all things new

I suffer from stage fright. I have for as long as I can remember–well, at least back to my days of violin lessons. One of the objectives of Suzuki method is to get children used to performing by frequent recitals starting at young ages. Since I started at age 9, maybe it was already too late for me. Playing in groups was fine, quartets, great, no problem. Duets…well, uncomfortable. But solo, even with accompaniment, was difficult. As I’ve gotten older, it’s only gotten harder, probably simply because the opportunities are not as great.

This past Sunday I served on our music team at church. This is not unusual; I serve as a vocalist every 4-8 weeks. I enjoy it immensely. I love to harmonize and see myself more as a vocal instrumentalist than a song leader. I don’t think this is how our worship leader has seen me. The past few times I’ve served, he has designated that I should sing X part on X song and asked me to work out with the other female vocalist who will lead a given song. I have always practiced my part and deferred to the other female vocalist. Then came the email for last Sunday. First off, I was the only experienced female on the team. The other woman is completely new. I knew I was going to have to take more of a front seat singing.  Next, there were 3 brand new songs–lots to learn and become competent on. Then came the note attached to the brand new song, “All Things New: “Lisa, I would like you to take the lead on this song.” Bam. Bye-bye peace of mind, hello turmoil.

I applied myself to learning the new music, and Nicol Sponberg’s song especially. All Things New turned out to be an unexpected gift to my preparations. The chorus goes:

So we watch and we wait and we hope and we pray
You will come and make all things new
And we won’t be afraid as we long for the day
You will come and make all things new
Come and make all things new*

As I practiced it began to dawn on me that stage fright is not something God wants me suffer from. I certainly have a lot of responsibility in this area–I need to prepare my voice, learn the music, be able to sing my part when other voices and instruments are assaulting my ears. Then what? I need to rest in the preparations that have been made and ask God to deal with the unnecessary anxiety.

On Sunday, I warmed up my voice, listened to the new music again, drank decaffeinated tea with lemon and honey and prayed “Lord, I’ve done all I can. Please honor my preparations.” During the service, the Lord brought together how I had prepared, His truth about who I am and how pleasing my sacrifice of praise is to Him, and his gracious presence.

At the offertory, I began singing “All Things New.” After a nerve-wracking start (those first two phrases are low!), the truth of Nicol’s words connected with the Lord’s presence within me. Suddenly I had confidence–confidence made possible by my preparations, but coming from Christ’s glorious presence causing me to proclaim the truth of who he is in the offertory song.

Gracious God, thank you for making ME new today. Thank you that your mercies are new every morning. Let me continually seek the newness of your abundant life in this twisted life here on earth, even as it is perfectly manifested in heaven. Amen.

*Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/nicol-sponberg/all-things-new-lyrics/#WdvTiCzfKJALLVPi.99
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