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How I Finally Learned It Wasn't All About Me

I was 23 when I packed everything I owned into 5 suitcases, got on a plane by myself and moved to South Africa to be the Worship & Production lead at a church plant. I felt overwhelmed, under-qualified, and a MASSIVE need to prove that I deserved to be on this team of incredible church planters.

Fast forward to about one year in, and I was not doing well. We had just had a worship night where none of the worship team were available to serve, we lost power to the building, and the night petered out to an awkward end. To me, that night felt like the culmination of all my failures over the previous year. I played the blame game, wanting to make anyone but myself responsible, but at the end of the day, what I felt was the ominous sense that my best would NEVER be good enough.

Through some pretty tough and frank conversations with my pastor and a looot of prayer, I came to realize several things.

In my pursuit of perfection and fear of failure, I had become an island. I wasn't able to work well with others because I viewed everything and everyone as a threat.

Allowing others to have a role felt so out of control. What if they messed something up? What if they did something that reflected badly on me? I had become so defensive that I had lost the ability to benefit from the different perspectives of my teammates. When others put ideas forward that differed from my own, I saw it as an attack on my ideas. It felt like everyone was constantly telling me, "You're wrong. You're not needed. You don't belong here."

All of this was an inner dialogue I had created over months and months. Then comes the crazy part. What God showed me next wasn't that the truth was the opposite of those feelings, it was totally different.

The truth I needed to learn wasn't that I actually did deserve to be there. It wasn't that I was right and needed to trust myself. It wasn't that I was needed. The truth was that it wasn't about me at all.

With that realization came a big shift in my mental attitude. I was no longer spending the 30 minutes before rehearsal running around, stressed out trying to make sure everything was ready and perfect. Instead, I was able to stop and spend time talking and laughing with my teammates. Suddenly I wasn't driven by a fear of looking inadequate. I knew that this season in my life was a gift; that God was allowing me to participate in something wonderful not because of my abilities, but simply because he loves me.

I was able to learn from my pastor, who turned out to be one of the greatest mentors I've ever had, because I wasn't so terrified of him thinking i didn't belong there. I was able to benefit from the incredible experience and personalities of my teammates. These were incredible gifts from God that I almost missed out on because I was so consumed with people's perception of me.

As creatives, we have to fight this trap of the enemy with everything we have. We have to run from pride like our hair is on fire and pursue true & Godly humility with everything we have.

This is still a struggle for me. In fact, it's one of the reasons I left what I was doing to start Elevate. Working with excellence and being confident in where God's placed you are good things. However, when the pursuit of excellence damages relationships and your confidence becomes rooted in your own skills, talents and abilities, you're going down a

road of hurt, burnout and isolation.

I am SO grateful for that moment of absolute failure, because it made me realize it's not about me. I wouldn't be breathing, let alone creating, without the creator choosing to give me life.

The reality is we are owed NOTHING. But God chooses to include us in his incredible plans anyways.

God doesn't NEED our design abilities. Our churches don't NEED our skills to reach the lost. I don't say this to make us feel like crap about ourselves. Instead, it should free us from the pressure, expectations and burden of feeding our self-image. We can live in God's grace, creating and doing all that he has for us freely. That sounds way more fun to me!

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