It has been at least three blog posts since I first mentioned I was auditioning for the Gateway Central Band. Wanna know how it went? Of course you do. That's why you're here.
Well auditions didn't actually go so well. It's not that I, or anyone else, performed poorly or there was a lack of talent in the room, but some behind-the-scenes logistics and feasibility disallowed anyone to actually make the team. The same concerns, however, were the cause of the original music team leaders to step down after three weeks. Without going into any details, after a change in leadership we finally witnessed a full band this past Sunday, and after about seven years of hoping, waiting, praying, preparing, & trying I found myself on stage singing some of my favorite songs.
This was an accomplishment. This was a step in the right direction. But I want to tell you something...
It was terrible.
After so many years of singing ONLY in the car or rocking out at some random karoake parties, getting used to a microphone and sound system is not exactly easy. It was probably the worst singing I've ever done in my life while on stage. Trust me, I've watched the performance on video, and I wondered what made me think I could do this. Having heard from plenty of my friends in the aftermath, however, I sure didn't think I had done so bad. People believed I was good. The band was a success, and everyone was really into it. I got so many compliments about myself (and the band) that I almost believed I was at the wrong church. What was it that they were so into? Were they just being nice to me?
Artist Complex aside, the truth is that I do need a lot of improvement, but I wasn't cringeworthy. I know God has given me a gift, and I know it hasn't been a lie my entire life. I'm not perfect, and I will never stop progressing in this area of my life. However, if it's one thing I was encouraged about from Sunday Night, after talking with close friends about what they "really" thought of the performance, is that they noticed my passion. I did exactly what I wanted when I got on that stage: connect others to God and to engage Him in worship without worrying about the words or my voice.
There's something to be said about passion.
Because nobody's perfect.
Everyone who has ever had a gift that they've pursued always struggled at the beginning. They got it wrong sometimes. They finished last. They walked out embarrassed. No one got it. Dreams were shattered.
And yet where there's passion, God can still do something. God can still work with your failures. He can intercede in the brokenness.
This is what I felt like He was telling me. Even though I wasn't perfect, my heart was still in the right place, and that's all that matters to him.
It seems that we're always looking to be perfect. In this technological age where we have the means of seeing all types of feats, all with a simple google search, we are constantly seeing the best of what the world has to offer. We no longer compare ourselves to ourselves but to others who have mastered the craft in which we are pursuing. We strive to be so much like them that we believe that anything less is simply...bad. To make matters worse, I go to a church that takes pride in their music (perhaps too much), and they are known for having professional musicians with a knack for quality. I'll be honest, the music is the first thing I noticed about Gateway Church - it's that good - when I moved to Austin two years ago. So for me to have to get on stage and live up to that...it's a lot of pressure.
Honestly I'm not that good, and I don't know if I'll ever be, but God showed me last night that I don't have to compare myself to anyone else. He believes in something bigger than that. My passion, my heart, can make up for where I was lacking.
Don't get me wrong. There's no substitution for Talent. I'm not saying that if you want to sing on stage but you can't carry a note that your passion will make up for it. God still creates people with unique gifts and potential.
What I am saying is that whatever you ARE called to do, stop striving for perfection and strive for passion. Know that there's always room for improvement. You are always going to be working on your craft. You'll always be experimenting and finding new avenues to explore. Mastering comes with time, but you will NEVER be perfect; especially at the beginning. Your heart, why you are doing this, is the most important aspect of any gift you've been given.
Maybe I didn't do so well the first time. That's ok. Because it was never truly about me. Worship was always about giving back to God, connecting with Him, and engaging Him intentionally while encouraging others to do the same. I prayed about this before going into it, and I let all my anxieties go, turned it over to His will, and He in turn reminded me that He's going to work through me no matter how much I might screw up. (He may have even gone so far as to show others in the audience, through me, that they don't need to be amazing singers to connect with Him.)
Next time though...I'm going to kill it.