This week, guest blogger Josh Howard shares his journey with worship.

I love worshiping God with music. I love that our passion and thankfulness can be expressed instantly through song. I love that chords and melodies were created to move the heart in such a way as to bring it to a place of encountering beauty. I love that beats and rhythms provoke movement and freedom and that art in its entirety was created to give us connection to the creator. I love worshiping, but I didn’t used to.

I grew up in a church environment and become a follower of Christ aged 7. I viewed church as a boring place that I was supposed to attend but drew the line at participating in worship. To me worship made no sense, it was a group of people singing a load of stuff that God already knew. Why did God need or want to hear a song about His holiness? He’s not that forgetful or needy that He needs to constantly be reminded in song. This rationale coupled with my dislike towards anything that could possibly draw attention to myself meant that worship “just wasn’t my thing”.

As I’m writing this blog I’m reminded of the story of David returning the ark of the covenant in 2 Samuel 6. The ark of the covenant was the place where God met humanity throughout the Old Testament, and David was returning the Ark back to Jerusalem. David’s response to being in God’s presence was to worship with sacrifices, shouts and dancing. David’s wife Michal saw him from her window “and despised him in her heart.” I was like Michal: a spectator to the worship of others. The point of worship seemed stupid because I only ever viewed it from the outside. This attitude that I had held onto for my entire Christian life changed in the space of an hour. I went to a Christian conference, a man spoke, a band played, God revealed himself as my father and in one moment I went from living like Michal to living like David. I couldn’t help but respond to encountering a God who showed me so much love. I learnt that as a spectator worship seems foolish but once in the presence of God worship seems like the only option.

From that moment, my entire outlook on musical worship changed, but what didn’t change in an instant was my fear to express myself in front of others. I knew that a God who gave so much to be with me deserved unashamed, unrestrained worship, but I was afraid. He was gracious. He took me by the hand and taught me to overcome fear, my desire was to give Him something but true to His nature He out gave me. As I began to step out and expand my expression of love for Him, He came and set me free, free from the fear of “what people might think” and free from the lies I’d believed about what worship should look like.

My journey has only just begun. I pray that every time I express my love to my creator that I would walk into the freedom He has made for me, that my worship wouldn’t be withheld by fear but would flow freely from a heart that’s ever thankful.

What is your experience with worship?