“When I first met you, I saw you lifting your hands during that worship night. Not anymore. Why are you not ‘worshiping’ freely – are you worried about what people will think of you?”
Even worse, in my head, I was thinking – “Did he fake it – as if he is God-loving, because I was looking out for such a guy!”
I actually spoke the words above to my husband, in our early days of marriage. And I would get so worked up about it – Why is he not lifting his hands like the other men on stage? Why is he so stuck? I made a ‘law’ out of ‘worship’ and expected him to live up to my standards of ‘worship.’ Oh how vain and shallow it sounds! Thanks to the Holy Spirit who spoke to me through one of the books I was reading!
Here’s a revelation: “Men are consciously and unconsciously uncomfortable worshiping in an environment that looks like the inside of a day spa. And worship songs that tout another man (even if he’s omnipotent) as the ‘lover of my soul’ are not very palatable to most men.” (Rick Johnson)
No doubt men try their best to avoid the Pentecostal singing style, where we are raising hands all the time. Either they are busy finding the perfect place for parking, or setting hair in the car, or just walking as slow as possible from the parking place to the place of worship – they would do just anything to avoid the awkward lifting of hands, and expressing oneself so openly … as a woman would.
Now I know that few men have crossed that block in their minds and are able to express themselves through lifting of hands, or clapping, etc., but if you cast a majority vote – it’s not quite loved!
‘What about the guys leading worship on stage – see how expressive they are!’
Ya right, all of them have something in their hands – either a musical instrument or a mic to hold. Strip them of their instruments and most of them would be OK for one song, may be two, and very quickly would get so awkward, wondering what to do with their hands: either hands slip into the pockets, or they hold Bible in one hand, or just sit down elbows to knees, with face-down!
That’s why a “Men’s Seminar” fails big time, when you have filled the day with ‘worship sessions.’ I observed how very few lasted for one such seminar, thanks to a good speaker pre-lunch. Once the food was done with, many left – who would want to attend another hand-lifting, emotionally expressing-worship session for 30 minutes, and bear with it, and wait for another hour of message, again followed my ministry time (men read it as lifting-hands-emotional-time).
Just think about it – when you sit and crib that your man is not being emotionally expressive, in a public environment, when most of them around him are not even acquaintances, you are the one being insensitive and vain, and quite shallow.
Rick Johnson, talking about Christian manhood says, “One area that we need to be aware of in Christian manhood is behavior-based performance. Many men I know have the attitude, ‘If all God is interested in is how I behave, then I’m not very interested in God.'” Holy behavior does have its place in a man’s spirituality, but “behavioral Christianity” lacks depth and it not attractive to most men, he adds.
So true! How can I limit the worship experience to just singing in that half-hour time slot in church? When did worship get limited to just music? God is looking for worshipers, and not just “worship” apart from the worshiper. I remember listening to that statement by Pastor Zack Cherian and going ‘Ya, that is correct – he is seeking for worshipers.’ Jesus says, in John 4:23, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” (Emphasis mine)
We act like we have to give God our “worship” packaged in few fast and slow songs, and judge our spirituality and that of others, by how well we do the drill! I am a worshiper 24/7 – now that don’t mean I go around lifting my hands while driving the car! A life of surrender speaks volumes about worship!
If you know me, I’m very expressive during singing. And that’s the way I am. I remember, once, leading worship at a seminar, and wondering why the main speaker (male) wasn’t lifting his hands. I mean, seriously, that’s all I could come up with?? From stage?? While leading worship?? How shallow!
Ladies, if your man wants to express himself, let him do so, but if he is not – that doesn’t have to do anything with his walk with God. Don’t judge him based on his performance for that half-hour of “praise and worship” in church.
I recollected, later, that Mark was actually quite expressive in a small group meeting, and he closes up in a big church service. Even that time when I spotted him lifting his hands, was when the service was almost getting over, and few were lingering around, and he was right at the back, in some corner, enjoying himself. He is not very vocally expressive about what he believes in a crowd, but one thing I have noticed and loved – once God speaks to him about something, it is done deal.
Wanna know what men think? I picked a few of the best lines. (Picked from “Becoming Your Spouse’s Better Half”)
If my wife understood how boring church is, she wouldn’t nag me to go all the time.
Most of the men I meet in church are passive and uninspiring.
I’m uncomfortable in church, and they do embarrassing things like sing and hold hands.
I cracked up reading the last line. LOL! Seriously, when we were asked to hold hands – that’s like OK. Then they instruct us to lift them up, together with others, with your left-side neighbor being taller than your right-side neighbor – and you look really funny with one hand high and the other low!! Even I find it quite awkward. Even I would make people do that! But if I’m in the crowd, I’m wondering “Alright, I held hands, and now I lifted them up together with my neighbors. Now, how long am I supposed to keep them lifted – until my hand aches, and I slowly drop it, or till my neighbor’s hand comes down, or when both are hands are actually sweating. Someone, please tell us when to put our hands down!!!”
We can nourish our men by speaking words that heal instead of words that hurt. Appreciate the little things he does as a spiritual leader at home, and let him know you look up to him.
These are words that hurt: (From the book)
Why don’t you ever come on time for “worship” (Oh please ban that line)
Don’t you know what a poor example you’re setting for the kids?
You don’t go to church because you’re lazy!
I wish you led devotions in our home like her husband does
I changed the way I speak about this to Mark. And the Holy Spirit helps me to pick the right words, words that heal and not hurt. As for me, my husband is free to ‘escape’ singing if he wants to. I just like him to sit with me, during the service and he always does, and we get ‘talk-points’ later. But when the speaker is totally out of whack, we get up and leave, and chat with our friends, and I don’t feel one bit guilty about that. I rather be real than fake. At times, when we feel sleepy because either the speaker is boring or we didn’t rest well the night before, we prefer walking up for a bit than snoring there in the pews, or acting like we’re listening!
We women think we are the ones who have the most pressure in running the family. Thanks to the TV serials – they reinforce that thinking. Pick one successful regional drama on Indian television, that actually has the man as the head of the house!!
Men are also equally pressurized. They just don’t show it. Pressure to provide, to be the perfect husband, perfect dad, perfect neighbor, perfect worker at work – he is under the pressure, by society, by family, to constantly perform and live up to his ‘manhood’ all the time. Now the last thing you wanna do lady, is add the pressure of “worship” to it!
A man’s spirituality is really different from that of a woman. He gets influenced more by your example, than your nagging words. And if you can provide an atmosphere where he can rest and relax (performance-free), you are actually helping him to be in a place where he can freely receive from God!