Unhindered Worship (Retreat Follow-up #2)

Corporate worship is one of my most favorite things about any conference or convention meetings I go to, and the Armed & Dangerous retreat was no exception. In fact, besides the new friendships I made there, I believe it was my favorite part of the week!

Granted, usually when I go to the Southern Baptist Convention I often get distracted from true worship by the sparkly choir outfits, the scores of preachers in front of me who are tweeting every other thought that pops in their heads, or the lure of free candy at the vendor/ministry tables.

Sundays are a little better because I have learned to close my eyes and let everything else fade away while I seek to worship the Lord. Well, there’s so much distraction on Sunday mornings that it’s more like I push things to the back rather than it actually fading away.  On most Sunday mornings I choose the songs for the contemporary part of the service to help blend from the hymns to the sermon, make sure my husband’s sermon slide is given to the PowerPoint operator, co-teach a Sunday school class, play the flute, sing in the praise team, and supervise my two daughters (and their friends) where ever they happen to sit. I also try to talk to any visitors we have or spend time listening to the elderly man who sits behind me…he lives alone and always seems so lonely. (As a side note, I used to stress about making sure I spoke to every person in the church every Sunday morning. I even had one man who fussed at me because I didn’t shake his hand before the service one week. The next week I went to him, shook his hand and said “I wanted to make sure to shake your hand today so you don’t get mad at me.” {cue sweet smile} The next week I waved to him across the aisle then turned away to shake someone else’s hand. Life is too short to stress about such things. Besides…he can get up and shake my hand if it’s all that important to him!) OK…where was I…oh, yeah….distractions on Sunday morning.

When I’m leading the worship with the praise team on Sunday morning I try to forget about all that…forget that my kids may or may not be behaving, forget that some of the people think the music is too loud while others can’t hear the words, forget that one side of the church is still empty after a group left in anger last year, forget that I may have worn the exact same outfit to church last week and forgot until the very moment that the first song starts…with all that rolling around in my head, true and unhindered worship is often unattainable.

During the Armed & Dangerous retreat everything was different. Before the first verse of the first song was finished my eyes were so full of tears that I couldn’t see the words on the screen. In all the distractions of a normal Sunday I hadn’t realized how parched my soul had become. I had forgotten what it felt like to come before the throne of God, drop my baggage at the door and fall at His feet in total unhindered worship. Unexpectedly, I began to sob. All the hurt and bitterness that I thought I had dealt with rose to the surface, and God in his mercy gently peeled away the callouses I had built around my heart. Part of me tried to hold back, worried that someone would see me crying. You see, I’ve been a PW for over 12 years, and I’m used to people watching me all the time. (In fact, I often joke that the reason I sit on the second pew is so that people don’t get a crick in their necks watching me on Sundays 🙂 ) But as the second verse rolled around, and I self-consciously wiped my tears away, I looked around and saw that not a single person noticed that I was crying. Not a single person was looking at me. Instead, eyes were closed, hands were raised, and hearts were worshiping. What freedom! I wanted that time of worship to go on forever! And one day it will…one day in heaven we will all worship together without hindrances and without distractions. But for now I sure did enjoy that little taste of heaven with my fellow PW’s! And I’m working on allowing myself to take time every week to worship freely…even if it doesn’t happen on Sunday mornings. 🙂

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One thought on “Unhindered Worship (Retreat Follow-up #2)

  1. Pingback: “Quiet” Rebellion « Confessions of a Not So Perfect Pastor's Wife

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