I put myself in the very uncomfortable position this week of relying on other people. Not just relying on them, but asking big things of them. Big things. And it was awful! Okay, not really, but it was hard. And hard and awful are difficult for me to separate.
I flew into Denver on Sunday evening in preparation for two six hour recording sessions during the week. First, let me clarify that I’m not a recording artist (duh). I sing as a way to worship and because I enjoy it. But having a nice voice in a live setting does not always translate into a beautiful recording. I know this because I’ve done it before. Recording is hard ( hear “awful”). There is no audience energy, no buffering of the raw sound of my voice. The first night I was in an isolation booth so I had no feel for the rest of the band outside what I could hear in my earphones. It was like singing under a blanket.
We did take after take after take after take. I couldn’t get it right. And every time we had to start over I was imposing on this group of musicians to stay for another five minutes or ten minutes or two hours. They were being paid (not much–they’re musicians), but I still felt guilty for taking up their time. They didn’t know me, but had volunteered to be a part of this project and I was immensely grateful for their talents and willingness to participate. But also wracked with guilt for needing them. (Please don’t read my post on Kerri Walsh Jennings because you’ll realize what a hypocrite I am). And this was just the beginning. My friend, Scott not only engineered the whole project, secured the musicians, accompanied me on every song (with original arrangements) and gave up two long and precious evenings during his week–he also opened up his home to me and I displaced his son for the three nights I was there. His wife made me dinner the night I arrived and provided fresh squeezed juice for me each morning…not to mention giving up her husband for the nights we recorded. That’s a lot of indebtedness!
I prefer to not need any help. Or, if I do need help, I like it to be effortless, painless and enjoyable for the person assisting me. I know…I live in a very sick reality. Especially in light of my salvation. For the last two evenings I’ve sung verse after verse about the cost of my freedom. What it cost Jesus to purchase my pardon–to restore me into relationship with God. To demonstrate his deep love for me, his beloved daughter. His messy, sinful, ungrateful, beautiful daughter. It required effort, unimaginable pain, separation from the Father, humiliation and death. Not the kind of help I like to need. But that doesn’t change the fact that I was dead; unable to make myself worthy without his intervention. It wasn’t just a helping hand he gave me…it was everything. And he keeps on giving.
On second thought…I love help! This week I’m praying I will be be able to enjoy the gifts of others as tangible reminders of my absolute inability to make anything work without “help”. And to joy in my Savior who became nothing and endured the cross so I could live…and sing.
Kelli is a writer, speaker and consultant equipping leaders for a deepening intimacy with Christ, greater impact in ministry and more effective intentionality in all of life.
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