This week, I'm taking a workshop class on campus about worship.
What I'm wrestling with is, how bad is it to hate a class on worship?
I haven't been looking forward to this class at all, and it's actually exceeded my expectations…of dislike. I'll admit, I have a terrible attitude about it all. I've been cranky since we first got to class yesterday afternoon and I realized how many extra hours of class time they added to an already long week. I've been grumbling under my breath, judging everything and everyone around me, and just being an all around grouch (or possibly even a stronger word…).
But what I'm realizing is, regardless of what I think about this class or anything/anyone related to it, and regardless of how right or wrong any of my judgments might be…the real question is, what does my attitude right now say about me?
It'd be easy for some to agree with me. My roommate was fairly sympathetic last night, having taken this class last January herself. Others might look at my attitude and just think, you're a spoiled brat. Get over yourself.
I think some of my points of frustration are valid, but does that really matter?
If worship is not about music, style, or my personal preferences, but rather seeking to encounter God in a way that affects my everyday life, then who am I to come to a class about worship, and leading worship, no less, with such a self centered attitude?
When I was in college, I spent one summer working as the youth intern at a small church just outside of Lafayette. We took the youth to camp one week, and while we were there, I found that I really was not getting much out of the whole experience. I didn't enjoy singing at night, and just felt very distracted, unsatisfied. That week, as I wrestled with my feelings and attitude, I wrote a song. I don't remember all the lyrics now, but the basic idea was that I was realizing that worship was not about me. I don't know that I still have it now anywhere, but it was a pretty decent song.
The ironic thing is that, as I was wrestling about things not being about me, I spent a ton of time alone that week, writing that song. I sang it at the talent show at the end of the week, and enjoyed the attention I got from it.
Is that all bad? Maybe not, but even in writing a song about how it's not about me, I was doing what I wanted to do, instead of spending time with the youth I was working with. Back then, and today as well, I was really still focusing on myself. Though I was realizing I shouldn't be, I was still operating from what I wanted to do, with me me me at the center of things, guiding my thoughts and actions.
The other night I watched a movie with my parents. I think it was called The Duchess, with Keira Knightly. I don't really recommend it, but it did make me think. The main character is a young woman who marries an older man, a duke. She finds him cold and distant, primarily interacting with her for sex, anticipating the birth of a son, an heir. He makes it clear that this is all he wants from her, and he eventually takes a mistress, who ends up living at the house with them. The Duchess is powerless to do anything about her situation, and even though she is in love with another man, she stays with the Duke for the sake of her children and to keep him from ruining the life and career of her lover.
My takeaway from this movie was this mixed sense of being both appalled and amazed by this woman's actions. How could she stay with someone who treated her so terribly? Didn't she realize she deserved much better? How could things be so unjust, so unfair? It left me feeling very frustrated, but I also felt a sense of awe at her faithfulness and obedience. She fulfilled her duties, as a wife and mother (she did have a brief affair, but ultimately chose to go back to her husband). She didn't let her situation, as wrong and ridiculous and unfair as it was, become an excuse to do whatever she wanted. She made the hard choice to do what was right, what was best for those she loved.
She didn't let her situation, as wrong and ridiculous and unfair as it was, become an excuse to do whatever she wanted.
This, I think, is the core of my problem. I DO let my situation/circumstances, good or bad, dictate my behavior. I'm seriously deficient in the area of self discipline, seriously underdeveloped in Godly character, in the conviction to do what is right, regardless of how I feel or what others around me are doing. I'm good at pretending, but that's a whole other part of the problem—I don't always back up my actions with true integrity of heart and mind.
That's a lot to chew on.
The bottom line with this class is that God deserves worship. Regardless of anyone or anything else, He is and always will be worthy of my mind's full attention and my heart's total affection. There is a higher standard that I'm called to, a better way, and yet, I continue to return to my me me me orientation of life. I persist in doing what I want to do, when I want to do it, how I want to do it, etc.
(even now, that's basically what I'm doing, halfway paying attention to what's going on in class, and mostly focusing on me me me and all my junk…)
Ironically, at the beginning of the year, I realized I need to change my prayer focus—to stop whining so much about me and my problems and junk and focus instead on Him. Grow in my knowledge of Him, my love for Him, gaining a new understanding of Him as King, authority, ruler, Lord, Most High, etc. I decided not to focus on myself in prayer, my big and little concerns, but instead to make my focus Him.
Haven't really done so well with that. And I'm wondering now, how problematic is not only my lacking in my personal walk with Him, but also the choices I make in situations like this class?
Worship is supposed to be all of life…including this class.
Ugh. Argh. I hate realizations like this, because now I'm left with a choice.
Me me me…or Him Him HIM.
Forget feelings, circumstances, what I want, what's fair, other's actions or opinions…it still comes back to either Me me me…or Him Him HIM…