Can you see the scene in your mind’s eye?
“Let’s start at the very beginning
A very good place to start
When you read, you begin with ABC
When you sing, you begin with Do Re Mi…”
Oh, that takes me back. Who else LOVED that movie? When I was a little girl, I so badly wanted to be Maria—not the nun part but the care-free soul with the killer voice!
I remember singing for hours, “the hiiiiils are aliiiive with the South of Muuuuuusic…aaah-aaah-ah-aaaaaahhhh” and driving my brother nuts! Haha, awesome!
My friends, when it comes to walking in the UNFORCED RHYTHMS OF GRACE, there are some absolutes that we must establish. Long before we hyperventilate and burnout, long before we start cutting stuff out of our busy lives, it’s crucial that we “start at the very beginning.”
Today, I am talking about Worship
My husband and I have been worship pastors for a LONG time, almost 25 years, and I’m continually shocked when I hear people say, “I was feeling discouraged, so I stayed home from church today.”
What?! Are you kidding me?! I mean, I understand if you are nauseous and about to pass out, or if you are obviously contagious. Then, by all means, please stay home.
But WORSHIP IS YOUR LIFELINE! If you are staying home because you feel emotionally empty or depressed, then “Honey, you are shooting yourself in the foot!”
What is Authentic Worship?
No, I’m not being religious here. This is Survival 101. Authentic worship isn’t just going through the motions so that you get a passing grade from God. Worship is foundational for health and wholeness.
Dictionary.com defines ‘authentic’ as:
- Genuine, real, not false or copied
- Having an origin supported by unquestionable evidence
- Representing one’s true nature or beliefs, true to oneself
When I speak about authentic worship, I’m not talking about just going through the motions so you can get home to your roast dinner—three hymns and a chorus please. I’m talking about engaging God, heart mind and soul, and connecting with Him in the deepest parts of you.Worship = engaging God, heart mind&soul, and connecting w Him in the deepest parts of you. Click To Tweet
What are the Benefits of Authentic Worship?
When we give up an extra hour of sleep so that we can spend time worshiping our Father, this is what we gain:
1. REFRESHING – my emotions get healed
In His presence, we find peace for our tormented emotions and rest for our racing minds. Only He can settle the churning in your spirit.
Emotional healing isn’t just a bonus; it’s our privilege as His children. We NEED it! Click To Tweet
“That times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:20 ESV).
2. DIRECTION – we get strategy to escape the turmoil
Do you remember in 1 Samuel 30 when David had to run from his men because they wanted to kill him? It was just after the enemy stole their families and burned their homes, and they “cried until they had no more tears.” What did he do?
“But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God” (1 Samuel 30: 6 ESV).
And only then did God give him a strategy for defeating the enemy and getting back everything that was stolen. The strategy came AFTER His time in God’s presence.
3. ANOINTING – breaks the yoke of bondage
Some things can ONLY happen in the place of His presence.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off your shoulder, and his yoke from off your neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing” (Isaiah 10:27 American KJV).
Are there strongholds in your life that you are desperate to be free from? Run to the place of worship! His anointing is powerful, and He wants to completely deliver you.
4. CHANGE – magnifying Him changes us
Worship is so much more than just a feel-good exercise. It’s how we make God BIGGER than the situations around us. That’s what ‘magnify’ means (like a magnifying glass). When we worship Him, we make Him bigger, and our problems get smaller. And when that happens, we are forever changed.
Oh, Magnify the Lord! When we worship Him, we make Him bigger, and our problems get smaller. Click To Tweet
“Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them” (Psalm 34:3-7 ESV).
5. CORPORATE ANOINTING – we’re stronger together
Worship is powerful when we do it ourselves (and we definitely need to), but it’s so much more powerful when we do it together. When we worship, we open heaven over us AND the person standing beside us.
That’s why we do this together. When you feel weak, you can sit by me and feel His presence as I worship Him. And when I feel weak, I can sit by you and experience the same. It means that we can open heaven for those around us.
That’s why we need each other.Don’t stay home when you’re weak—we need you. And you need us. Click To Tweet
Do I Have to be Perfect?
Of course not! You don’t have to feel strong or happy, or even ‘ready’ to worship.
You just need to be present.
I remember dark seasons in my life when I was struggling with depression and discouragement. The hours before church were my least favourite of the whole week. The kids were more difficult than normal, and I was more emotional.
I remember often telling them in the car on the way to church,
“Guys, I’m sorry for being so grumpy. I know I’m snapping at you one minute, and then you see me worshipping God the next. But I want you to know something… it doesn’t mean I’m a hypocrite. No, it means that I desperately need God to strengthen and encourage me. I NEED Him! I’m empty now, but after worship today, I know that I’ll feel better. And I know that I’ll be a better mom after being with God!”
I didn’t want my kids to think that we have to be perfect to worship God. That’s too much pressure for anyone to carry. No wonder so many people stop going to church when they feel low. No wonder they don’t feel worthy to pray, or worship, or even walk in the door.
I wanted my kids to see God’s presence change ME. That’s authentic Christian living. No striving, no performing. Just us being real with God and others.Authentic Christian living is letting others see God change YOU! No performing. Just be real. Click To Tweet
This is what “Starting at the very beginning” looks like.
My friends, make a decision today that no matter what your emotions say, you’ll RUN TO HIS PRESENCE and not away. In your home, in your car, in your shower, and in your church.
You can do this.
Today is DAY 1 of the 31 Day Challenge, and I am using it to explore HOW to live an amazing life without burning out or losing my joy.
Am I perfect at this? Definitely not, but I’m on a mission to figure out how to do it better. Life is too stressful, and we need to learn how to live in UNFORCED RHYTHMS OF GRACE (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG). Thank you for joining me on this journey!
Today’s prompt word was WORSHIP, and we are linking up with the writers over at Five Minute Friday and Crystal Stine’s Write 31 Days.
To read more “31 DAYS OF UNFORCED RHYTHMS,” click here!