In my community group, we are continuing our study of the book Satisfy My Thirsty Soul. Chapter 4 is entitled "Expanding My Worship Experience, and in it, Linda Dillow shares an email written by Dr. Sam Storms entitled "I Saw Joni Dance." The email describes how Joni Eareckson Tada, a quadriplegic and renown speaker, moved her wheelchair forward, backward, and side to side as the worship music played during one of her speaking events. Dr. Storms commented in his email, "I had to ask myself why I often stand like a vertical cadaver. I have the glorious gift and privilege of being able to celebrate God and honor Him with my body. I can kneel, lift my hands to heaven, fall prostrate, clap, and yes, move to the right and left and dance."
Isn't that convicting? It was to me, a vertical cadaver worshiper through and through.
I am not a dancer. The few people I have danced with can attest to that. Dancing makes me uncomfortable. I like things with rules and dancing is so . . . free. In my rule-loving world, I want to know choreographed moves for the whole song. It's foreign to me to let the music lead my movement, like a child hearing a song for the first time.
I think that's why it's hard for me to worship with free movement of my body. I don't allow the Holy Spirit to direct my movement. I do it my way. And the weird thing is, I don't stand out. Most people seem to worship the same way I do.
I can't attest to what's going on inside them, and I won't try. I know that I often feel things deeply during worship, but I don't let them show on my face. Or in my movement, or lack thereof.
Even as I focus on the church altar and watch the light of the candles, wiggling and dancing as they are coaxed by the air conditioning, I cannot say that I don't long for that kind of free, unchoreographed movement. But, I'm simply not there yet in my worship. Part of that is the fear of being watched or standing out from the crowd, and part of that is me wanting to be in control.
I know that this isn't something that I can get past on my own. I have to ask for help, and then I must listen for direction and obey. No matter what that looks like or feels like. Because in the end, worship is part of my love offering to God.