Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.1 Timothy 2:8
O clap your hands, all peoples; Shout to God with the voice of joy.Psalm 47:1
God, I hear you. I read the words Paul wrote, and I hear what the Psalmist said, but there is this feeling in my stomach I get whenever I go to clap during a song. I know you remember, Lord, when I was in middle school. We were competing in a Bible bowl at a church in Rome, and one of the youth groups clapped, and I just knew that they were lost.
And God, I know you remember when we sung at the nursing home and I hoped that the man who would raise both of his hands while we sang would just stay in his room because it made me so uncomfortable. But God, I know that some of the most important people in my world right now love showing their thanks and enthusiasm for you in ways I am still uncomfortable with even though my perspective has changed, so I pray that you will help me to lift holy hands, clap, and shout with a voice of joy alongside them. Because of Your Son, Amen.
This last Sunday we had hosted a youth devotional. An awesome member of our group led people in clapping during a few of the songs. While I don’t think it’s wrong, I found it so hard to bring my hands together with him, but when I did it, I noticed that the other youth followed my lead. Then it hit me, me being a little uncomfortable is worth it if it helps give the kids permission to love God with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Though I’ve struggled with it up to this point, things are about to change. They look up to me too much for me to allow my inhibitions to get in the way. Being a leader in the church means being willing to look to others needs more than your own, especially if overlooking their needs leads to them feeling like they can’t be authentic when they worship.
To be honest, hearing them clap and shout for joy during one part of the song made my heart soar. And I was even a little jealous that I couldn’t freely do the same.
But it’s beyond time that I learn to be authentically me as well. And if that means being a little uncomfortable, then so be it.