This post is entirely my own thoughts and feelings on worship. It is not my intent at all to say that others are wrong or right and that I am right or wrong because I realize everyone comes from very different backgrounds. This is meant to help me hash out many thoughts I’ve internally processed and conversations I’ve had with friends. This won’t flow beautifully. It might sound a bit disjointed and not well organized but that’s okay. I’m not writing this for anyone other than myself.
I was raised in a typical quiet Mennonite family. And because we were a quiet Mennonite family, we went to a quiet and calm Mennonite church. Hymns were sung in four-part harmony and were rarely accompanied by any instrument. Worship was very calm and lacked much emotion… or so I thought.
As I grew up, I stayed in that calm Mennonite bubble. It was safe, and to be honest, I liked the calmness. It was easy to focus. Things eventually changed in terms of using more instruments and worship definitely became more upbeat but it was still pretty chill. I didn’t have much interaction with a charismatic style of worship until after high school. I ended up in a few situations where I felt during times of worship that if I wasn’t crying, fainting, or feeling something strongly, I wasn’t actually worshipping. A few times I found myself caught up in the overly emotional times because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. If I didn’t join in, I was afraid someone would ask me if something was wrong or give me the “are you saved” talk. I am saved, thanks. I just didn’t feel comfortable at all.
I’m one of those people that doesn’t like to be told how to feel or how to process things. In fact, I am so strong-willed that if you tell me I’m going to like/dislike something or can’t do something, I’ll want to prove you wrong. While that has mostly gotten me to where I am today, it can get me into trouble at times. Being told to feel a certain way during worship time was something that really bothered me.
Worship is a deeply personal thing. Every person worships in a different way. Some people are outwardly expressive while others (like me) are more introspective. Sometimes I feel like I worship the best when I’m sitting in a quiet room, writing and listening to music. I can focus on the important things and not be influenced by things going on around me.
To me worship is all about the heart. The focus should be on God and giving glory to him, not about what we get out of it or how it makes us feel. I think a big mentality in churches these days is all about what worship does for us. In a way, we’re worshipping worship. I know that’s not necessarily intentional, but it’s there. Somehow we have to get back to worship being about God, not us.
I’ve watched my Grandparents my whole life. They have a quiet, steady faith that is strong. It’s strong despite the fact that it has been deeply challenged by finances, deaths of their children, multiple moves, and church splits. When I spend time with them, I see worship as a way of life – and it’s focused on God and his glory, strength, power, and goodness. It’s a steady stream of quiet reverence for God. There are not many major ups and downs.
That’s how I want to worship. I want it to come from the heart. I know my life will obviously have high and low points, but I want to always keep a steady reverence and worship for the Creator of the universe.