The Artist Heart

By Debbi Shotlow
Worship Leader
September 07, 2023

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I’ve been pretty busy administrating our Worship Department by making sure the song lists are prepared, the musicians and vocalists are scheduled to play at each service, and that my meetings with Pastor are productive - and so on and so on. My “to do list” gets longer and longer and things always come up that I can’t get to right away. I don’t even have time for myself these days. What’s a girl to do! I like getting my hair, nails and feet done, but I want to be the first one in and I want to be out of there in an hour. They say “your hairdresser knows all,” but mine doesn’t! He just sees me studying and reading my Bible or studying for an exam. Thank God he is a Christian and he prays for me as his strong hands give me an awesome shampoo. Thanks Jon!

Administrating the Worship Dept., keeping your home in order, and not becoming a workaholic can become pretty stressful. Many times, out of the blue, I have cried and although it seems to relieve some of the pressure, nothing relives the pressure more than singing. So I have scheduled myself to sing every once in a while.

Rory Noland wrote an awesome book called The Heart of the Artist (ISBN 0-310-22471-3- Zondervan Publishing). We purchased a several of these books and blessed the team with them. It’s an excellent book for character building, and you find out a lot about yourself as an artist. Rory writes how we, the artists turned leaders, lose our giftedness in the shuffle of leadership. Some of us are very gifted vocalists, instrumentalists, writers, dramatists and visual artists, but we don’t have time for it anymore. Every musician knows in order to be good you have to practice and play. You have to keep your “chops -up”. If we continue to let our talents and giftedness go unattended, we will become frustrated and then angry at the church for stifling our giftedness. We become “shadow artists” as we give wings to everyone else’s talent but lose our own.

Before leading worship and administrating this team, and before I knew Christ; I sang professionally. In order to get to a professional level I practiced a lot (ask my family). I became what you would call “skilled” at what I did. I accepted the Lord and now sing for the Lord in the secret place. It was there in the secret place that I found strength, joy, and refreshing. I got to really know Him and I wrote many songs of the heart as I got to know myself, as well. I found myself to be very expressive before Him in our times of worship together. It was there that He called me to make our relationship public. He made divine appointments for me to sing those songs for His people and I did not hold back the expressions of worship and the love that I have for Him. He gave me a gift I am to use in this capacity for Him - always. Some of us are multi-talented and we need to express those gifts.

Whenever one of the team members speaks to me about struggles that they may be going through, I reflect on my times of past struggles and how I held on during those times. I encourage them to get on their instrument and play or sing to the Lord. They always seem to think that I am talking out of the side of my head, but in the secret place is where we need to be during those times.

On the flip side, there have been many occasions that our team has been a refuge for hurting musicians that need to work through their seasons of trials and tribulations by playing or singing. We have taken them in and loved on them and showed them the love of Christ by not condemning them but loving them, building them up, and holding up their hands in the battle. Putting things into perspective, you should weigh out the circumstances and the integrity of the individual to whom you extend your platform to. You do not want to place someone in rebellion or someone in sin on your team. Use wisdom!

Recently, I ran into a fellow musician who plays drums. His job situation had placed him at work on the graveyard shift. He had not been able to worship God on his instrument in literally a year and his heart had been crying out to God. The team was in “deep” need for a drummer for our Wednesday night services. I had picked up my dog from being groomed and he walked out of church carrying the trash out. After talking for a bit, I could sense that he was frustrated and needed to worship God on his drums. I asked him to join us when he could and there was an immediate refreshing to his spirit. The team made a friend and if we are ever in a pinch we know a drummer who will worship God along with us. Having a team of worshipers is very important!

One more example and I think you’ll get the picture. A very good friend of mine was separated from his wife. (They are together and growing in love all over again - AMEN) He knew that my husband and I went to a Bible-based church and he has always loved living in Northern California. He moved and started going to church with us, and after a short period of time passed God told me he needed to play his guitar. He still thanks me for helping him stay sane through a difficult time in his life. He didn’t know is that I was just being obedient to God, and he didn’t realize that years earlier when I was in a rough season in my life, he and his wife allowed me to sing through some “stuff” in his band. Be prepared! God will bring musicians needing a drink of living water. Your assignment will be to minister the love of Christ to that person. You see to some, we who possess the “artist heart” and temperament, seem just a little different to those on the outside, but we know differently. We understand one another, and what an awesome ministry that God trusts you and your team to care for one of His musician children.

If you are one of those precious folks reading this, I pray for your heart to be filled with the peace of God during this season in your life. Get on your instrument play and sing to God. Capture the heart of David and make one up. Compile your own book of Psalms.

“Father in heaven, in Jesus’ name I speak peace to the heart of my brother or sister in this time of need. Send them to someone that can minister and hold their hands up in the heat of this battle. Allow them to express themselves openly and freely and a place where they can grow a step closer to your heart. Then Lord, may they turn around and return to favor - AMEN!”

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