Do you ever ask yourself that question? WHO AM I?
In 2015, I got a rude awakening. I was on staff at a church for 6 years as the Worship Pastor and a new leader came in with a new vision. Unfortunately, he didn’t see me fitting into that vision so I was abruptly let go from my position. My church leadership wanted to keep me around but transition me to a new role, so I became an Adult Ministries Pastor where I helped organize small groups, women’s ministry, and was one of the campus pastors for an alternate venue. I was grateful for the opportunity to expand my experience in ministry, but I was also struggling very deeply with my calling. Was this what God wanted me to do, even though I still felt called to lead worship?
I entered a long desert season where God did some much-needed work on my heart. God was teaching me a big lesson and I didn’t realize it right away. I didn’t fully understand the enormity of my identity problem. For years, I had been finding my identity in being a worship leader when I should have been finding my identity as a child of God. When I was finally stripped of that title, I had to relearn who I was in the eyes of God. And trust me ladies, that is not a easy process.
Have you been there? What are you finding your identity in? Is it your job? Your title? Maybe your children or husband? Money or acceptance? The list goes on. There are so many things in this world that try to take our attention away from the beauty of Jesus. It is a constant daily struggle to keep our eyes focused.
But on the other side… there is freedom.
In 2017, God called me back to worship leading at another church, and being on the other side of my identity problem brought a freedom in leading that I have never felt before. It wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about trying to prove something. Rather, it was about bringing my best and letting God do the rest (too cliche? haha). It was about aligning myself so closely with Jesus that as people looked at me on stage, all they saw was Him. It was about developing others and helping point them to their God given identity.
Today, I can honestly say that if God stripped worship leading away from me again, it would not matter. My identity is not found in being a worship leader anymore. My identity is found in Christ and whatever I can do to expand the kingdom, I will gladly take it on.
Let’s be a group of women who follow Jesus no matter the cost and strive daily to find our identity as a child of God.
Matthew 6: 6-13 (The Message)
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace… This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best—
as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.”
ABOUT ASHLEY BECKFORD
Ashley Beckford is the Associate Pastor at Unite Church in Pasadena, CA, where she leads worship and oversees all creative. She recently founded Unite Collective, a community of musically-gifted artists, worship leaders, musicians and creatives from Unite and its extended family, that strive to create resources for the church. A gifted leader and songwriter, she loves to develop people, especially other women in worship. Ashley is on the She Leads team as the ministry lead to worship and creative leaders. She loves spending time with her family and traveling!Follow Ashley