TWLL #8: Worship Leading And Our Search For His AffirmationJun 22, 2023
read time: 5 minutes
Why am I so easily rocked when someone offers constructive criticism of my worship leading? Why am I so hoping that this prominent leader, or that gifted singer will notice my worship leading and say something great about it? Why do I find myself slipping into performance instead of worship when I’m onstage leading?
Maybe not entirely, but a lot of this has to do with my desire for affirmation. I’m looking for, even reaching for the affirmation of others. Why? Because – whether I’m fully aware of it or not – I’m trying to get at least some of my sense of value and worth from them. And I’m using my ability, gifting, and skill as a worship leader to do it.
Ouch. And the crazy part is, a lot of the time, I’m not even aware that this is what I’m doing.
Our desire to be valued is core to who we are. It’s part of how God made us. From our earliest days, we’re looking for someone to notice us, to encourage us, to tell us we did a good job. We’re waiting to hear through words and actions from others, that we are special and valuable.
And here’s the thing; God actually designed us to receive this from others to an extent. That’s why by design we’re born into families, with parents and siblings. We’re supposed to receive encouragement and get a sense of value from dad and mom, and others.
But ultimately, the cry for affirmation and the experience of being loved and valued, is found in the eternal Father. He made you, He knows you, and He is the only One Who can fully meet that need He placed in You. He’s the One who gives you your sense of value and worth. More on this in a minute.
How Our Reach For Affirmation Plays Out As Worship Leaders
In our brokenness, we often turn to people as our main source of affirmation and value- instead of the Father.
For us as worship leaders, this often shows up in the form of us using our gifting and skill to be noticed by people- especially people we look up to or admire.
The idea is that maybe this important person, or that super-gifted person, or that person with a huge platform- will notice me, notice my vocals or instrumental skill, notice my charisma when I lead, etc.
And the hope is that if they notice me, they’ll offer some kind of feedback- in the form of a compliment, a smile, or some kind of nod in my direction.
Honestly, as I mentioned earlier, I think much of the time we’re not even fully conscious that we’re doing this.
But then something brings it to our attention- the person I was hoping would notice me didn’t, and I’m suddenly feeling upset but don’t exactly know why. Or my worship set was choppy this morning, and now I’m suddenly feeling like I want to avoid my pastor.
It’s all pointing to the fact that I’m trying to get a sense of my value and worth from them, through my worship leading- though again much of it is probably subconscious on my part.
So what’s the answer to this? How do we as worship leaders find freedom from being so tied to the praise or criticism of people?
It starts with awareness. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of times we’re not even aware that we’re trying to get validation and a sense of worth from others through our leading.
As cliche as it sounds, the awareness piece really is half the battle- because once we’re aware of what’s going on, the issue loses a lot of its power. We can now identify it, recognize it in ourselves, and even sometimes start to course-correct in the moment.
Another key step to freedom, is getting a better understanding of the Father’s heart through the Word. Searching for, and then sitting in the passages that highlight His heart, His tenderness, His compassion, His kindness toward us. Meditating on these kinds of Scripture passages is like water washing over, and renewing your heart.
And then lastly- just spending time in the Father’s presence- especially time alone in His presence will really help bring freedom. Because I think that’s often where we’re going to most clearly get a deeper sense of His heart for us, and the value He sees in us.
When we take the time to get alone, and get quiet enough to realize He's already looking at us, and is just waiting for us to look back at Him- there's an exchange that takes place that's hard to put language to- but when it happens it absolutely starts to fill our need for His affirmation.
I pray that these thoughts I’ve shared today would be eye-opening, encouraging, and ultimately empowering for your heart- first as a believer and second as a worship leader. Remember, you don’t have to be tied to the praise or criticism of the people- lean into the Father’s voice and His heart for the affirmation you’re searching for.
That’s all for today. See y’all next week 🙌🏼
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