Intimidating worship…

“I will not dance.”

There was a time in my life when I signed the dotted line. I would not dance. Dancing was a sin. Those of us at Indiana Wesleyan had to promise to refrain from dancing. No matter what. I even recall a night when my roommates and I were dancing around our dorm room to Enrique Iglesias’ “Bailamos,” and our RA came by and made us stop.

Now I live in Africa. Besides singing, dancing is the ultimate form of worship. IMG_20131006_113505

I grew up in a pretty traditional church. Hand clapping was pretty charismatic where I come from. I became a little  more open in worship when I went to a Baptist church in Georgia. I honestly felt pretty wild even closing my eyes during a song or holding out my hands to the Lord. That was nothing.

Worship in Africa is the most intense I’ve experienced. But I have to admit, as someone who has attended pretty conservative churches, it’s quite intimidating.

This evening we had a simply amazing worship service at Heritage House. Towards the end of the service, people were dancing and yelling and worshiping the Lord. I wasn’t feeling it. And because of that, I felt inadequate. I felt like an outsider. I felt like I didn’t belong. I felt like the people around me where so much closer to God than I was.

For me, worship is very personal. The slower songs speak to me more than the fast songs, but because I wasn’t jumping around, I felt like maybe something was wrong with me- like maybe I wasn’t as good of a Christian as everyone else. Their worship was so much more celebratory than mine.

“Behind every trial and temptation is a scheme to get us to doubt God’s goodness or our right standing with Him. Who is he that condemns? Not God!”

I found that written in my church notes from a service I attended in August. And it’s so true. The only one who would ever want to make me feel like my form of worship is inadequate is Satan. Not God. God knows my heart, He knows I don’t have to dance or jump to show my love for Him.

IMG_20131006_105813Billy Graham once said, “The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service.” We so often forget that worshiping God doesn’t only mean worshiping Him in song. We worship God whenever we do something unselfishly for Him and to help others.

Don’t let how other people worship intimidate you. We all do things differently in life, and that includes how we worship. Just because you don’t raise your hands or dance during worship doesn’t mean you are any less closer to God, and it certainly doesn’t mean God loves you any less. Worship is between you and God. He knows your heart. He knows my heart. And I’m going to work on not being so intimidated by others that it makes me doubt my allegiance to my God.

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you…” James 4:8

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