Is it possible to remove performance from worship leading and lead worship humbly?
I wear a lot of hats in my career; probably the one I wear the most often is that of an artist—a performer. (It has sequins and a windmill on it.) I make a modest livelihood singing for people who have bought tickets to my concerts. Yes, I sing about matters of the heart and faith, but at the end of the day, a financial transaction has occurred. When I lead worship, I admit it’s difficult to take that hat off. I don’t even know if it’s totally possible.
I’m human, and I’m complex. This issue isn’t as simple as reminding myself on a Sunday morning that I’m not performing, I’m leading. I used to have a lot of guilt associated with this ever-present tug-of-war between “performance” and “leading.” Finally I came to the conclusion that being an artist who performs can be every bit as humble and God-pleasing as leading worship, if it is my call in life—what I’m designed to do and what I have a God-given passion for. Too often, self-loathing and false modesty masquerade in our hearts as humility, when in reality humility isn’t a feeling, but a posture.
When my heart is postured before God humbly in my daily life, in moments unseen by the rest of the world, humility informs and drives my other activities, from leading worship to performing a show. In my opinion, true humility is agreeing with God about who I am, nothing more and nothing less.
To lead worship humbly, rather than worry if I’m “acting humble enough”—a proud thought, since I am concerned with what people are thinking about me in that moment—I release myself from any sort of obligation to meet an external and self-imposed standard of perceived humility. I remember that humility is proven in the morning when I listen to God in the quiet of my room, and in the stillness of the night when I pour out my heart to God. It is put to the test in how I speak to my husband, how I approach the poor. If I posture my heart humbly, then freedom spills over into all of life—my marriage, my ministry, and my career, with all its facets.
When I am in agreement with God about who I am (as a Christian, this is found in my origin as a creation), and when I posture my heart humbly before him, I am free to create and perform and lead and everything in between. It is all an extension and a manifestation of who he has designed me to be.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3
Nashville-based singer/songwriter Audrey Assad has two releases The House You’re Building, and more recently Heart. Assad’s fresh sound was named among the best of 2010 from Relevant Magazine, Rhapsody.com, Gospel Music Channel online and more and was even profiled on CNN Online. For more information, go to audreyassad.com