One of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:13– I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. It’s one of those feel-good verses that I return to a lot, and I have a lot of stuff with it on it (one of my wristbands, my Popsocket, my journal). My 8th grade Bible teacher (with Abeka Academy), Mr. Crockett, repeated it a lot during class. Over the course of the year, it became ingrained in my memory. It reminds me that I can do all things, that nothing is impossible because the same power that rose Jesus from the dead lives in me. I find it encouraging. Especially when I do things like I’m going to do tomorrow:
PLAYING ON THE WORSHIP TEAM AT YOUTH GROUP.
It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but I never felt that I could play ukulele well enough. It was one of my summer goals to practice until I was good enough. I didn’t think I reached that goal, yet somehow someway I’m playing on the worship team tomorrow night.
I recently read through a ton of my journal entries from earlier this year, and I came across one from March that said I wanted to play on the worship team. It said: “A girl can dream, right?” It’s amazing to be able to go back through my journal and read all of the things I wanted, all of the things I was dreaming of and praying about. And tomorrow that dream is going to come true.
I went to Pennsylvania with my youth group at the beginning of August, and over the course of the week, all the messages and discussion times and conversations I had seemed to point me toward the worship team. God made it very clear that that was what He wanted me to do–I could just feel it in my spirit. And you know what was crazy cool? I made up my mind to audition for the team in the very building where I decided to re-purpose my blog during last year’s youth retreat. That camp has become holy ground for me.
On the way home from camp, we stopped at a McDonald’s for lunch, and as my phone connected to Wi-Fi and began loading all of my emails, I saw that my mom forwarded me a message about the worship team. Audition sign-ups. I read through it, and it scared me. I was out of my comfort zone just reading the email because I felt so out of place. Have you ever felt like you were in someone else’s territory, like you didn’t belong? That’s how I felt. Music was never my area. But, obeying God’s leading, I signed up for the audition. And I practiced until my fingers just about fell off.
I took the step of faith out of the boat. I went to the audition and even though I arrived late, I performed half decently. Several weeks later, I got the email that I made the team. I was the newbie among the pros, the writer among the musicians. But I made the team.
A week or so later I got the email with the songs we’re going to be playing, and the chords on the sheets were daunting. I questioned if they were guitar chords, because they looked way beyond what I knew. When I confirmed that they were the chords I was supposed to play, it was like Satan was staring me in the face. Who do you think you are, joining the worship team? You can’t do this. You’ll never learn how to play these songs.
I cried a lot of tears that night. I was really stressed about having to learn those songs. I didn’t know what to do.
But I decided to ask someone my questions. I sent an email to someone else who plays ukulele, and she responded pretty quickly. The things that looked so foreign to me? They weren’t necessary. All I had to do was play the main chords that I saw on the sheet. After emailing her, I realized that I knew more than I thought. I could play the songs. I got upset over nothing.
I just read the book In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson (now I’m reading the sequel, Chase the Lion). It was inspired by 2 Samuel 23:20-21–“Benaiah chased a lion down into a pit. Then, despite the snow and slippery ground, he caught the lion and killed it.” My first “performance” with the worship team is tomorrow, and I’m still scared and doubting my ability to play well. But I want to be able to say “CoCo chased a lion into a pit. Then, despite her fear and underdog status, she caught the lion and killed it.”
I want to be done with fear. I told God at the beginning of the year that I wanted to dedicate 2019 to pursuing Him, and so far I’ve done several scary things. I was baptized, I got an A in a public speaking class, I kick-started the process of earning my AHG Dolley Madison Award (and hopefully the Stars & Stripes Award). Tomorrow I play on the worship team for the first time. I’m chasing lions. I’m watching my giants fall. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!
There is freedom in surrender. When you give God your life, He can and will do great and mighty things through you.
What lion is God asking you to chase?
The Lion Chaser’s Manifesto
from Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson
Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.
Run to the roar.
Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-given passions.
Go after a dream that is destined to fail
without divine intervention.
Stop pointing out problems. Become part of the solution.
Stop repeating the past. Start creating the future.
Face your fears. Fight for your dreams.
Grab opportunity by the mane and don’t let go!
Live like today is the first day and last day of your life.
Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails.
Live for the applause of nail-scarred hands.
Don’t let what’s wrong with you
keep you from worshiping what’s right with God.
Dare to fail. Dare to be different.
Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away.
Chase the lion.
Excerpt from You Can Do Hard Things YouVersion devo
by Alex and Brett Harris
“The truth, though, is that if we’re waiting until the fear and feelings of inadequacy go away, we’ll never venture outside our comfort zones. Until we take a step in spite of our fears, none of us will ever truly be able to do hard things. If we want to continue to grow and learn for the rest of our lives, we must beat these fears–not by making them go away, but by recognizing that there is something worse than discomfort, worse than the unknown, worse than failure. The worst thing is to never try at all.”