Boy, am I tired or what . . . I just finished a Men’s retreat for one of the local churches down here in Georgia. I am just plain old weary. We have been moving since they got here at 8:00 Friday night. I am finally sitting down to rest.
We pushed these guys. We pushed them to the max. I am betting that they are going to fall like a rock right when they reach their room. I think I pushed myself to the max as well. There were some incredible things that happened over the weekend. Not only with the men who came but also in my own heart.
I lead worship for the weekend. It isn’t anything new for me. I had done it plenty of times before. I will admit, I don’t have the best voice nor the best guitar skills. But I can usually stumble through some songs. Many times, preparing is a very stressful thing. I get really antsy and feel a ton of pressure not to be a god musician but to be a good leader. I have never felt at home in that position. It might be the pressure, the preparation, or the skills involved but I had never completely accepted the role.
This weekend was different. I prepared as I usually did, I prayed into the songs like I normally do, I practiced, I put together different combinations, I prepared my heart. All these things happened. My voice cracked on a number of occasions, I was flat and sharp quite a few times, I lost my voice, I messed up playing. Like normal, all these things happened as well. . . . Something was different though. I felt free. I felt that it was not me leading. I am not talking about any of the singing. That was all the same. It was the leadership that had changed. There was a new one. There was a new leader and it wasn’t me.
God had taken over this weekend. I think that he lead these men in a completely new way than the one that I had been used too. When I allowed him to take over, I was more at peace with going deeper. I began to look at praise and worship from the eyes of one of these guys and realized how uncomfortable it can be. How difficult it can be to express ourselves with our body and our voices. I realized that I not only had to walk them through HOW to praise, but also walk myself through the how’s of praise and worship. It is something that I have only experienced once before. It was at a St. Tim’s mass with Matt Maher. Before Mass, he took some time during one of the songs to just teach the community HOW to praise. He taught us that there were several things that we could to that could help us to praise and worship in a better and more comfortable way.
It was a view that I had never taken before. I think it was because I was so caught up in the music, in my voice, in my guitar, in the sound. I was too caught up in myself and how I could be better. Not the community and not about making this experience a WORTHY one. I thought that since it was praise and worship, everyone would just naturally like it!
Throughout the weekend I tried to completely break down praise and worship for them. I offered up ways that would allow us as men to be in a room full of people and yet still praise with open hearts. I attempted to instruct them on how to do it. I took them on a step by step tutorial of praise. We had some of the best praise and worship I have ever experienced!
I say tried and attempted because, obviously, it was something that I was unused to teaching. I probably failed in a million ways, but it was amazing. It was amazing because I learned SO much. I learned so much about giving up my worship to Christ and letting him lead me. I am not in some fantasy world and believe that the guys were completely changed because of the praise and worship. There were so many better things on the retreat. BUT, I do know that it has changed me a little.
I miss you all and have been praying. I am sending out a newsletter through the mail so if you would like one and I do not have your address, let me know. My email is [email protected]