I used to be self-conscious about worshipping God in public.
As a teenager, I would look around church on a Sunday morning, watching other worshippers engaging rapturously in songs of praise. They would sing, eyes closed, some with arms lifted, expressing their adoration for Jesus.
Some of the less self-conscious ones would dance on the spot – or up and down the church aisles.
I was internally horrified at the idea of lifting my hands in public, let alone dancing. What if somebody saw me? What if they laughed at me? What if they judged me or somehow thought less of me?
That’s right. I used to be timid.
I used to be timid.
This changed one day when I decided to conduct a little experiment at my church. I wanted to test my theory that everyone was watching me. So when the church started singing praises to God, I looked around at others, watching them to see who was watching me.
I made an important discovery that day.
Guess who was watching me during the praise and worship?
Not a single person.
Noone was watching. Noone cared what I was doing. Noone was interested in my self-conscious worship practices. Noone even noticed whether or not I danced or lifted my hands or turned pious cartwheels.
Since noone was paying the slightest attention to me, I decided I may as well go for it.
I decided I may as well go for it.
From that point on, I made it my habit to express myself fully and freely to God. I figured if noone was watching, I may as well give myself over to worshipping God. It was a good habit to learn as a young person, because that honesty in worship has translated to the platform.
When I worship on stage, in front of others, I worship just as honestly as when noone is looking.
It is much easier that way. Because I have no regrets. I know I have held nothing back from God. I know I have not restrained myself out of fear or embarrassment or shame. I have, in the simplest sense, been myself with him.
Unrestrained is a song about passion for God. It is about putting aside all self-consciousness and dignity. Not for the sake of my feeling liberated, although it is liberating. It is about giving God all the praise and worship and wild adoration he so richly deserves.
It is about giving God the praise and worship and wild adoration he so richly deserves.
It is a love song. It is about receiving the raw passionate love from a God who is at once wild and wonderful. And it is about returning that love with all the innocence and wild abandon of a child.
Will you join me?
How do you express your love for God? What helps you put aside self-consciousness when you worship? Do you feel able to be completely yourself with God? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation.