A few years on and I was in high school facing many problems and struggles. Although I’d grown up in a Christian home with an amazing family, I struggled deeply with my identity. I was wrestling with depression, my sexual orientation, and the feeling that I wasn’t loved or valued.
So, as any teenager would do, I began seeking out affirmation, love, value and my identity in many different ways. Late one night, I was out for a run and desperately crying out to God asking where He was in all these struggles. He answered me and said “I haven’t abandoned you, but you’ve abandoned Me. You’ve made a god out of your struggle and your addiction to status and a sense of “cool”, if you want to be close to Me again, you need to surrender those things”
As you can imagine, this was a harsh word to hear and I grappled with it for days. However, I told God that I would give these things up in order to know Him better.
A couple of nights later, I was out for a late night run, when God spoke into the core of my being and birthed within me this idea of “The Worship Project”.
I’ve always known the call of God upon my life. When I think back to my early childhood, I knew I was called by God and set apart for something different. He spoke to my heart telling me to be a worship leader, and I’d always felt a deep love and connection with songs of praise and worship.
Up until about a year ago, I thought worship was defined by me attending church and singing songs on a Sunday morning, and to offer my worship in “spirit and truth” was to really “lift my hands” on Sunday, wave a flag or two, maybe even sing songs during the week.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am in love with using music to glorify God and I truly believe that music is one of the strongest ways that we can communicate both our love to God and experience His love for us. HOWEVER, for ME - I’d got to the end of my tether with church “worship times” and I was wondering why I felt so far from Jesus in my “so-called spirit and truth” worship moments. It’s because MY spirit and truth worship was actually not found in singing songs, but rather in my creativity in design and photography.
You see, as I’ve come to know the Lord more, He’s so loving shown me that for me to offer worship to the Lord in “spirit and truth”, I needed to stop taking up and wearing the “mask” of what common theology said “worship” was - MUSIC and SONG.
Worship and music & song are not interchangeable words. Music is an expression of worship, but it’s not worship in it’s entirety, nor is it even THE most powerful or everyone’s most truthful way of offering our worship.
God released me into seeing that He has made me the way I am, with my passion, gifting and love for creative visual art - and that in this, I can worship Him through my art.
I committed to give God one year of my life (a year of total surrender and authentic worship), and I embarked on a 365 project. I decided to take worship songs and lyrics and create typographic posters in response to them – one poster each day, uploaded to a Tumblr blog for 365 days.
I felt strongly from the Lord that I was to do this completely anonymously, as it was fame and identity that I was struggling with the most and in doing this, I couldn’t claim any credit or glory from it – this was my Spirit and Truth worship.
I finished this project about 3 months ago and what a journey it’s been! I’ve learned that through everything God is faithful. He doesn’t give us dreams and leave us unfulfilled in fact, the Scripture says in Philippians 1:6 “He who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
The dream that God placed in my heart as a young child of being a worship leader was correct - even though it didn’t work out how I thought it would - or how MOST of the modern church’s theology thinks it should look. God kept His promises and he has chosen me to be a worship leader through visual and creative art.
Through this blog, I am quite literally leading the world in worship. People email me every day from across the globe with story after story of how this different approach to worship has stopped them from committing suicide, helped them break depression, brought families back together and in turn liberated hundreds of other people to discover their most sincere form of worship through similar “spin-off” projects.
I really pray that through reading my testimony and seeing my art, you would be inspired to discover (or re-discover) your first love; Jesus. To fall so in love with Him again. To let HIM begin to place or awaken desires within your heart that might have died or that you didn’t know you could offer as worship to the Lord.
I pray that you are also challenged to humbly surrender parts of your life that you’ve held tight, so that in that place of surrender God can fill you with His desires, His plans and His creative inspiration, that HE may be glorified and HIS name made famous.
So whether the Lord has gifted you and called you to worship Him through song, music, poetry, dance, art, baking, spoken word, pottery, teaching or evangelism etc - I encourage you to EARNESTLY SEEK THE LORD and ask for HIS direction for your life.
I knew God’s call, and I tried everything to be a worship leader. From singing lessons to learning 3 different instruments and singing in choirs, but every time I tried I fell flat and I just knew it wasn’t right. I thought if I could be the next Darlene Zschech or Brian and Jenn Johnson, that that’s how the Lord would use me to lead worship.
And some of you are doing the same thing. You know you are called to be a worship leader, but just like I did, you’re pursuing it in the wrong avenues. You’re trying desperately to subdue the other creative outlets in your heart in order to be the next Joel Houston or the next Taya Smith, when what the Lord is really wanting is your heart, completely surrendered, completely devoted to Him.
He’s looking for those who will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.
Jesus wants a heart of worship. Which isn’t always a heart of music or song, if that’s not what He’s calling you to. If this resounds with you, don’t feel discouraged - rather be excited!!
The Lord is looking for people to be taking Jesus to the streets, doing things in new ways, in places that sometimes worship songs can’t go, and in ways that we haven’t previously done “worship”.
Imagine - a generation rising up, boldly standing and claiming those gifts that God has placed in their hearts and using them to glorify Him and make Him famous. A generation not looking to be “cookie cutter”, but boldly going where previous generations haven’t and paving a new way ahead for those to follow in.
Please get in touch and let me know how you’re leading your world in worship!
I’d love to see what God’s doing in your corner of the globe!