Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Now throw your hands in the air and wave em like you just don't care

If I'm completely honest, there are moments when I'd like to be a toddler.

You know. Those moments when some stranger looks at your pregnant belly and your pigtailed twin daughters, and says that he "...really hopes there's just one in there this time."

Really?! They can hear you. Jerk!

Oh! To be a toddler in those moments! I would pick up the nearest plastic toy and bop him on the head.

There are other, more joy-filled moments of toddler hood that I would love to embrace too. 

Recently, the girls have taken to having dance parties while I'm getting supper ready. They dance and sing unabashedly around the living room. I love that there's no holding back, no reserved self-awareness. They go all out.

You know when you hear that song you just love, there's this physical feeling in your chest? The music literally moves you? You want to dance, sing and just rock out to respond to that feeling?

Toddlers do that.

The other day, Brynne brought over her cat, sat in my ever-shrinking lap, and played a song. Since sitting impeded dancing, she just raised her arm up in the air. She was fully present, reveling in the music. I mean, who isn't completely overcome while listening to an instrumental version of The Farmer in the Dell?!?

This got me thinking about worship.

My church background has consisted of worship through the singing of hymns and a mostly serious (liturgical) worship service. If the music moved you, there was typically no outward expression---my people are also sometimes referred to as the "The Frozen Chosen". My label for the folks who responded to music through dance or raising their hands in worship was "Holy Roller".

It's interesting how our experiences and learning change our perspectives sometimes, isn't it? 

For the first time in my church history, we're attending a church with a tradition that falls somewhere between "frozen chosen" and "holy roller". Our pastor calls it being pentecostal with a seat-belt. There's no jumping and dancing down the isles, but there definitely a few arms raised in worship during the music portion of the service. 

Brad and I have had lots of conversations about how the music at our church moves us, and we feel compelled to respond by raising our hands in worship, but it's so outside of our comfort zone. So, we don't. Or didn't.

After my sweet Brynne sat on my lap, arm raised in response to her music, I was struck that at some point, she will practice restraint. Sometimes that's appropriate. If her jam comes on the radio when she's she's driving, approximately 14 years from now, she better keep her hands at 10 and 2!


I want her to dance, I want her to raise her hands in worship to her Jesus, if she feel so moved.


How else will she know that's okay, acceptable, and even pleasing to God if she doesn't see it modeled?

So, this past Sunday, when I felt moved by the worship music, instead of practicing my usual restraint, I raised my arm. It felt freeing. I felt like how Brynne and Hadley look dancing around our living room.

Maybe my ice is melting. 


Melissa Ann said...

Love! Love love love and love some more! If Sedryn can stop screaming when you're singing... then I can raise my hand when I feel moved too!

Holly Tumpkin said...

Oh how toddlers teach us the best lessons. No wonder Jesus said "like a child". I remember first becoming brave enough to raise my hands! I rememeber the moment. Funny how something so seemingly simple is so hard. But such a release. Claps for you! And your little Brynne. :)

jandi said...

Beautiful- i can also be quite restrained but with my girls i 'let loose'often- we love to jump/dance around the lounge, giggling, rolling around, making music (on our drums/xylophone etc). i love their spontaneous nature at this age (except when one of them bites the other one- yes this happened today). Thank you for this beautiful glimpse into your world

Jenn said...

i love love love this!! i loved how you said instead of practicing my usual restraint! thank you.. this is beautiful!

championm2000 said...

I can't believe how perfect the timing of this post is!

We just joined a church after many months of searching. It's a contemporary Baptist church with a diverse and welcoming congregation. I am coming from a more formal Presbyterian background; my husband a more conservative Southern Baptist church upbringing. This choice was a compromise in many ways between the two. I really wanted a church where we all felt at home. And I do, except for the singing...

There's a praise band, hymns on a screen instead of a hymnal, and lots of hand raising.

It's not that I am not moved during worship by the music. I often find myself teary. But despite the emotion I might feel, I just can't bring myself to raise my hands in praise and worship. Why???

I think it would easier to say that's just not my style of worship, but after reading this, I see how my actions, even in worship, are sending a message to Em and Drew.

Will I raise my hands next time? We'll see ;-)

Jenni said...

LOVE that. I came from a really conservative home, but my husband didn't and I love watching him have dance parties with my kids...sometimes it's just hard to join in and totally be free!! slowly, slowly, slowly I'm learning to, though!

Marcia (123 blog) said...

Hello! I was painting my nails and thinking, "I'm sure Julia would like this colour" :) and then thinking I better come check on you.

How are you doing?

I grew up Anglican and we didn't really go to church except for Christmas.

Once I got born-again, I was in a Pentecostal church so yes, I'm a Holy Roller. I wonder to myself sometimes how people can NOT raise their hands - Oh MY He's SUCH an awesome God. But I get that we're all different. But Julia, try it - it's super awesome and I'll bet the anointing will come on you and you'll get a special touch from God :) :)