I love leading worship in Acton rehab. It’s not like anything else I’ve ever experienced. I guess the closest thing I can relate it to would be if I were a rock star on stage in front of a huge crowd and the crowd was singing louder than I was. It’s awesome. And it’s awesome not because they’re singing and then clapping for me, but because they’re singing with me and praising God together and, when they clap when we’re done, I know it’s because they feel the same joy that I’m feeling.
I used to be so afraid to sing in front of others. Well, that’s not entirely true. Back before I started dating the guy I thought I was going to marry, I would sing all the time around anyone and anywhere I wanted. Random people would tell me I had a good voice. In fact, I remember in 5th grade, this guy I had a huuuuge crush on was the first guy to ever tell me he loved my voice. I was flying higher than the moon with that compliment and I actually believed the strangers who told me they liked my voice.
Then I started dating my ex-fiancé. At first he was nice about my singing but he later turned really mean. He would tell me how horrible I sounded and would say that I should just be quiet. Or, if he was feeling nice-ish and passive aggressive, he would just turn the volume up high so he couldn’t hear me. Because of who he was to me – the supposed love of my life – and because of how persistent he was, I actually believed him and eventually stopped singing around people.
Fast forward 6 years and you’d find me single again and wanting to sing again but still insecure. But I had an awesome best friend who was really supportive and another friend who was really encouraging and together, they convinced me to audition for choir at another church. I made it into the choir, gained some confidence and heard clearly from God that I was meant to be on stage leading worship.
A year later, I bought my first guitar and, 8 months after that, I played a worship song in front of my favorite worship leader at church and she became my mentor. She is one of the most talented and amazing worship leaders I’ve ever met and I respected her opinion so, when she encouraged me to lead worship with her at Acton Rehab, I said I’d give it a shot.
It was sooooo scary!!!! I’d played in front of my friends at small group when I first started out but I know I wasn’t very good at playing. I’m still not amazing or great but I’m sufficient. Then, one day, she told me that I was ready to start leading worship in Acton all by myself. Man, that was scary!!! But I slowly started gaining more confidence and became more comfortable leading worship. Eventually I got to a level of comfortability where I could enjoy leading worship and not stress so much about playing the songs right. It was awesome!
I have been leading worship in Acton on an almost weekly basis for about a year and a half now and leading worship for the College Group for about a year as well and the two groups couldn’t be more different! The ladies in Acton Rehab have such a passion and desire to worship that almost all of them are on their feet during worship and usually singing so loud that I can’t even hear myself sing! It’s super personal; I stand in front of them in a small room and play my acoustic guitar without a mic or an amp. At College Group, I’m on a stage above everyone else and there’s all these lights on me and I’m plugged in and singing into a mic. The group reacts to worship differently too. Usually the majority of people at college group are sitting down and I can’t hear any of them singing with me. It’s not necessarily a bad experience; I love leading worship anywhere I can get the chance to worship, but it’s different.
Acton’s been the best thing ever because it’s where I learned how to lead worship while being surrounded by ladies who are supportive and loving and genuinely excited. It’s been the worst ever because it’s spoiled all other experiences for me. I’ll always want to hear a chorus of voices singing praise along with me because it makes it about God and not about me at all. Acton has taught me how to screw up royally while playing a song and still be able to laugh about it. It’s pushed me to be better and learn and grow and, most importantly, it’s where I learned how to trust that this leading worship thing is something that God truly wants me to do. And that’s a wonderful thing.
Oh my word! Snow Patrol never ceases to amaze me! They are always so great in concert! I just had to get that out of my system right away since I’ve been sick and haven’t been able to post anything in quite a while. I guess that’s okay since I had the whole being sick excuse.
Back to Snow Patrol. I always fall in love with Gary’s voice every time I hear him. The way he talks, the way he moves, the faces he makes, and the obvious fun he has when on stage all comes together with the fun the other band members have performing – especially Paul – I just can’t get enough! They are some of the best performers I’ve ever seen, and I’m kind of a concert junky!
So, my awesome Snow Patrol Saturday started with me, Brandi, and Dustin leaving town at 3:45am. We ran through McDonalds for coffee and food and hit the road. We arrived in Santa Barbara around 6am, drove around until we found the venue, pulled into the parking lot and saw a tour bus! We then saw the police cruiser also in the parking lot and decided to park in the neighborhood and take a nap. We napped until 9am and then decided to stake our place in line. Brandi and I ended up being the first two people in line!!!! Unfortunately, Dustin was sick (with what I ended up getting) and slept in the car for a few more hours. We made friends with the next two girls (Michelle and her friend) to join us in line and grabbed some food with them after the line started getting longer (around 11:30am) and we had woken Dustin up to hold our place in line. Dustin ended up ditching us around 1:30pm and it ended up being just me and Brandi in line the rest of the day. There was a girl there from Korea who was really cool and a woman named Jill from Canada who spoke like she knew the band like they were good friends.
There was also another girl who Brandi and I saw at the last SP concert at the Palladium and thought she was kinda loud and annoying but she actually ended up being really cool! As the time neared for us to enter the gates and make our way up the MOST HORRIBLE HILL EVER, she generously offered to help save places at the rail so all of us who waited for all day in line would be up front and not people who were just pushy and persistent. I ended up talking to her about God and Thrice and concerts/music in general once we were all inside along with a lady behind me who looked no older than 32 but who was actually 40-something. Gave me hope for my future concert going that I won’t look totally dumb at concerts in 11 years. Turns out that, as hard as I try, I still make snap judgements about people that are totally unfair to them. If I had remained ignorant and mean (in my head) towards this girl, I never would have gotten to talk to her about Snow Patrol and Thrice and Brand New and God. It was a good, humbling reminder that I need to keep an open mind about all people and that concerts are a really awesome place to talk to people about God in a natural way without being pushy!!! I really hope she ends up listening to The Modern Post (Thrice’s lead singer’s new worship music band). Maybe this is the beginning of God working in her life?
Lissie opened for Snow Patrol. She was amazing! I didn’t think I’d like her based on what I had hear on Spotify. Well, mostly it was the one song she had on Spotify where she talks about taking a drink of tequila before singing. I had this bad impression in my head about her. BUT she turned out to be really talented and her band was awesome. Not quite up to par as far as performances go when comparing her to Snow Patrol…but there’s really no competition. Snow Patrol is and probably always will be, the absolute best live band I will see. I got to stand front rail, slightly to the right of center which worked out better than dead center because Gary tends to go to either side of the center up to the very edge of the stage to sing. It’s awesome. Only bummer…he didn’t go into the crowd. But hey, I have something to look forward to next time, right? LOL. My next goal is to meet the band AND to see them at every California concert they play next time they’re on tour.
It was a tiring but very amazing day. After the concert, Brandi and I met up with Dustin, Corrie, Matt, Taylor, David, Kelli, and Jason and went to dinner. Brandi and I shared the most disgusting mac and cheese on the planet. Taylor and David bought me an awesome blue hoodie for my birthday present. Then Dustin, Brandi, and I drove home. We got back around 3:30ish am and I woke up the next day with a massive headache (no, I did not drink at the concert) and sick.
What an amazing first concert of the last 365 days of being in my twenties. I truly felt like a young 29 for those 24 hours and full of life and adventure. Now, here’s some photos from the concert. I’ll post more if my other photos ever upload to Facebook.