Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
~ Psalm 95:6
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God ~ this is your true and proper worship. ~ Romans 12:1
Our worship is not limited to music ~ worship is everything we offer to God, the totality of our lives. But a part of worship is the focused act of turning our words and hearts to Him with praise. In Scripture, music is a part of that act… and it is a powerful way to connect to Him.
There is something so special about that kind of worship with other believers… but the worship that consistently makes the most difference in me is the time I spend with God in my kitchen, in my car, in my office at home. When I am alone, able to fully engage my mind, my will, my spirit, and my body ~ all of me is aimed toward His throne. And I have learned that this whole-body-and-soul surrender is a step to being courageous in all of the aspects of my life.
We aren’t walking through our days as wispy, spirit-beings ~ we are here, with aching lower backs and feet that are tired and bodies that hold the tension of our stress. How we physically hold ourselves makes a difference in how we feel on the inside… and how feel on the inside affects how we stand, move, and take up space.
We can’t ignore our physical bodies as being a part of our experiences with God ~ He cares about all of us, our whole being… so deeply, in fact, that He sent Jesus to walk in this flesh and bone so that we would have a Savior who understands every struggle we feel.
We can have complicated relationships with our bodies. When it comes to health and the capacity our bodies have for movement or daily activity, we are all different. We may carry evidence of pain life has caused us, either physically or emotionally. We might have years of trying to fit a standard of beauty, expectation, or even someone else’s idea of holiness.
I don’t know what you have been through and what it feels like to live in your body ~ but I do know that your body is good. I know that it is a part of your whole self, the person that God has made you to be, the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), a facet of our worship. A posture of praise ~ one that begins in the heart and connects to our entire selves ~ changes us in the presence of God.
For me, this means fighting every insecure, self-conscious, anxiety-filled instinct that implores me to find a corner and stay there, to hide away, to shrink out of sight to instead jump, twirl, and sing out as loud as I can in the middle of my house. This means praying out loud, reading scripture out loud, actually using my voice with the confidence that He wants to hear me.
As minimal as this might seem to some ~ there was a time when I could not worship or pray like this, even alone in my room, because I could not let go of the fear in my bones that I would be ridiculed… even if I was the only one doing the judging.
Stepping into motion with my entire self to worship has helped break down the barriers shame and insecurity built. Kneeling, raising my hands, changing my usual stance into one that is physically giving honor changes what I am magnifying… there’s something in the surrender of my entire being that reminds me that I am not my own ~ and that His Spirit inhabits all of who I am. This is where fear loses all power over me. This is where I become most aware of who I am in Him. Worship has become the place I am most at Home ~ because it is in His presence. And just like when we are at home ~ it’s where we
find rest, nourishment, and strength to get back into the world with the work at hand.
Whatever range of motion means for your body that God has given you… whatever posture of praise you have… that’s exactly what He asks to be given. We don’t have to wait for church, for other people, for someone else to lead us. We have full access, at any time, to come boldly before the throne of God. And when we worship in spirit and in truth, with all within us ~ He is there.
2 Corinthians 3:18 tells us that we are changed in His presence, from glory to glory, to be like Jesus. I love how the Message version of this verse puts it… And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of His face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like Him.