When You're Tired Of Leading Worship
Your heart isn't in it.
You've rehearsed with your team. Confirmed the service elements. Dialed in the Lyrics. Everyone else seems to be ready except you. It's time to sing but you don't want to open your mouth. It's time to praise but there's no strength to lift your hands.
Have you been there? Are you there now? Sundays are relentless. Sometimes they feel more like a wave slamming you onto the rocks than a stream refreshing your soul. You once brimmed with enthusiasm. Now your roar of praise has dwindled to a faint whisper.
So what do you do? How do you respond in moments of weariness and doubt?
Embrace The Sacrifice
Worship is singing. Worship is enjoying the Presence of God. Worship is growing in our knowledge of Him. And worship is sacrifice. Perhaps above anything - worship is sacrifice.
When we worship someone or something we express our love and devotion. And sacrifice is the purest expression of love. "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."
Sacrificial love forgives the friend who hurt you.
Sacrificial love feeds the baby at 3am.
Sacrificial love gives to a family in need when you yourself are hardly getting by.
And Sacrificial love sings to the Lord even when it's hard.
Embracing the sacrifice means you don't have to feel like worshiping God in order to worship Him. In fact, the worship we give in moments of pain or fatigue or distress may be a sweeter song in God's ear than the worship of a sunny day.
Cultivate the Wonder
My wife is a big Carrie Underwood fan. After 9 years of marriage and plenty of playlist saturated road trips, I've been converted. A few years ago we went to our first Carrie Underwood Concert. Floor Seats. 10 rows back. Perfect.
The concert was incredible. The performances boomed, the lights dazzled, and the stage unfolded like a transformer. Over the next few weeks, I told anyone who would listen about this spectacular live experience.
When we cultivate our wonder of God the rush of enthusiasm in unavoidable. When we catch a glimpse of the glory and grace and grandeur of God we won't be able to help but gush about Him to anyone who will listen.
Thoughtful Scripture reading. Listening in prayer. Conversations with mature believers. Moments of stillness. These things cultivate our wonder. It's amazing how quickly the searing sun of daily life dries up the river of our wonder. But it happens to all of us - and fast.
If leading worship feels dry and labored it may be time to cultivate the wonder.
In the Fall of 2018 my wife and I were devastated. We lost our first pregnancy.
I numbly felt my way through my weekly tasks. Planning services, leading worship and embracing the sacrifice. In a quiet, desperate moment of prayer, the Lord confirmed what was already in the back of my mind. I was genuinely not in a place to lead others in worship.
By now you know that leading while weary is normal. We all go through it at some point. 9 times out of 10 I would tell you to press on. To embrace the sacrifice and cultivate the wonder. But there are very real moments when you need to step back.
Leaders don't want to step back. We feel ashamed. We feel weak. We don't want to disappoint others. It was very hard for me to request taking two Sundays off but I did. And it was the right thing to do.
If no one has told you before let me officially say - it's okay to step back. After earnest prayer and wise counsel - it's okay to step back. To protect you and your family and your future fruitfulness - it's okay to step back.
On the sixth day, God created man. On the seventh day, God rested.
All at once Adam drew his first breath. He entered his first full day filled with life and strength and consciousness. What did he do? He rested too.
We must rest forward. When we have energy and eagerness and passion it's time to rest. It's time to prepare for the season of diligent work ahead.
If you wait until you're drained, despondent, and disappointed it's too late. The damage is done. It’s possible to rest to recover - but it'll take time.
A wise leader recognizes the rhythms God designed for rest and work.
Where Are You?
Friend, I don't know where you're at today. For some, it's time to embrace the sacrifice. Others need to cultivate the wonder. A few of you need to step back and a few of you need to rest forward.
I can make you a promise. You will have moments of weary labor. Partnering with God in His Kingdom work is a big job. But God Himself also made a promise. If we come to Him in our weary state He will give us rest.
Come before your God today. Draw near to Him. Allow Him to restore your tired soul.