Confidence Unshaken is a guest post written by Sarah Hart. Sarah is wrapping up her most recent album, Above Earth’s Lamentation (releasing in September), her eighth album as a solo artist. This collection of songs, captured with Nashville producer Paul Moak, comes during a fruitful songwriting season for Hart. Amy Grant, Celtic Woman, Matt Maher, Jason Crabb and The Newsboys are among those who’ve recently recorded her songs, and Grant’s recording of “Better Than a Hallelujah” (for 2010’s Somewhere Down the Road) earned Hart a Best Gospel Song Grammy nomination in 2010. She has also had several song placements in film and television, and her songs appear in hymnals all across the world.
For the Lord will be your confidence. – Proverbs 3:26
Summer of 1985: I brooded, in all my teenage glory, on my front porch on Maple Street around midnight. Bonding with my Scorpions cassette, “Rock You Like A Hurricane” on constant rewind. I had less confidence than a sandwich, was moody and sullen, restless leaning toward reckless. Oozing dissatisfaction. Going through the motions of living, waiting and waiting and waiting. Thinking to myself, “God, I hate this town and I want out. I’ll get out. Nothing good ever happens in this place; why the heck did you plant me here? I want more.”
I did, eventually, leave that little town (which now, most days, I want to go back to!). I’ve been blessed to spend these 20 years now traveling, and meeting so many gifted music ministers all across the country who are doing the work of the church; which is quite hard and often impossible, thankless work. I’m inspired by the talent, the time, the selflessness that I see; the deep desire and beautiful ability to bring the hearts of worshippers to a different level with just the offering of a song. Many times, I see the joy poured out with every note. But also many times, I see the hurt on some of those musicians faces; “I am so tired. Are they even listening? My confidence is shaken. I really want more. God, please, is this it? Why did you plant me here? I want to be satisfied. ”
Recently, something I had creatively poured my heart and soul into fizzled and fell; and I along with it. I was pretty positive that it was the end of the world (at least for that day). I called a dear friend who is my voice of reason when I am being a mess, and off I went with the water works. I’m sure my words were barely discernible. My friend listened a while, then gave me one of the greatest gifts of words I’ve ever been given. He said to me “Sarah, you are at a wonderful crossroads. This is the place, the moment where you get to decide; God alone either IS enough, or He isn’t.” I was rendered speechless (a rarity, I promise). And I breathed in those words.
God is constantly trying to remind us that we belong to him more powerfully than we could ever belong to the world. When we are exhausted, discouraged, doubtful; when we give in to endless lies about ourselves and our comparisons to others; when we feel that we’re laboring in the vineyard with nothing to show, He’s not asleep; He’s working with and for His good and ours. We may feel that we’re doomed to be stuck in a desert for 40 years, or minister in a congregation where we feel unheard or tired or under-appreciated, or sit on a front porch waiting for anything to change. But if God alone is enough, then we will know that none of those things will ever be true. Our confidence will not be shaken, because our confidence will be in Him alone. And if God alone is our motive and desire, then we will sing for him, write for him, dream and think and walk and love for him; so that everything we touch will bear fruit, bloom, and become something beyond our imagining. It may look much differently than we imagined; but it will be beautiful nonetheless.
If God alone is enough, we will never find ourselves with that girl on the front stoop. We will be satisfied. Our hearts, at peace; our worship, pure; our confidence, unshaken.
(And incidentally, I for one am still – and always – working on it)
Check out Sarah’s music here: http://bit.ly/11PuhTU