Wrestling with Worship
WORDS // CATRINA RUCHALSKI
When I was younger, I wanted to be Avril Lavigne, not Amy Grant. Growing up, I loved music – listening, singing or pounding on whatever instrument I could get my hands on. However, I didn’t know what I was singing for. When I was 7 or so, I had a pastor prophesy over me; and he said that one day I would write songs of worship. That didn’t interest me very much as a kid because the songs I preferred to listen to were self-centered, rather than Christ-centered.
Songs like “This Little Light of Mine” didn’t compare to “Sk8er Boi” in my book. When I imagined singing at Church, as opposed to singing on a stage in front of millions, I just wasn’t attracted to the notion. I wanted to have fame, money and adoring fans, like the people on MTV.
It was clear from the time I picked up a guitar when I was 12 that I was supposed to be involved in worship. The whole reason that I became interested in guitar in the first place was because I saw a girl playing one in the band at church. Around every corner, signs directed me towards glorifying God through worship. For instance, a worship leader resigned at my church and there was a vacancy that I filled for a while. I enjoyed doing it, for the most part, but my heart was not in the right place.
After several attempts at getting involved in numerous worship teams, I found something always pulled me away: my selfish desire to bring glory to myself, instead of Him. I tried to convince myself a hundred times that if I became “famous,” I would use the platform to evangelize and bring others to Christ, but I don’t know how true that was. '
The truth is: I wanted people to scream my name, not His.
Each time that I quit playing on a worship team, whether it was for a legitimate reason or not, I felt a tugging on my heart that always brought me back. Whenever I wrote or recorded a song and denied God’s hand in it, my confidence was at an all-time low. I trusted in the compliments of my family and peers to be the underlying force that pushed me to create, but I always stumbled.
Here I am, 15 years later, still struggling to submit to God’s will. The difference is: now, I am trying. Because we are human, temptation to turn the spotlight onto us will always be present, but if we fix our eyes on Him, our hearts will follow.
When we (music makers) get behind a microphone on Sunday mornings, we need to do our best to forget that there are other people present. We have an audience of One. We are only tools that He is using to further His kingdom.
When we relinquish our gifts to God and his desires for our lives, I think we’ll find a renewed inspiration to create.
PHOTOS JESSICA BILLS // LETTERING SAM PALENCIA