What if I don’t feel like it?

Andrew Stanley —  March 21, 2013 — 2 Comments

What If I don't Feel It

Praise the Lord.
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
~Psalm 147:1~

For those of you out there that lead worship on a regular basis, would you be with me if I said that I don’t always have that feeling of joy, excitement, and passion every time I walked onto the stage? Would you be able to relate to someone saying that there are some weeks that they would rather still be in bed, or at least more behind the scenes than in the spotlight?

For me, I find that there are lots of things that can make me feel this way.
I stayed up too late on Saturday night … I had a busy week at work … I’m not looking forward to an important meeting I have after church … I’ve had too much coffee and now I have to go to the bathroom.
Or maybe it’s because something is laying heavy on my heart. A situation or reality of life that is much bigger than an easy solution. For any one of us, it could be anything. One that I can relate to is the suffering of a family member with cancer.

How can I walk out onto stage to lead worship when thoughts of doubt, frustration, pain, or confusion are very much present on my mind and heart?


When did it all become about me?! Where does it say in the bible that we need to “feel it”? Where does it say we need to have everything sorted out in life to worship our God?

I look at Psalm 145-150 and get that impression. Life must seem pretty good for these things to happen easily …

I will praise the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
~Psalm 146:2~

Praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everythingthat has breath praise the Lord.
~Psalm 150:4-6~

But, what about the first 144 chapters of the book? That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but still. There are chapters where David is feeling like he is next to death, but all 150 chapters (with the exception of Psalm 88) end with even a small glimmer of hope.

But as for me, I trust in you.
~Psalm 55:23~

So, with all that said, the question needs to be asked – What’s your motivation for being up on stage?

If the motivation to be up there is to be seen and known by the people you’re leading then serving in a season of life like this will wreck you. You’ll burn out, get frustrated, and lose excitement for the opportunities you have.

If your motivation to be involved runs deeper than ‘being seen’, if it’s truly out of a motivation to engage in worship in community, than the feeling is different. The opportunity to lead will seem hard, but not impossible.

IMPORTANT NOTE: There will be times in life when it’s appropriate to take some time off. If that’s what’s needed, talk to your leaders and make it happen. No one will judge you for stepping away from the leadership role for the purpose of being refilled again. Not one person is immune to the ’empty tank’ syndrome.

When we do find ourselves in positions of leadership when it seems hard, before walking on stage, we must start off by reminding ourselves of what we’re about to do. We’re taking attention off of ourselves and redirecting it to the God who endured the worst suffering for our sake, the God who provides life, hope, love, comfort and protection to each of us. We’re declaring truths like, “Christ alone, Cornerstone”, “all our hope is in You”, “You are peace when my fear is crippling”, and the list continues …

Don’t these truths sound like things we need God to remind us of in times of need?

Sometimes we need to just step out onto the stage in faith, to start singing and declaring these truths in faith.  The “feelings” may come, but don’t feel like you’ve failed if they don’t.  God is calling us to be faithful, to worship Him in all things.  Not to worship Him out of a response to how we feel.

Get out there and be authentic. You’re leading a group of people who live in the same broken and hurting world as you. You’re probably not the only one struggling in that room. Don’t feel the need to be a leader that has it all sorted out, but instead, be a leader that invites others to join with you as you turn the attention away from how you’re feeling and towards the God who already knows the solution He has planned out for you!

Then, this verse takes on a whole new meaning …

Praise the Lord.
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
~Psalm 147:1~

Andrew Stanley


2 responses to What if I don’t feel like it?

  1. No one is required to be “up” all the time. That would just be fake, “wearing that volunteer smile” as Martyn Joseph writes. The Psalms are full of laments; some of the choruses reflect this longing as well. However if you know from rehearsal that the tone does not match your feelings, I would either find a replacement or honour the intent of the worship leader. It is possible to lose your voice through grief, but there is life on the other side of it.
    By the way, in general I don’t like the term “stage” as that seems too much like performance. No one on the platform is indispensable after all; God used Balaam’s ass if I recall!

    • Andrew Stanley March 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm

      I feel like the decision to step down for a Sunday doesn’t have to be a between rehearsal and Sunday morning decision. If I came out of rehearsal realizing that my feelings were not ‘matching the tone of the set’, my initial response shouldn’t be to call the leader and say that because of that, I’m not going to be able to play on Sunday. Instead, my prayer should be that the circumstances of life and times of seeking out God’s heart lead me to a place that I need to be in to serve well when I come back. I would like to think that the decision to step down should be more thoughtfully and prayerfully walked through.
      Obviously, circumstances happen and we need to be ready to make shifts at anytime, for sure.

      As for the stage term, I know what you mean, but I’m sure if you asked people who came to your service on Sunday, a very high % of people (if not everyone) would call that area that you stood on “the stage” — regardless of whether they viewed the music as a performance or not. I feel like we can use the stage in a “non-performancy” way.
      Semantics — I think we are saying the same thing.

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