.
And that's what I've had to remind myself about six thousand times today as I survived (though it feels almost barely) my first practice at church today. This isn't about me. It's about Jesus.
The devil was definitely trying to get to me. I woke up feeling good and excited. I got to church feeling good and excited. The service was incredible, the sermon really spoke to me, I sang my heart out with the music and actually knew a couple of the songs, the whole thing was just beautiful, and I was feeling good.
And then Pastor Sean dismissed the service for the meetings that were going on (the worship team plus a children's ministry meeting), and my hands pretty much immediately started sweating. And of course, I was an idiot and the first one to jump on stage when they asked for a couple of the new singers to get up there. At first, I was thinking it'd be a good idea for me to just dive right in and get into it....and then I was the first person to sing a solo.
Here's the thing. I haven't performed in front of anyone in any capacity in more than six years, since my hometown church kicked me out, when I was part of the Teen Worship band there that sometimes performed during church services. But they never made me sing a solo because they knew I wasn't comfortable with it, so basically, this was my first time ever singing on my own in front of people ever.
Yeah. That went well. Don't get me wrong, everyone there was perfectly nice, and some of the other new girls were super sweet and supportive and encouraging, so it wasn't anything they were saying or doing to make me feel bad or awkward or whatever. It was just me. It was me being my typical perfectionist self, cringing every time I missed a note, my voice shaking every time they told me to sing lead, getting frustrated when I couldn't do what they were asking me to do simply because I didn't know the song well enough (and I should've known it, which just made it more frustrating), and mostly comparing myself to the other vocalists. All I could keep thinking was that I was the worst one there, and the sweetest girl of them all sounds like a legit gospel singer/Amber Riley from Glee.
Basically, I was a hot mess internally, and apparently the other girls could see it in my face because they kept trying to make me feel better and give me tips on how to get past the nerves. It was really sweet. That's one of the many reasons I know this church is different; no one there was doing anything to make the situation harder. It was all me.
There is some good news, though. Earl and Drew, the guys leading the practice, said that everyone's pitch sounded really good for a first practice, and since they didn't take me off to the side and tell me I wasn't good enough (which the paranoid voice in my head was sure they were going to do), so if I can just get my nerves under control, I should be good to go. And I need to get them under control stat, because I could be performing Sunday, depending on the schedule they come up with. Also, at the end, that super sweet girl (the one that sounds like a gospel singer) and I ended up sharing a microphone on a song, and we found our voices actually blend really, really well together. Plus, you know, I survived, which is sometimes all you can expect when you're going full on into something that's so foreign to you. And as my sweet friend Caitie reminded me, "The Lord says make a glorious noise unto Him. Doesn't say it has to be Beyonce like. :)" (Did I mention I LOVE THAT GIRL?!)
I want to do this. And more importantly, I really and truly believe that the Lord wants me to do this. I'm doing this for Him. This is about Him. That's what matters. He'll get me through the nerves. The devil cannot win this battle. I belong to Jesus, and Jesus has already won.
This is a song that same gospel-singer-like girl was singing at practice today. I love it. And it fits.