God doesn’t need my worship or yours.
He isn’t fading into the dark like Tinkerbell waiting for someone to clap for Him. It’s by God’s grace that we can worship. But what do we have to give or say to the God of the universe? It is not even a bad singing voice or the “right” words that God is after.
He wants us.
He wants us to live abundantly in the freedom and perfect design He has always dreamed for us. As Greek bishop and theologian Irenaeus (130–202) put it, “The glory of God is man fully alive.”
I got a taste of feeling fully alive during a trip to the mountains with a few friends. We heard a rumor about a swimming hole with a giant, smooth rock towering over it. Candy Rock. At the right time of year, the rock has a waterfall coming down; and the small falls against the smooth rock forms something like a waterslide. The way we hiked in, we came across Candy Rock from the top. The water below at the base of the falls looked perfectly green, but a long way down. A couple of us hiked to the bottom to gauge the depth of the water, and as I looked up to where the other girls awaited our verdict they looked so small against the brightness of the sun. This was a tall rock.
“Yep! It’s deep enough,” I called up.
On the hike back to the top, I had an identity crisis. A few years ago I would have been the first one to jump off that rock … Why am I so scared now? Is it because I have kids at home? Why can’t I stop thinking about Joni Erickson Tada’s biography? Is this what getting older is like? Was I ever fun, or was that just me trying to impress people? Who am I?
“Jump in. Worship me.”
The words came from nowhere, but I had a very strong impression that God wanted me to jump in. For worship? That didn’t make sense. Just then the idea came clearly that God wanted me to enjoy His creation, to play on the rocks He formed and to embrace an identity He saw in me that was braver than I felt in myself. OK, Lord.
“I’ll go first.”
Everyone backed up a few steps as I walked to the edge of the rock. I sat down carefully, not knowing what to expect from the force of the water—and I was swept away! I flew down that rock squealing with delight—what a ride!—and the force of the waterfall plunged me deep below the green water at the bottom. From the dark coldness I followed the bubbles up toward the light, where I broke through the surface of the water and took a gasping inhale of pure mountain air. I felt like I had been baptized. No longer a slave to fear, I had been born into a vision of playful bravery that I didn’t have for myself.
I still remind myself of that wild, scary ride—that strange act of worship—on days when I feel too scared to try. Times when I’d rather play it safe. If God is greater than I am, I can trust Him.
My acts of worship aren’t just me talking to God, singing to God, making sacrifices to God: God is not a passive recipient of our worship. Worship (the right ordering of my loves and priorities and living the life God has for me) is a response to God’s beauty that actually leads me to even more of His goodness.
I can hear His voice.
I can have fun.
I can be brave.
I can jump into any water He is calling me to, because He has beautiful things for me there.
Taken from God’s Many Voices © 2018 by Liz Ditty, Used with permission by Worthy Books, an imprint of Worthy Publishing Group, a division of Worthy Media Inc., All Rights Reserved.
Liz Ditty is a speaker, writer, podcast host, and volunteer jail chaplain. Her upbringing in a fundamentalist cult where her father served as one of the elders and church planters taught her that women were to honor God through their submission and silence. At the age of 23 she left the church and her family. Over a decade of freedom later, Liz’s first goal in ministry is to encourage others who have heard the wrong story about God to take their questions and hurts straight to him. Liz lives with her husband Mike and two children, Olivia and Flint, in San Jose, CA, where she teaches regularly at the multiple campuses of WestGate Church.