By Cortney Donelson
Psalm 68:4-5 (NLT)
“Sing praises to God and His name! Sing loud praises to Him who rides the clouds. His name is the LORD- rejoice in His presence! Father to the fatherless, defender of widows- this is God, whose dwelling is holy.”
A good friend of mine once made the comment, “I am trying to understand it. People will stand up and shout, raise their hands, scream in excitement, and ooh and ahh during their favorite sports team’s big play, but they stand in church during worship like statues… barely singing. This is God!”
I was convicted. I was one of those people who stood in front of my chair during worship and sang, barely moving the muscles of my lips, let alone my body. Her comment struck a chord with me (no pun intended)!
I am a member of a church whose mission is to reach the unchurched…to seek out those individuals who are seekers themselves and bring them to the Lord. Most of the people in our (huge) congregation look like those statues my friend described. That included me, a long-time Christian. I understand for some people and for various reasons, moving and dancing are not in their comfort zones. They have every right to be still and sing (or not sing at all). I am not judging. Here is the thing…It wasn’t okay for me. How did I know? The reason I was standing still was because no one else was moving or lifting a hand, and I was feeling very self-consious of what other people might think of me…(Hello, pride!)
Not long after her comment, I attended a medical conference where the speaker showed a video of what can happen if just one person steps outside the social norm. It was a video of a college campus where a few hundred students were sitting in a grassy area listening to live music. Suddenly, one brave man stood up and started doing a ridiculous dance in the middle of the sea of people. After a few minutes of some seriously silly dancing, another student jumped up and started doing her own version of the crazy. A few moments later… a third student stood up and started dancing. Then, another… and another… until after only nine minutes of video, half of the students were dancing. The message the medical speaker was driving home was that it takes just one brave person to recreate the current reality.
That’s precisely when I decided I would get crazy…crazy for worshiping my Holy Creator! The definition of praise is to give an expression of admiration. God does not ask us to quietly praise Him. He wants us to be loud! Psalm 68:4 says, “Sing praises to God and His name! Sing loud praises to Him who rides the clouds…” He wants us to be abandoned (free). He wants us to worship Him in church with music and dance…
Psalm 150 in the Message Bible says, “Hallelujah! Praise God in his holy house of worship, praise him under the open skies; Praise him for his acts of power, praise him for his magnificent greatness; Praise with a blast on the trumpet, praise by strumming soft strings; Praise him with castanets and dance…” (italics added)
So, the next weekend at church, I started to let go. I raised my hands in front of me with open palms. The next week, I raised my right hand a little higher to my shoulder. The following week, my right hand was lifted to the heavens, and I was shouting to God in praise. I had done it! My heart and soul were abandoned. I had let go of pride and stopped worrying about what other people thought of me. I focused on Him. I finally broke through and praised my Lord for all that He had done and was going to do! It was so freeing, and I felt alive!
“So I’ll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all.”
(The Stand by Kristian Stanfill)
Is God asking you to let go of pride today? Or, is there something else God is whispering in your ear to let go? Fear? Worry? I want to encourage you to let it go! YES! Let’s get crazy for God!
Prayer – Dear Lord, I will praise you forever! You are so mighty. I realize this is all about You and not about me. I will do my best not to worry about what others will think. I will give you all the Glory. You are my Father, my Creator, my Rock. In Jesus’ Name I pray…AMEN!