Story: Hannah N. - as told to Holly Poole.
I met with Hannah, a college student at Southeastern Louisiana University studying music theory, about her experience in Redding, California at Bethel Church learning about and encountering worship in new and incredible ways through a two-week worship program, WorshipU. What she experienced at Bethel Church was far greater than a good church program. Hannah experienced an encounter with God that transformed her heart and her worship.
Hannah begins by telling me about her personal approach to worship before her week at Bethel Church. As a musician and Music minor, her approach was technical. She was looking at other musicians and listening for technique and style, unintentionally trying to “perfect worship.” She thought, “this music is going to God, it has to be perfect.” She found herself being hindered in her worship by this perfectionism. She states: “it’s not that I wasn’t worshiping; it’s just that I was constricted in my worship.”
During her stay at WorshipU, God began to show Hannah how worship was never supposed to be about music. Instead, it was designed to be an intimate time between the Creator and the created. Hannah explains worship this way: “at first, I want to push God away as I worship, because I hear Him say the words, “I love you; you’re beautiful.” And that doesn't feel right, because that's not how I've seen myself. But I don’t have to perform for Him. He already loves me. I can play the same bad chords, and He still loves me. It’s not about the music. Worship is not about playing an instrument or painting or dancing; it's all about the heart. He doesn't want a relationship with a flag or a guitar, he wants one with you. Everything we do is worship is not a Christian cliche. God really does see your heart at all times. Worshiping continually is what it means to live in the Holy Spirit, to leave your peace wherever you go - to leave some of your Holy Spirit that is living in you wherever you are.”
At WorshipU, God directed Hannah to a class called Breaking Off the Fear of Creativity. She believed that she was going to a music-oriented class that fit into her comfort zone, but instead it was an art class. Hannah explained that she had piano-hands, not painting-hands. She asked God if she should leave, but He told her that He had her there for a reason. The instructor asked the students to take out the blank piece of paper and paint what God allowed their hands to paint. She was uncomfortable with painting and began praying to God, explaining to Him about how much she was not an artist. He said to her, “I paint the skies everyday; I can paint your small piece of paper.”
God was saying, "I don’t need your talents and abilities to create something. I’ve got it." That’s worship.