And It Was Good. Katie Meister
August 7, 2018
I’ve always loved to perform. As a preschooler, I didn’t even know how to lace the ribbons of my patent-leather tap shoes, yet I would spend hours upon hours tap-tap-tapping away on a narrow slab of plywood in our living room. On the day of my first dance recital, I wore a red and black sequined bodysuit, a poofy feathered skirt, and my treasured tap shoes. It was time for my big debut. The curtain rose, and before the music even started, my little tutu-ed soul grabbed another little girl by the shoulders and physically moved her body to the correct spot on stage. (Proof of this moment exists in the form of a dusty VHS tape in my parents’ basement...good thing nobody has a VHS player anymore, so my secret will stay safe). Needless to say, from a very young age, I have cared about being “good.”
It’s all about me.
Growing up as a non-believer, my entire identity was based on my performance. Over time, the small sequined girl evolved into a fragile young woman suffocating in the shadows of constant anxiety. I needed to be good so that people would like me. One mistake could mean total humiliation at best - complete and utter rejection at worst. I lived my life as an actor, both onstage and offstage, haunted by the fear that someone might catch a glimpse of the “real me” and realize I have nothing to offer. When you feel the need to earn your worth, there’s never enough to go around. If some other girl got the lead role in a show, it meant that I got nothing. Perfectionism became a survival mechanism. If I were perfect, people would pick me. People would clap for me. People would want me around. Me. Me. Me.
Excellence vs. perfection.
As a Christian and a worship leader at GENESIS, I still care about my performance - however, my purpose in performing is drastically different. It is the difference between a focus on self and a focus on Christ. When my focus is on myself, I feel pressure to be perfect in order to earn praise and recognition. When my focus is on Christ, He is the One who gets the glory. When I sing onstage, my audience is not the congregation; I am singing to the Lord, for the Lord, surrounded by my brothers and sisters.
My pursuit of excellence is no longer a pursuit of perfection.
It is a reflection of an excellent God who created the world and saw that it was good.
Our good Shepherd.
I remember my audition for the GENESIS Worship team. I sang an upbeat, folky cover of the late nineteenth-century hymn, King of Love. (Side note: I also sang “For the First Time in Forever” - yes, from Frozen. Angela and I bonded over our love of theatre, Disney, and Disney theatre, so when she blasted the karaoke track over the sanctuary speakers that night and served as the Elsa to my Anna...I knew these were my people. But I digress.)
King of Love is based on Psalm 23, in which the Lord is described as being our shepherd. A good shepherd knows his sheep. I am grateful that He knows me by name and therefore I don’t need to make my name known. A good shepherd meets every need of his sheep. I am grateful that His provision is not dependent on my performance. A good shepherd leads his sheep and protects them, even unto death. I’m grateful that when I inevitably wander off and get lost, I am not rejected; in fact, He bore the ultimate rejection and laid down His life for me, that I might experience His acceptance. A good shepherd refreshes and restores his sheep. After years of aimless seeking, I am grateful to have finally found rest as I’m carried home on my shepherd’s shoulder.
It’s all about Jesus.
When I listened to the final recording of King of Love, my knee-jerk reaction was to pick my performance apart. I approached my dear friend Sarah with tears in my eyes - apologizing for letting her and the team down, asking for forgiveness, knowing I am undeserving of another chance. She called out the lies I still sometimes believe, she affirmed me, and she said, “I have a sneaking suspicion that you were singing about Jesus, to Jesus, and He’s going to be honored by that.” Yup, these are my people. This is my community. This is GENESIS Worship.