WHAT IS CONSIDERED WORSHIP?
Everyone is on their knees, hands raised, praising God in complete surrender. And here I am, stressing about my Shakespeare exam with my notecards surreptitiously hidden in my hands between the folds of my dress. This has been my worship life for the past month.
I guess the best way to talk about worship is to start at the beginning. The best way I have heard worship described is, “giving God His breath back.” It is simply and utterly worshipping the Creator of the Universe with all you have because He gave everything to you.
The problem with worship arises when it gets forced.
Worship so often can become a chore. Take me and my notecards for example. I didn’t want to praise. This was my fault, as I should always have time to worship my God and creator, but I also didn’t want to worship and instead study for my exam that would literally determine my fate in the next hour.
I think that worship has recently become a chore to a number of other people too. We think, consciously or subconsciously, that praise can only come in the form of music, of getting down on your knees and sobbing, but that is not really worship.
Worship can be found in the quietest of times, when you retreat into the Father’s arms and you have silent moments with Him. Worship is when you use your gifts and passions He has given you and you begin to hone them and practice them. Worship is loving your neighbor or sacrificing some time to serve others. If you actually look at what worship is, music and singing are very small parts of it.
So why do we gravitate so quickly to music?
I think that music is the best way to express ourselves. Often, Christian songs will directly quote Scripture or basic beliefs found in Scripture. We are able to read God’s words back to Him while also reminding ourselves of the truth of His Word; we are giving Him His breath back. But singing songs doesn’t always have to be in a church environment. In fact, sometimes you just have to turn on the car radio and scream the lyrics to a song in private. For me, I can belt some mean hymns. Even though my church barely ever goes back to those classics, I find solace in repeating the truths that my ancestors have sung before me.
Worship is work
This doesn’t mean worship is hard or a chore, this means that worship is doing the job you were called to do. You’re a mother? Great, look up in the Bible what it means to be a God-centered mother and do it to the best of your ability. If you’re called to do an office job, do it and be a light in your office. Be something different that your coworkers haven’t seen before and tell them why. Be a light and show them a life that looks like what the person or thing you’re praising stands for. Worship in all that you do.
Worship is not Christian
Worship isn’t only meant for Christians, even though it is usually associated with them. Many people will praise their own deities, as well as themselves. Self-love and self worship is almost encouraged, even by Christians, as long as one doesn’t make an idol of themselves. We must love, cherish, and value ourselves before we can love anyone or anything else. Many people hear the word worship and think of someone praising God on Sunday, but it really can be any day and to anyone.
One of the reasons worship is really a lifestyle is because so many people dedicate their lives and their daily habits to it, whether their worship style is dedicated to the Christian God or not.
Worship is Surrender
When I asked my friends what worship was to them, many came back with a term or some form that described surrender. Worship really is surrendering yourself to focus and praise something bigger than you. Even if you are worshipping yourself, you are cherishing your higher self, the one you can be, the bigger self. You must surrender in worship to truly give yourself away to the experience and feel all that it has to offer and offer it up to the subject. Worship is surrendering your pride and the earthly things holding you back or worrying that you might look foolish and truly giving the act your all. People aren’t on their knees and screaming out to God while they’re still inhibited by thoughts and fears of what the people around them might think, they are completely surrendered and humbled.
Worship isn’t Perfection
You may mess up sometimes, but that doesn’t mean you’re not worshipping. No one will ever be perfect at worshipping. Everyone gets a little off key, a little unmotivated, or a little caught up in her life around her, but that doesn’t mean it Is not worship if it’s not perfect. Perfect worship will never exist as long as we are imperfect people, and we will never be perfect people, so… There you have it. Take the pressure off yourself and worship how you please.
Worship is Learning
When you dedicate your life and your time to something, you want to learn all about it. To me, I worship every night by sitting down with my Bible and a translation of God’s Word and leaning into God’s Word. I learned early on that I would rather study than sing. I feel the closest to God when I learn all the history of God’s people through the ages and praise Him through gratitude and awe of how far we have come since then. We worship by simply standing in awe of the creation of the subject and the work He has done.
In the end, worship cannot be defined by a dictionary or an article. Worship is a personal and other-worldly experience. No one worships in the same way, that’s why it’s so special. So take a moment and write down what you worship and why. Your worship style says a lot about you and your relationship with the higher things and beings in your life. Be grateful that you have something to worship and bow down to, and if you don’t, maybe look to see if putting your faith into some higher being is comforting to you. Worship is simply an act of gratitude, and I think that thankfulness is something we can all employ a little bit more of in our lives.