Who We Are Shapes How We Lead

I found out in college that I'm dyslexic, and that I have a learning disability that makes it difficult for communication to happen between my head and my hands.

(that's why this will be proofread by two different people)

That moment was like a light bulb for me. I saw my entire life through a different lens. My lack of love for reading, my inability to do well when checking grammar, and my frustration when it came to taking notes all started to make more sense. I want to share this, not just for transparency's sake, but because I think acknowledging my own dyslexia shapes how I lead people in musical worship: 

  1. I use chord charts, which is honestly hard for me to say. For years i dealt with the insecurity of comparing myself to the guys that lead without them, but once I started playing songs that were more difficult that just a repeated 4 chords, I had to move to charts. Why? Because the chords would flip in my mind, and using the number system would confuse things even more. I had to come to terms with the necessity of using charts when I lead.
  2. I prepare more. My initial learning of a song changed. I spend more up front time with the song, and less time after I have led the song once, but my practice is intended to leave the song engrained in my head.. I want to feel comfortable enough with the song to feel sure of everything that I do when it's time to lead.  
  3. I do my best to show a lot of grace to people developing, because obviously, we all learn differently. I know that I will most likely never see some stages because lyrics on a prompter isn't enough to help me lead to the best of my abilities, so I try to facilitate the unique needs of those around me with the same grace that I'm grateful to receive. 
  4. I learned to believe that I am enough to lead the people that God has placed in front of me. I stopped longing for someone else to lead, and stopped hoping that I would get the next big break. I realized that the people God has placed in front of me right now are the most important people for me to be leading, and that loving and investing in people, while painting a picture through your music of a great big God that loves them is the most important thing a worship leader could possibly do. 
  5. I haven’t stopped caring about whether you think it's lame that I have a chord chart in front of me. I haven’t stopped wondering if you think I'm lazy because I don’t "just memorize the song." I have, however, found great hope in the way that Jesus thinks of me, and hope that one day He will convince me not to care what you think of my chord chart. 

If you are someone that struggles with some sort of learning disability, like me, keep fighting to be all that God created you to be. We do have some limitations, but those limitations do not define nor confine us. Fight with me to be the men and women we are, not who we or someone else thinks we should be. 

Aaron Slaten