Famous words, that hold a lot of truth, and that are easily applied to so many situations. Our relationship with God. Our relationships with people. The career paths we’ve chosen. If we only knew then! What a gift that would be!? And as such, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become true believer that hindsight can be a blessing or a curse depending on what you choose to learn from it.
So I guess in the context of song writing and worship leading, my “if I only knew then,” would be this: there’s no rush.
It’s something that’s easy to type, but far more difficult to live. And it’s something I’m still working out even today.
When I was a bit younger, I constantly lived and died with every song I wrote, and every time I led worship. It was all or nothing. And I had to lead and write like it was last service I’d ever be a part of, or the last song I’d ever write. I had to prove myself, no matter the cost, as fast as I possibly could.
Now there’s an element to that that’s actually not all that bad. I think we could all agree that leading and writing with a sense of passion and urgency is actually a really powerful thing. But as with all things in life, the spirit with which you do things, is just as (if not more) important as what you’re doing.
You see the fact of the matter is, there’s a vast difference between something being urgent and something being rushed. If urgency reveals our passion, then rushing reveals our striving. And so looking back (and if I’m honest I wish I had to look further back), I can see now how much I rushed my way through so many moments and songs. The more I rushed, the more I had to prove. And once I proved one thing, it was on to proving the next. It was a vicious cycle, with no end in sight.
But, when I look at Jesus, throughout all of scripture, he was never in a hurry, never had anything to prove. He walked to his own rhythm of grace, oftentimes to the frustration and confusion of those around him (John 11, Mark 5). He lived with urgency, but was never rushed. A concept that doesn’t compute with my maximum overdrive mind whatsoever. And yet my experience has always been that most of the gospel’s greatest lessons are hidden in the things I can’t understand at first glance. So perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned from the sacred pace of Jesus. And while I’m sure there are many, for the purposes of this blog, let’s focus on this one: rushing is about what you’re doing, urgency is about who you are becoming.
To get a bit vulnerable, I want to be a great worship leader. I want to be a great song writer. I always have. To get really vulnerable, I want to be the best. I want to be prolific. I want to write songs of influence. And to lead with authority. And to be honest, there’s nothing wrong with any of those things. I’m unapologetic about what I believe God has called me to. But the scary thing is this — it’s possible for me to get where God has called me to be without becoming who he’s called me to be. And that’s the whole ballgame. Rushing uses gifting to prove something. Urgency uses identity to become something. God doesn’t call us into a gifting, he calls us into an identity. My identity is urgent, my gifting is not. Stings to hear, huh? Well if it’s any consolation, it stings to type too.
So what do I wish I knew then? I wish I knew: there’s no rush. God is a God of process, and he’s largely unconcerned about my opinion of his pacing. There’s no amount of proving that I could do that will speed up his plans. I’ll become the best songwriter and worship leader I can be not by rushing to prove myself, but by becoming who he’s called me to be. And at the end of the day, that should really take all of the pressure off. God has called you. Appointed you. Set you apart and empowered you. And you might not have it all figured out yet, but he does, and He’s got nothing but time.
So if nothing else, please take it from me: there’s no rush.