I love to watch people worship.
It’s seriously one of my faves.
I remember 13 years ago when my hubby (boyfriend at the time) took me to church with him. I was so intrigued – and a little weirded out – by watching the people worship during the service.
I had never seen anything like it.
I didn’t grow up in church and the handful of times I did go it was stiff, we sang hymns with thy, thou, ye, etc. (Nothing wrong with that by the way, I just didn’t understand), and I just remember itchy clothes, the smell of moth balls, and wondering why grown people would stand up at the front of the church and cry while they were talking.
When I went to church with Tony (the hubs), he took me to a multi racial, multi cultural, non denominational Bible church. We were running late that day and we entered the service during the worship set.
Hands were raised in surrender, people were crying, people were smiling, some were dancing. They didn’t seem to care about who was around them or what anyone else thought. It was a little odd to me but I was certain that I wanted whatever it was that they had.
As I fell in love with Jesus over that next year I remember lifting my hands in worship for the first time.
I just knew everyone was staring at me and everyone knew I was a fake. I was still such a hot mess and I could only truly think of myself the whole time my hands were lifted and how I really wasn’t worthy to lift my hands to such a Holy King.
But I lifted them anyway.
It took me years to become comfortable with being free in worship.
The more that I learned to trust God – through some SERIOUS trials and Him coming through – the freer I became in worship.
Oh my goodness – when I walked up out of a year of paralyzing anxiety, panic attacks, and depression I could NOT keep my hands down. Even during communion (when most people are sitting, I was standing with arms raised high).
You see, I knew what God had done for me. He had proved Himself faithful over and over and over again. I knew He was worthy to be praised and if I didn’t praise Him the rocks would cry out in my place. Ain’t no rock taking my place in worship. **Waves finger back and forth**
I started to think about how I would worship Jesus if I could physically see Him standing in front of me and it helped me to get past my natural mind. I started to realize that the people standing next to me in a church service are supposed to be my brothers and sisters in Christ – we’re all in this together … so why would I care what they think?
I love to watch people worship because I love to see freedom manifesting into the natural that spills over from the spiritual.
I also remember that first church service I went to with my now husband. The people I saw worshiping. Their freedom caught my attention. Their love for Jesus pouring out in worship caught my attention. Their obedience in worship pointed to Jesus and not to them. It wasn’t for show or to bring them attention. They were simply just responding to The Father’s love.
When we are free in worship we give others permission to be free in worship too.
It’s a beautiful thing.
Years ago I attended a church with an incredible worship team. I wanted to be on that worship team SOOO BAD! I specifically remember God telling me no. He told me that I was a balcony worship leader.
This church was pretty large and had a balcony. Those in the balcony seemed to be a little more reserved than those down on the floor. Me and Tony loved sitting in the balcony so we could watch The Spirit move over the congregation as they responded to Him in worship – raising hands, dancing, singing loud.
It was harder to be free in the balcony because often times you would literally stand alone and be the only one singing … and people would know where it was coming from.
When God told me I was a balcony worshiper I started pushing past the walls of embarrassment in my mind and began to stand, arms reaching toward heaven, singing loudly, eyes closed and just being free.
I would start to hear other voices and when I would open my eyes there would be multiple people standing, arms reaching for Daddy, some crying, some singing loudly, some dancing – all worshiping freely.
It was never easy to stand and worship with hundreds of others around me who were sitting quietly – but I did it anyway because God is worthy to be praised regardless of background, personality, or if anyone else is standing with you.
I’m that weird person. Yup. Sure am.
I’m inviting you to be that weird person too.
I’ll leave you with this:
Last week I hosted a women’s night of prayer and worship. One of my friends who is newer to her walk with Jesus was sitting behind the women. Another one of my friends who has been walking with Jesus for quite some time was there as well and she was responding freely in worship with arms lifted high and singing loudly.
Both of these girls are pretty introverted and reserved.
My younger friend was amazed by the older friend’s freedom and especially since they both have similar personalities.
I had lunch with the older friend and shared the younger friend’s amazement – to which she smiled and responded with, “If I can’t be free there in worship, where can I be free?”
This pierced me.
If you can’t be free in worship – where can you be free?
Worship is not songs or hands lifted … worship is a condition of the heart – how we live our lives. That’s where I think a lot of people get it wrong. “corporate worship” is when we gather and worship through song together. We are literally ushering in the presence of God by saying ‘we want you here’ … why would we ever want to put up a wall against that?!
So I just wanted to share this with you because it was heavily stirring on my heart today.
I just want to encourage you to be free in your worship of Jesus. It gives others permission to be free too.
Be bold. Bring it. If anyone is watching and judging you they are obviously there for the wrong reasons. Don’t let that stop YOU from responding to The Father’s Love any longer.
You are loved and FREE and God is worthy of all our praise and worship – Amen!