Subscribe in a reader or enter your address to get posts via email: 
Like this blog on Facebook!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Hand Raising Styles (Worship, Part 3)

Maybe I'm too sensitive. I mean, I think it's really pretty funny, but... well, take a look for yourself and I'll save my comments for after:

The Cliff's Notes Version

Tim Hawkins is hysterical. And this bit is lots of fun; people have a great reaction to it. I've seen it on Facebook a number of times. It really does cover a lot of the "poses" you might see in church; Tim Hawkins clearly has been in a lot of those hand-raising type services (although I'm not sure he was the first one to give the poses names). I don't at all want to throw cold water on Tim's comedy bit or spoil anyone's fun. But this routine makes me a little bit nervous.

Nervous? Why? It's all humor, right? Of course it is, and if Tim reads this, I hope he understands that I've laughed like a nut at his stuff, and I laughed at this video too. But it makes me nervous because I find that I tend to be self-conscious.

There have been times when I was in worship, way before I ever saw this comedy routine, that I consciously thought about how I looked when I was raising my hands. What message am I sending, I thought, to the people around me? Do I look like I'm worshiping God right? Am I praise-y enough? Maybe I should raise my hands another half-inch or something so people know I'm really worshiping. I don't want to look like I don't love God enough! I know that was silly, and probably a little self-centered, but I'm being real with you here. Maybe no thoughts like that have ever gone through your mind, but they went through mine.

And they were totally ridiculous! Who am I raising my hands for, anyway? If it's not for God, then I should probably keep my hands in my pockets and just sing or pray or say "thank you Jesus" or whatever. Raising your hands shouldn't be a signal to those around you; it should be a sign of your love for God. It should be for Him. If that's not why you're doing it, then all you're really doing is making your arms tired.

But what does that have to do with a comedy routine? Well, the first time I saw this, after I stopped laughing (or actually, it might have even been while I was laughing), something occurred to me. The next time I am in worship, which pose will I be doing? Will I be carrying the baby or signaling a touchdown? Will the palm of my hand be pointing the right way? I've actually been present when people were debating the merits of having your palm facing forward ("surrender") or upward ("Abba Daddy!") Does it really matter? Of course it doesn't matter... except that it matters if you are thinking about the angle of your hand instead of communing with your Savior. I think there's a danger that having this in your head during worship time might present a distraction that folks just don't really need.

Of course, just the act of writing a blog like this one means that I'm probably doing the same thing. My post from a couple of days ago, for example, might wind up having you analyzing song lyrics during the service instead of just singing them and enjoying time with Jesus. I guess my point is that worship is a time that you should be spending worshiping, and anything that distracts you from that is something you need to kind of deal with. I broke away from worrying about whether my hands were at the right elevation by just realizing that I have no reason to care if someone likes where my hands are! So now,  raise when I want to raise, and I pocket when I want to pocket, and I do my best to have my love aimed at Jesus either way. Hopefully this whole blog post sounds like nonsense to you and you've never been self-conscious in worship - but if you're the person who still is, I encourage you to just forget about anything bu Jesus when it's time to praise Him. Because who cares what someone else things when you're loving Jesus?

Am I off my rocker with this? Is my Asperger's Syndrome getting the best of me? I'd like to hear from people who have wrestled with being self-conscious during worship, and people who never do have trouble with that. Join the discussion below in the comments section! 


J.R. said...

Yes, I have felt self-conscious like that many times. My usual solution is to pretend like nobody is around and just do what comes natural, and not do what is not natural because you don't want to seem unenthused during worship, but make certain it is authentic worship. I know, it becomes hideously difficult to let these things come natural once you think about them, doesn't it? And even the thoughts of making sure your motives behind the motions are Righteous can throw them off of being righteous. These sort of thoughts and ponderings could probably go on forever, so I suppose the less we focus on them, the more natural and authentic they will occur.
And yes, I do like the identification chart, but it is 100% humor. There is no truth to being able to judge a person's relation with God by what their hands are doing. For the Lord looks not at the things mankind looks at...

Justine said...

Do you really have Asperger's syndrome? And yes, I have felt this way...mostly as a teen.

TulsaMJ said...

Justine - I have not been formally diagnosed by a doctor as having Asperger's Syndrome, but based on my reading about it in the past year or two, I have so many of the signs that I don't have any doubt in my mind. I'm naturally so introverted that it never did show much, and as an adult I managed to adjust pretty well (thanks in no small part to people who were such kind friends in college that I was able to relax and learn how to interact socially with others! :) ) that people probably don't suspect. I never had the outward signs that would have made me seem really autistic (hand flapping, extreme sensitivity to touch, etc.) but I do have traits that I suspect are smaller versions of the same thing (I almost always have a knee bouncing, for example... I'm doing it right now).

I've considered going to a psychologist and being formally tested, but I'm not sure what benefit a diagnosis would give me, other than Aspie street cred. :)

Justine said...

Very interesting. I never would have guessed. I am pretty sure my husband has Asperger's (only after he passed did I learn enough about it to figure that out.) Tim is also on the spectrum, but he has lots of other issues, too. :)