Dependence on Christ

As the band started playing, I stepped forward on the stage and started my communion solo.

“How deep the Father’s love for us, How vast beyond all measure.”

Verses filled with such depth of truth.

“That He should give His only Son and make a wretch His treasure.”

The front is a privileged spot from which to minister because I can view members bowed in worshipful contemplation as they prepare to take the cup.

“How great the pain of searing loss. The Father turns His face away . . .”

I closed my eyes and worshiped while I sang. I can do that more earnestly because I’m not focused on trying to remember the words. I know that when I glance up, the “confidence monitor” (a.k.a. teleprompter) on the stage will give me the phrases I don’t have solidified.

As I sang the next stanza from the monitor, I realized the words were wrong. Nothing that came out of my mouth matched the band. My mind shut down. I stumbled to vocalize, the microphone shook, my stomach lurched, and I scrambled to save the song. The person running the confidence monitor tried to correct it, but slides were flipflopping back and forth, all of which was obvious to the thousands in the audience.

I’ve sung this hymn many times, but attempting to retrieve the correct words, while others are in front of you, is similar to the kids’ challenge of patting your head and rubbing your tummy.

sound board

I don’t know how I finished the song. It’s still a blur. I scurried back to our “green room” trying not to cry. I was completely rattled, and honestly, I don’t rattle easily. I sat with my head in my hands trying to breathe deeply and settle my soul. Nausea settled. I was humiliated. The thought of having to go back out and lead worship for another service did me in.

It was the first time in years, I remember wanting to just walk away.

The rest of the band joined me. They tried to assure me that it wasn’t my fault; it would have thrown the best of musicians.

We discussed our hard balance. As a musician, we want to offer the Lord our best. Our church isn’t about perfection. We balance truth and grace in beautifully profound ways, but as a large church, we are well-rehearsed, so while the music isn’t “perfect,” it’s nearly always flawless.

My solo screamed huge, flawed imperfection.

The bass guitarist added in jest, “Yep, Jen, my prayer is that my playing will lead them through a sweet time of worship and not be a distraction.”

I nearly threw my snacks at him, “Thanks a lot. I was a huge distraction. I’m envisioning wafers and grape juice spilled throughout the sanctuary. I think the Lord allowed that to happen so that a lot of other people can feel that much better about themselves.”

We laughed and the mood lightened. In my heart, I knew it was a first-world problem.

I know this isn’t about me, Lord. What can I learn? I’m making this about me.

I felt five, kicking and screaming. Please don’t make me go back out there.

It was that time again. I was still rattled, but I sang. I worshiped. The house lights faded as I finished. The confidence monitor had done its job.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 4.16.32 PM

The song flowed perfectly, yet as tears streamed down my face, it wasn’t from humiliation, but rather heart stirring conviction.

You see, I started the third stanza and began to belt;

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Yes, Lord! This is what it’s about.

In what had I placed my trust, my confidence? Ironically, I placed my dependance on a confidence monitor.

The harder I tried, the worse it got. The harder the man in the booth attempted to correct his mistake, the worse the outcome. Trying harder didn’t work.

Doesn’t that mimic our relationship with God? We fall into a jaded “try hard Christianity” and place our confidence in temporal, fleeting things. Our confidence doesn’t come from our abilities or wealth or accomplishing an impressive to do list, nor does our dependence upon God come from a hierarchy of Christian activities that elevate our relationship with Him.

Ultimate confidence comes from a complete abandon to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our dependence must be on Him — the only reliable source that will not disappoint or fail.

Rattled

Donald Baillie says:

“Jesus lived His life in complete dependence upon God, as we all ought to live our lives. But such dependence does not destroy human personality. Man is never so truly and fully personal as when he is living in complete dependence upon God. This is how personality comes into its own. This is humanity at its most personal.”
Yes, Lord. Draw me ever nearer to a dependence on You — the One and Only.

As our Sunday service ended, I placed my microphone back on its stand and then took a picture to mark where my spirit unraveled.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” {Galatians 2:20}
Appropriately, the confidence monitor was black.

We all have a “confidence monitor” in our lives — that situation, person, or stumbling block that makes it difficult to transfer complete dependence to Him. If you want to name it in the comments, I’ll pray for you as we wrestle through this unleashing together.

I first shared this over at (in)courage when comments have been left.

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