Have you ever had this conversation at church?
"Raise your hands up high to ME".
"Uhhh.... no one else is. I think I will just close my eyes, will that be OK?""No, Raise your hands up high to ME"."But God, that will be embarrassing. No one else is."
Or how about this one.
"Go to the altar."
"I can't. Everyone is watching.""I want to meet you at the altar.""But everyone will know I am not perfect if I walk up there. All by myself.""You won't be alone. I will be with you. Go to the altar. There is freedom there.""Maybe next week God. I'll just pray here today."
A few weeks ago during worship music, the praise team started playing my very favorite song. It's one of those songs that seems to come from no where when I need to hear it most. When I am feeling disconnected from God. When I have had a hard week. When I am questioning something. When I have been hurt by someone. It is just my song. I never know when it will show up, and I always know, deep inside, that God sends that song to me so that I can refocus myself directly to His heart.
Whenever I sing that song, I raise my hands. At church. At conferences. At home. In the car. I just do. I can't help it. But this last time, I was in the front of the church. It was the early service where there really aren't any "hand-raisers". I knew if I raised my hands, up there in front of the church, that everyone would look at me because I was, most likely, going to be the only one doing so.
I didn't want to.
I didn't want everyone to look at me. I didn't want to stand out.
And I almost didn't.
But God put a Scripture in my heart last year, that helps me in these times.
David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might... David said to Michal, "It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes." 2 Samuel 6:14, 21-22
I thought of David dancing in the streets, and the only one he acknowledged was God. It says he "danced before the LORD". There were hundreds, thousands, of people there to see the Ark brought home, and David didn't care. He danced with all his might, to praise and worship God. How must he have looked? To the people, probably a little crazy, a little embarrassing. But to God? He looked beautiful.
So I did. I lifted my hands. I closed my eyes, lifted my hands, and felt a blessing that was mine alone.
Not everyone feels a call or need to raise their hands. It isn't a requirement of proper worship. There is no such thing as proper worship. Worship is focusing your heart, mind and body on God and then giving your all. If you do that, you are properly worshiping, in what ever form it may take.
The same is true for a call to the altar. Not everyone feels it. Certain words, or feelings are pressed on us by the Holy Spirit to lead us to a special time of humility before God. He doesn't call us to the altar to embarrass us before our friends. He doesn't call us there to 'teach us a lesson'. He calls us there to do special business with our heart, to heal or grow our relationship with Himself. When we refuse to go, when we let appearance hold us back, we miss a special worship time with him. There is something about kneeling before God, praying and doing business with him, that leads to a time of celebration that is unlike other times.
By being too dignified to go, to kneel, to weep and praise, we miss it.
David even tells us that we will feel a little silly. But he said he was willing to be "humiliated in my own eyes". That means we might get a little uncomfortable. Feel a little foolish. Feel, and look, a little undignified. Do it anyway.
The next time you feel the need to praise a little differently than everyone else, or feel a pull to the altar and you don't want to go.... get a little undignified. Raise those hands high. Walk in humble obedience to kneel before your God. Dance with all your might. Get a little more undignified. There is nothing like celebrating before the Lord, for His glory alone.