Are you too private about your worship?
Posted May 10, 2016
If you worship God, do your friends and family members know that you do? Do they see you worship or hear about your experiences while you worship? Maybe it’s a deeply personal time for your spiritual rejuvenation and you don’t share or tell. Is it possible that your worship could be enhanced merely by letting others know that you do it?
Some of us are private about our worship because of our personalities. More reserved people often don’t try to intentionally keep things from others about their worship, but they aren’t broadcasting them either. Some people might feel a very real risk of persecution or judgment, especially if they feel their way of worshipping isn’t popular with their peers. Or some may be embarrassed to let others know why or when they worship, either out of lack of commitment to their religion, or lives that are not in harmony with what others know of their beliefs.
I don’t think we need to brag about or keep score with people about our religious practices; on the contrary -- it’s good to be humble and reverent and not "doing alms before men,” so to speak. But in everyday conversation with trusted friends and family, why not mention how you feel about a particular blessing that day, or your acknowledgement of the way you've seen God working in your life? By doing so, you may just bless the lives of people you had no idea needed to hear you simply express your gratitude to God through open acknowledgement of His gifts, or by a simple truth you came to understand.
A few months ago, I was at a place of worship for my faith. I ran into a sweet friend and we were exchanging loving greetings. I asked her how she was and I’ll never forget her response: “Isn’t it glorious? Being here in the same place, thinking the same things and feeling the same feelings?” It really was something I needed to hear. She was exactly right. On a day that I was burdened with burnout, worry, fear and discouragement, my kind friend shared a little pearl of wisdom with me. It was a provocative question and one that I’m still pondering today. Her happy declaration lifted my spirits, gave me my smile back and lightened my burden. How could she have known? What if she had thought those things only to herself -- those simple, yet profound feelings of gratitude and awe for what we feel when we come to gather in that holy place?
Two years ago, I found myself in the hospital, about to undergo a serious procedure. I was a little anxious, but felt confident about going through with it. I really had no choice — the situation was out of my control. Before the doctor and his team started to work on me, I asked them if we could pray. It felt a little awkward for a few seconds, but after they agreed and I offered my simple and humble prayer, there was a different feeling in the room. It was happier; more peaceful. My relationship with my doctor, who is not of my same faith, grew in a mutual respect. Most of all, I felt happy because I had asked them to pray with me. Many friends I told about it felt I was crazy, saying they could never do that and asking, "Wasn’t it just a little 'weird?'” No -- It felt liberating, mutually respectful because I had asked for permission, and full of love and compassion. It felt like God Himself kissed the entire scene with his smile.
The way and how often we worship is a personal matter — deeply personal. But there are aspects of it that we can share, and should share, when we feel inspired, that can help lift and bless those around us. Maybe a little dose of your faith can help someone else. So be careful with how tightly you hold your practice of your faith to your chest. It is meant to be shared.
Gina Holt is a Utah native and happily married mother of two. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.