Don’t forget your baggage at the door
From my experience working with worship teams throughout the years, I have seen many people leave their life at the door, walk up on a platform, and worship in song. Some days worship can feel more burdensome than light and empowering. Then I realize that those are the days where I leave the internal conflicts at the door.
Often, I fail to realize that I even left something at the door. I normalized ignoring my internal conflictions that it had just become habitual. My worship became dry, redundant, dull, and lacking God’s inspiration. I wanted to quit after leaving the stage so many times still feeling empty.
It wasn’t that God wasn’t speaking to me, but rather that I discluded him from my personal life. There was so much he could’ve said to encourage me, that I didn’t allow him to say because I didn’t give him access to the beliefs and perspectives he desperately wanted to correct.
Worship that fails to be transformative is self-seeking. It bends the truth. It works around your thoughts and enthrones your feelings. And it’s always the worship sets and services that you leave having gained nothing. In these sets, I find myself reserving myself for my own good and not laying myself down for the Lord. Truly, what he requires is that my old self is crucified with him (Romans 6:6) so that I can experience the fullness and the benefits of the spirit.
What transformative worship looks like daily
Let me give you a very practical example of what transformational worship looks like on a daily basis. Please note that transformational worship can happen anywhere. It is simply a conversation that happens with you and the Lord when you give him access to you completely.
Several months ago, I had a very difficult time getting along with someone I know (let’s call her Lisa for the sake of privacy). This person is valuable and close to a friend of mine, so there was a lot of pressure and stress to get along with Lisa in order to have a good relationship with my friend. Internally I was dealing with rejection from Lisa and hadn’t quite handled that yet. Therefore, the interaction between Lisa and I was very tense and uncomfortable. When prompted by the Holy Spirit to be kind to Lisa, I internally felt anger and anything but kindness. Even though I understand and agree that the only right way to respond is with kindness, I was internally wrestling with hatred. So I and the Holy Spirit had a little disagreement.
Me: Lord I know you want me to be kind, but you know what she did was wrong! If I am kind she will think everything is good between us, and I have a serious problem with her and how she treated me.
Holy Spirit: Be kind and compassionate and forgive her (Eph. 4:32) Go and tell her of her fault, between you and her alone. If she listens to you, you have gained your sister back. (Matthew 18:15)
Me: Holy Spirit, thank you, but what if she doesn’t listen again? I am scared of sharing my feelings again. She will think they are evil and that I am intentionally being ridiculous. I am scared of being humiliated and rejected again.
Holy Spirit: You don’t have to be afraid. I have accepted you in the beloved, as you are. You are not broken or unhealthy; you are a new creation. I have made you whole and I believe you are whole. My thoughts are higher than all men, and I think highly of you. Go confront them. It is the right thing to do. I want to be closer to you and this is how we do that. I’m right here the entire time.
This was an actual conversation that I had with the Lord about Lisa. Even though I have yet to talk to her, after being honest and vulnerable with the Lord I feel empowered to do something that I once feared to do. True transformational worship. Jesus totally confronted Pharisees and sinners without fear. I can absolutely do the same. Worship is supposed to feel empowering and encouraging, and the Holy Spirit wants to touch you. From the inside out. The next time you leave a worship set or service feeling empty, I highly encourage you to pray for the leaders and check to see if you left your baggage at the door.