Recently I went on a weekend away trip with OpenHeaven church. It was a really inspiring weekend and I feel privileged to have experienced such spirit-filled worship, prayer and study time. I was impacted by so much that weekend, and this blog post could easily become a book, but instead I’m going to tell you about some thoughts that I had during and following the Friday night session.
As everyone was worshipping, and the band was playing so powerfully and brilliantly, I heard to my side a young boy singing. If anyone has young children or remembers singing in school plays, you will know what I mean when I say it was the sweetest, clearest, crispest voice I could hear in that moment. It was almost angelic and it really stopped me in my tracks. It suddenly threw into view all the “baggage” that I was carrying into the worship. I love God, but as I was singing and raising my hands, this child’s voice somehow convicted me of all the self-conscious thoughts that were lurking at the back of my mind and preventing me from worshipping wholeheartedly. For example, I was now more conscious of the fact that I was making sure that my face didn’t look too weird as I was singing the passionate chorus.
Further on in the evening, the band invited people to dance in praise as people continued worshipping. Children were skipping and bouncing around, smiling and giggling as adults twirled them round and joined in the celebration. I remember the lead singer saying ‘If anyone is a dancer by trade, or just enjoys dancing, feel free to dance!’. I remember thinking ‘yes yes me me I want to dance’ and tapping my foot in a sort of half-baked attempt to do so. But in the end I didn’t!! I just continued to sing, looking engaged in the worship, whilst really inside I was deeply longing to join in. It was almost as if there was a battle going on inside my heart. On the one side I had Freddie Mercury singing “I want to break free!” and on the other side I was thinking “woah, just hold on there. Just stay right where you are, do you really want to attract all that attention?”.
I was in awe of these children (and the few adults) who appeared to completely throw off everything that hindered them. They didn’t care that they were doci-doeing in front of more than a hundred others. They allowed themselves to embrace the freedom of being accepted into God’s family. The freedom to really worship and express their gratitude and love for God in any way that pleases God their father.
As I meditated on this more I just thought – wow – how BEAUTIFUL to be able to just let go. To not care what society thinks is weird or uncool. To let your inner child out! I think sometimes it is so easy to just let ourselves be content with where we are spiritually. But unless we keep pressing forward, we miss out on some of the wonderful freedoms and blessings that God wants us to have! In this post I want to encourage you to embrace with me the challenge of letting the holy spirit rule in your hearts. Let it well up inside you and don’t try to repress it… just let it flow. Whether this be through dance, song, words or otherwise.
Where the spirit of the Lord is there is FREEDOM, so embrace it!
Matthew chapter 19 verse 14: ‘Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”‘