Y’all. I had to come to the blog for this one…because my thoughts are too much for a simple status.
Recently, I came across a post on social media which got my attention because it was about worship. I am a worshipper. I love worshipping God through every inch of my life (although I sometimes fail) so this post intrigued me…
There was a phrase in the post, though, that made me wonder “what does THIS mean in this context” so I inquired in the comments for clarity, but not to be controversial. I truly wanted to understand why that particular phrasing was used in context with worship.
Well, because often in religious spaces (online and offline) our perspective of worship is usually defined by improper views of worship based on what it looks like to us and not what God meant it to look like FOR us.
For instance, when people don’t raise their hands and shout or cry during corporate worship we as humans automatically assume they aren’t worshipping. We then likely judge their level of spiritual maturity based on their lack of response to the atmosphere or music in the room. We get frustrated and want the people who worship like we do to be in the room. So, when a praise and worship leader says “stand up and shout if you love the lord” but you don’t stand and shout, it has to mean you aren’t worshipping and you don’t love the Lord right?!
Well, if we know that worship is a movement and not a moment then we know this way of thinking is wrong. I’ll explain what I mean in more detail but stay with me OK.
Worship isn’t relegated to just worship spaces. It’s about where the heart is no matter if we see it or not.
So, when I see a phrase that insinuates some people have to be ”prodded” to worship it warrants a conversation for clarity...but only if the people having the conversation both see good intentions in each other as they dialogue.
Well in my desire to gain clarity I gained way more than that. I gained an understanding of so much more.
Here is what I understand now:
Sometimes people do use public online spaces as their personal diary and it’s so important to discern when that is the case. When someone is sharing their personal thoughts, even in a public setting, they don’t intend for it to be challenged. They said what they said. If you’re going to challenge it, it better be private. Because sometimes personal views are so heavily protected by a person that they may feel offended that you came and publicly poked in on it with your own perspective. My advice: if you don’t want public opinion about a private thought shared publicly then don’t share it on a public platform. Everyone might not agree with your perspective. And a challenge to your way of thinking is not always controversial, it could be a way to further conversation surrounding the subject at hand.
It is so important to read the room right, especially on social media. Know who you’re attempting to engage with. Don’t assume you know them based on past experience. And don’t assume they know you either. Once a person or persons appears resistant to healthy dialogue then retire the conversation with them. Don’t push; especially when it comes to religious or theological topics. Acknowledge that your intentions for the dialogue was good but unfortunately the understanding isn’t being properly transmitted. Then say goodbye. Pray for God to bring full understanding (and healing if necessary) to all involved. Because the reality is, sometimes our private feelings about or views of people/places can impact how we publicly interact with them.
With that said, let me get back to my thoughts about worship…
Worship isn’t defined by a moment for me…
It’s defined by a movement.
Some days my worship is quiet and most days it is loud. It ebs and flows with me through life as I spiritually grow but one thing it is - is consistent - and available for God to receive as He sees fit on the daily.
So, because of that, I pray that each day no matter where I am, that the Holy Spirit MOVES through other people too so that I feel the glory of God ushered in when I’m with them…even if I don’t visibly see anything happening from them. They don’t have to stand and shout for me to know that the Lord is near them just as the Lord is near me.
It’s not about them, for me. At least it’s not now. It used to be when I thought my worship had to look like everyone else’s…or theirs had to look like mine.
But NOW I know, as a believer, that one day EVERY knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.
That’s God’s doing. No amount of “pumping and prodding“ people today can change that. We will never be able to bring about worship the way Holy Spirit can and will.
We can cry loud and shout and ask others to do the same, but that still won’t unction worship from the person next to us or around us or before us. We don’t have that kind of power…
But Holy Spirit does.
Our spiritual affections in the presence of others and God is not about us and what we see, it’s about what God sees.
Can we pause to consider that maybe when we see people “unwilling” to worship God sees them waiting to worship.
Let’s take David for example…
When we look at the book of Psalms, David was not always worshipping in the context we think of today with corporate worship. David was depressed. Heavy-lade. Broken. Waiting, with no song. David was waiting on God to release Him from this state of being. Scripture even tells us David was waiting in a pit of destruction (Psalm 40:1-3). He was deep in it. Likely, so deep that he wasn’t privy to what anyone else was doing or feeling at the time.
But God eventually got David OUT!
And guess what David did? He praised! He praised alone and He praised with others. Scripture says God put a new song in David’s mouth, a song of praise. God even set David upright on his feet! David was no longer down because God had brought him up! When David‘s mental position changed, David’s worship changed.
Please understand, this wasn’t immediate either. It was a process for David. There’s a whole section of lament in Psalms. Check it out. But there’s also a whole section for praise too.
And all of it is worship to God. All of it. Because God cares when we worship through silence and when we worship through rejoicing.
Ultimately, God sees what our heart is doing not just what our lips are saying.
We are all in process like David…going from glory to glory to glory.
Some of us are in the waiting process like David once was. So that won’t look like worship to those who aren’t there. It will look, at times, quiet and withdrawn. People will assume, in your waiting, that you aren’t worshipping. But if you love God with your whole heart, you are. Even if that heart is broken.
What our worship looks like in waiting is going to be different than what our worship looks like when we’ve finally tasted and seen that the Lord is good; because with that process comes a whole new level of worship! Believe me, I know!
Again, we must ask ourselves: is what I’ve considered from others in corporate worship spaces “a posture of unwillingness“ or is it really ”a posture of waiting?”
Either way, my prayer is that we lean more into the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to do a great work in each of us and lean less into our desire to see people do what works for us. Holy Spirit is able. Glory! 🙌🏽