The church is an organization and community built on service.
As a result unfortunately, this kind of environment breeds the need to be seen, honored, and appreciated.
We all go through seasons of feeling unseen, so it’s important that we ground ourselves properly ahead of time. But how?
Mountaintop seasons come seemingly as often as we walk through valleys. I’ve had moments of being on some of the largest platforms and others where it feels like I could walk away and no one would notice. Whether you realize it or not, even the most successful artists, songwriters, and musicians regularly see seasons of hiddenness.
In my six years of serving in four different positions within the church, I can remember only one person telling me that I had a unique gifting at playing guitar. Only one. No one saw or affirmed what God later called me to do…playing with some of the world’s most significant leaders on the largest stages. I watched as countless others were given musical opportunities instead of me. But what I’ve found is that God gave me encouragement in the necessary seasons and refrained from giving it in others, so that I would fully rely on Him.
“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT
All things have a season
As I look back, I clearly see how God wanted me to stay focused on the season at hand. If I had had prophetic words and encouragement about my gifting and future, I most likely would have been distracted from my calling while I was working in marketing before music. There were people at my desk job that needed Jesus, and I couldn’t afford to check out.
If God wants people to call out something within you, or give you honor, He will do it. He’s also such a good father that He will prevent other’s validation so that it doesn’t distract you.
If you haven’t received attention from leadership at your church, don’t get bitter. God may be hiding you on purpose.
We have to hold all things loosely. Just because you may not feel honored right now doesn’t mean you won’t be in the future. God also isn’t afraid to prune and hide you away in the wilderness, even after you’ve already accomplished a lot.
We need to have a close relationship with the Holy Spirit to be able to discern why we are in certain seasons. Sometimes He is stretching and maturing us, sometimes we are boldly advancing, and other times He trusts that you’re mature enough to not need human validation.
God exalts the humble
If you’re going through a hidden season with little recognition, remember that it’s God who exalts you, not your striving. A humble heart is the foundation for what God can build favor upon. And a humble heart is one that’s focused on other people’s agenda – not our own.
If you can’t serve your church well doing a “simple” task without needing someone’s affirmation, then you’re not ready to be on stage in the spotlight.
“For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12
Let the barren seasons evoke action rather than self-centeredness
I recently had a friend from another state randomly reach out to me to see how I was doing and pray for me. It was such a simple gesture that left me incredibly impacted, but also aware of the countless other Christians in my life that haven’t been as caring.
Rather than making me feel discouraged, I felt convicted not to be a person who failed to care for the people around me. The enemy wanted me to walk in self-pity and focus on being overlooked, but God wanted to see if I could be a leader. God desires to see if we can be faithful with little so He can entrust us with more (Luke 16:10).
Honor others all the more
You can’t expect others to give you honor if you can’t give it to others. In the seasons where I’ve had church positions or jobs go sour, God has always challenged me to go above and beyond for the people involved. It’s times like this where I’ve found breakthrough, recognition, and promotion. Even if people are taking advantage of you, serve them.
“For if you love those who love you, what reward can you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that?” Matthew 5:46 AMP
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12 ESV
Don’t jump ship
I’ve seen far too many people hop from church to church because they weren’t recognized for their gifts, or for how much they poured out. Where in the Bible do we find this to be a sound principle? Church is not about you. The purpose of the Kingdom is to serve and love others, even in the face of undesirable circumstances.
Yes, I do believe church leaders should work hard to encourage, build-up, and provide avenues for people to flourish in their gifts, but just because they didn’t make you a worship leader instead of a background vocalist does not mean you are not called to be at that church.
The fact that people leave when they’re not getting the recognition and opportunity they want proves that they weren’t in a healthy place to serve there to begin with.
Be The Church
What would it look like if we lost the appetite for people affirming our service and gifts? What if we were the church we wanted it to be? What if we texted someone how we could pray for them rather than waiting for our pastors to compliment us? How free would we feel? Freedom only comes through living in the affirmation of our Father, having an appetite for His word, and understanding our identity in Him.
Do you have times where you’ve felt under appreciated? Did God teach you something in that season? Let us know in the comments below.
You may also be interested in these posts!
- The One Thing Guaranteed to Disrupt Any Healthy Worship Team
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- I’m a Worship Leader, But Why?
- Episode 15 Having Tough Conversation with Team Members
- Episode 80 • The Reality of Sin on Stage with Benjamin Forehand