Sometimes I Feel Nothing
It’s not uncommon for me to get emotional while leading a song or sharing something from my heart during our worship services at Mercy Commons. Music has always been a primary mode of expression for me, and so there are these moments where I am flooded with an overload of emotions that I haven’t always found a way to keep in check. This combines with nerves, sometimes tiredness, and often the overwhelming feeling that I am totally and completely unqualified to be leading worship — and yet God is using me — and turns into a public display of emotions that I never intended.
Every time this happens, my first reaction is one of embarrassment and regret. It’s not that I am ashamed to show emotion but just afraid that it may get in the way. I always aim for authenticity, but I never want what is happening in me to manipulate others into a false sense that this is how they are supposed to be responding in this moment too.
In all of life, it’s the heightened moments that are the most memorable. It’s the mountain-tops and valleys, the tears of joy and tears of sorrow that dominate our memories over the steady and seemingly mundane moments that make up most of our time on earth.
The truth is that sometimes I feel nothing when leading worship. In fact, I’d guess that more often than not, I feel nothing. Whether it’s a portion of a worship service, the whole worship service, or even whole seasons of leading worship where I am simply not moved to a point of an emotional response.
In these times, it’s not that I am not genuine in what I am saying or singing. I’m not faking it or stifling my emotions. I am simply engaging in a practice. A rhythm. A discipline.
It is this practice that keeps me connected to God and to a community of people that are aiming to do the same. It is this rhythm that keeps my faith from drifting so far that I can no longer see the ways of Jesus before me. It is this discipline that reminds and teaches me the importance of faithfulness no matter what the circumstance.
This notion of practicing our faith has me thinking about other aspects of my life that need more of a rhythm, and more discipline. It has me wondering what this can mean for us as a church community.
How can we engage in other regular practices together? What are some disciplines that we all acknowledge are good and beneficial to us and the ways in which we reflect Gods love to those around us? Can we use our time together to practice the things we learn and talk about? Can we move into action as a whole on a regular basis?
I think we can learn from some of the other world religions and philosophies when it comes to these ideas. We can learn from the Buddhists in their ability to rise above circumstances and maintain peace through a life-long practice of regular mediation. We can learn from the Muslims who have created a rhythm of prayer each and every day. We can learn from the activists who stand up for the broken and mistreated through relentless and ongoing self-sacrifice.
We should ultimately continue to strive to be more like Jesus who taught and showed us all of these things. Through His example, we see the benefits that regular practices and disciplines have on us personally and on the world as a whole. These practices and discipline are not legalistic in nature. They are not our ticket to a magical city above the clouds when we die. They are part of living in the way of Jesus. And that way is best; for us and for everyone around us. Right now and for eternity.
Jesus’ invitation to his disciples was to follow Him. It was an invitation to both believe that He is the Messiah and live out His ways. There are a lot of ways we can live out our faith, but it takes practice. And practice has to happen regularly for it to have an impact. When you descend to the depths of life, it is the regular practice and established rhythms that will provide a lifeline and allow you to walk out of the darkness and into the light.