Posted by Craig Borlase on 5 August 2014

Having played a lot of guitar for quite a while, one day I quit. There wasn’t much warning, there was no discussion with my friends and bandmates. All I knew was that I had been feeling it brewing with me for a while. So after seven years of being Craig-the-guitarist, I just quit.

I thought I knew why. I thought it was because I had become cynical about the world of worship and I needed to step down. It seemed like a good enough answer to me at the time, so for years that was the one I stuck with.

But it wasn’t the truth. Not the whole truth.

I quit worship not because I had become cynical. I quit it because I had been playing a part that I could no longer to play.

You know how none of us behave the same way all the time, how we instinctively know when a setting calls for us to be more assertive, passive or alert. It’s the same with church, isn’t it? We know how to speak, how to react and how to carry ourselves, don’t we?

Well, I guess I got a bit carried away with some of that. Somewhere I developed a Worship Persona that was too far removed from the me I was at most other times. I learned how to walk, talk and act the right way: a bit shy, pretty quiet and unwilling to do anything to draw excess attention to ourselves.

There’s nothing wrong with being that way. But it’s not naturally me and I think I always looked a little uncomfortable in the part - often coming across as over-tired, bad-tempered and socially awkward.

I know why I adopted the role. My tribe inhabited a corner of the worship world where performance was discouraged and divas were shown the door. In order to fit in I had to adopt the required humility - not something which came naturally.

What I did not know was that I started to use my worship persona as a mask to hide behind when I really wasn’t feeling up to the job. And I didn’t realise the way that, whenever I met other bands who behaved differently to me, I retreated a little further into myself, as if their confidence or their ease were in some way toxic.

Somehow, that wasn’t the end of it. I’ve started playing again, joining with a group of people who couldn’t be more diverse. I’m still a little tempted to look rather intense and take it all very seriously, but that’s not all I feel. I’m learning to relax, to get out of my head, to take a risk and drop the mask. I’m learning to enjoy worship again, in all its paradox and imperfection. I’m learning to play for the love of it, not the duty.

Part 2 of this article can be found here.

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