She stood when she was supposed to, sat when she was given a cue, bowed her head when everyone began to pray; she did what was expected of her. She lost her voice, her will to speak and sing, when he left. She stood and listened to the others, but couldn’t bring herself to join. She wanted to feel what they felt, and her frustration grew with every passing week: “why can’t I let go?” She was afraid. She stood respectfully, afraid to move an inch or even mouth the words that everyone else sang with pride. She justified it in every way she could, without even realizing that she let her sadness take away her God.
One week, she started to smile when she looked around the room and saw dozens of hands raised and eyes shut. One week, she began to sway, out of control of her own hips as they took her back and forth in the tiniest movement. One week, she found herself in her room, humming along to a song she’d heard the week before. One week, she said, “next week, I will be ready.” One week, she sang again.
She didn’t care who heard or watched her sway easily along to familiar songs with familiar words. She found her voice again. She found her God again. She wasn’t going to let anyone steal her joy.
For months, I couldn’t bring myself to sing in church. I made excuses, saying I was too uncomfortable or afraid that someone would hear me. While this was true, I had done it so many times before without an ounce of fear. I used to love singing in church, no matter how much I sounded like a dying walrus. I’ve always valued the sermon over worship greatly, and yes I do get more out of the sermon because it’s applicable information, but there’s also something magical about worship that I’d forgotten about.
It gave me my excitement back. For so long, I couldn’t figure out how to feel excited and happy when it came to God. I studied because I wanted to know more, but the passion wasn’t there. I thought that’s just what happens after you’ve been a Christian for a while. Yeah, that excitement does wear off because it isn’t a new thing anymore and you will hopefully start to focus more on the studying aspect of faith, but I was forgetting how to feel God at all. I was learning about Him, but I wasn’t growing with Him. He was becoming the subject in a textbook, rather than the God who loves and created me. I need Him to be both.
When I sang, though, I felt it. I felt it in every part of me, and couldn’t contain my joy. It had been so long since I let myself go and just enjoy a moment that I didn’t want it to ever end. I spent too long patiently waiting for worship to end, not realizing that what I was searching for was surrounding me, and all I had to do was join in. Joining in doesn’t usually come easily to me, but sometimes letting go of that fear really pays off.
For the first time in God knows how long, I’ve been excited all week to go back to church. I want to do it again; I want to sing. I can do that any time, and I have been, but I want to get lost in it in the way you just can’t experience anywhere else but with a bunch of other people who feel the same way. There’s something unexplainable and freeing about it.
I’ve forgotten how much I’ve missed singing in church, but I don’t ever want to forget again.
Music has been on my mind lately. I’ve been in a mood where I feel like I can’t have a moment without it playing. This isn’t exactly healthy long-term wise, but hey, I’m excited again and I’m relishing in this feeling. I’ve been listening to a lot of contemporary Christian music, mostly songs I hear in church, and I love it. However, I’ve always preferred Christian music that isn’t exactly “Christian,” meaning it isn’t in the Christian genre and/or won’t be found on Christian radio. It isn’t quite so explicit. It makes you think. It’s a challenge to find God everywhere; to find Him in the most unlikely places. The world isn’t so evenly divided into secular and not. The world is full of Light if you look for it.
Thus, I give you my favorite non-Christian Christian songs at the moment:
- Awake My Soul – Mumford & Sons
- Science & Faith – The Script
- The Judge – Twenty One Pilots
- (There’ll Be) Peace In The Valley (For Me) – Elvis Presley
- We Are Broken – Paramore
- I Know Who Holds Tomorrow – Alison Krauss
- Taxi Cab – Twenty One Pilots
- I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – U2
- Doubt – Twenty One Pilots
- Below My Feet – Mumford & Sons
- I Was Born, I Have Lived, I Will Surely Die – Young Guns
- Tell Me – He Is We
- By The Grace Of God – Katy Perry
- In The Middle – Mat Kearney
- Lover Of The Light – Mumford & Sons
- Save – Twenty One Pilots