followers of Jesus:

as an english major, i've done a lot of literary criticism. you take a text, and you analyze it. and your thoughts on novel, poem, or whatever, is considered criticism. but it's criticism that isn't the discouraging, harsh comments we normally associate with the word; instead, it's a deeper look at something. 

can i do that with worship? because i'd like to look at worship critically, without seeming like a negative, disrespectful follower of Jesus. 

i stood through yet another time of singing at my Bible-believing church, and as the worship leader led the congregation in music, i thought to myself, There must be more

i couldn't focus, for a reason that i think is probably relevant in a lot of churches in america. 

and it was the congregation's response. 

my distraction in worship has sort of a community challenge to it, and poor devin is tired of hearing me talk about this on drives home from church. and it's the community's response to worshipping a great God. in my church now, the typical way to show that you are really focused on God during worship is to raise your hands. BUT IS THIS REALLY ALL YOU CAN DO, GUYS?! come on!! we are worshipping the one and only EPIC, SAVING God who is unbelievably AMAZING, and all we can muster up to demonstrate our praise is a measly hand-raising?! i picture heaven to be this unending, enthusiastic, WILD worship time before God. a place where God's people are just freakin going NUTS over how awesome he is. and i want us to worship him like that down here, too! i grew up in a church where dancing and flag-waving was a regular thing, and where on a regular basis the elders would jump up and down in excitement over what God has done for them. i know most people aren't used to that (like my husband, who was hugely distracted and put off by such displays of worship). i'm not saying everyone has to worship the same way, but can it just be ok if you want to jump up and down or fall to your knees because God has done great things? in the unquenchable worshipper, matt redman tells the story of him getting so excited about Jesus during a worship service that he ran outside {barefoot!} to the parking lot and ran around flapping his arms, because he couldn't contain his joy at what God was doing. shouldn't we practically be doing cartwheels down the aisles because we're so overjoyed at what God is doing (and has already done)? 

i'm super guilty of worrying about what people will think of me during worship, which is why I've more often than not fallen into the habit of being a timid worshipper. but a few times, in the sweet spot of surrender and praising God, i let out a WOOHOOO in praise to the God who saved me...but sorry to the people around me, if you would have rathered that I piped down...

anyway, this has gotten really long. but I just had to rant about my problem in worship. and i'm praying that God continues to work in my brittle, stubborn heart so that I can worship him enthusiastically and honestly, no matter what other people may think. 

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