Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bonded Worship

I grew up going to a traditional denominational church. You went every Sunday, sat in approximately the same pew each Sunday, sit-stand-sit-stand, sing your hymns while holding the hymnal, sign the book to be accounted for, pass the offering plate, kneel at the altar for Communion once a month, and basically the same traditions each Sunday. Everything was predictable and I was never challenged to step out of my spiritual comfort zone. I love the church I grew up in, the people that I know that still go there - I was baptized there, accepted Christ there, met people that have changed my life, and I was married there. My spiritual growth just needed something more - something with added passion for God. The amazing thing about worship is there that there are so many different ways that people can experience God. Everyone needs to find what makes them feel comfortable and find their way.

I love to sing. Songs of worship make me feel so so good. They lift my spirit and they are very relatable. We sing a lot of songs before the message each week in church and it is such a great way to open your heart, clear your mind, and get you ready to understand the message you are about to hear. I have one problem. I can't lift my arms. I drum my hands on my legs or the chair in front of me. I cannot praise and worship the way I want so badly to do. Each week it is a fight and I find myself tearing up at songs because I am fighting the urge to lift my hands to give praise to our glorious God. There are people all around lifting and giving amazing praise, but something within me struggles.

In my old church we held hymnals - there was not a way for me to lift my hands. They already had a job in holding the huge book. So for almost 25 years my hands were in bonded worship - they held the hymnals and I was rarely exposed to raising hands in worship. I never really even thought about it much and when I would attend a church where people would occasionally raise their hands in praise. I do remember seeing my parents raise their hands in singing and I remember being a little weirded out by that, but it was not a big deal - it just was not something we did in our church.

Now John and I go to a non-denominational church. There are no hymnals; nothing to hold. I still do not know what to do with my hands. I know what I want to do - I want to jump up and down in my chair lifting my face to the sky and raising my arms with praise {all of this pre- and post pregnancy of course because if I do anything like that I might have a baby drop out}. I have imagined myself doing this many times while singing in church. I want to thank our amazing Father for all He has done in my life. Still, I find myself bonded by something. A few things are certain - I do not want to draw attention to myself, I do not want to be that "crazy person" everyone is making fun of, but I do not even know if that is the reason I cannot worship the way that my body is desiring to worship. It has come to the point that my eyes are burning with tears because I physically cannot do it. I know that people are not looking at me while they are busy in their own state of worship, but there are also people like me who are aware of everything going on around. I see other people lift their hands in praise and the tears sting even more.

When I attended Chrysalis in high school I remember this one girl, Martha Rivers. Maybe it was Marsha, but this was a long time ago so I cannot fully remember. I do remember she was from the SSI area. We were singing a song and she stood in her chair and danced in that chair with arms flailing and I sat in utter awe of how she was so free to praise God. I cannot remember the song whenever I think of this memory, but I do think of the memory when I hear the song {make sense?}.

The ironic thing is I grew up a dancer and dancing is a way I have always expressed myself. Maybe its just the unchoreographed dancing I cannot bring myself to do....

I hope that one day, if you go to church with me, you will see me out there praising with eyes and arms wide open. For now I sit in my bonded worship wishing I could do more. Maybe one day I will be like Martha {or Marsha}, but until then I will praise and worship the best way that I can.


Anonymous said...

I can very much relate to this. The older I get the more emotion is behind my worship but also hard to express it the way I'd sometimes like too. And sometimes I don't even know how I want to express it just that I want more. Good post. :) marybeth macias ( freeman)

Mica said...

If I went to church with you, I would so come up behind you and raise those arms for you!haha! I can completely relate. Just this past Sunday, there were two girls with their arms up praising God. It was beautiful. I wish I had the courage to do that as well. Maybe one day...

Design by Small Bird Studios | All Rights Reserved