Story: Hannah N. - as told to Holly Poole.
Last year, I interviewed Hannah about her experience at Bethel's WorshipU Conference in Redding, California. This year, Hannah has actually moved to Redding and is now studying worship at Bethel College! I asked her to update us on her new season of life - one of great changes, learning experiences, and a lot of fun (I mean, moving to Cali for Bethel's Supernatural School of Ministry!? Uhh, take me with you!!!).
"I think a lot of times while Christians read the Bible and have personal relationships with Jesus, there's still always some hint of 'yeah God CAN do that, but WILL He do that for ME?'"
Hannah: "So, honestly it's only been 3 1/2 weeks into school and already a lot of transformation has happened. Mostly because they dive straight in, not wasting anytime. Prior to school starting, [the] Holy Spirit has been stretching my faith in literally every way possible - financially, jobs, housing, friendships/community. It's crazy but all in a good way. I can honestly say that at this point, I do not doubt God's ability for anything, and that's something that I wasn't sure I would ever be able to say. I think a lot of times while Christians read the Bible and have personal relationships with Jesus, there's still always some hint of "yeah God CAN do that, but WILL He do that for ME?" And, just a testimony of faith in His ability to provide. I lived here for a month without a job or any sort of financial income, which was absolutely terrifying at first. But, I was like, "Okay God. You brought me here and You're not going to abandon me because that's not who You are. Your literal nature is to provide abundantly because You love me." Long story short: after I told God that, my friend messaged me about selling her Faith Like a Mustard Seed necklaces and giving all the profit to me for tuition or expenses. I made a video explaining it to everyone; posted it on my Facebook page, and took a shower. Within the time it took for me to get a shower, I already had emails from one place asking me to schedule my orientation to start ASAP. Then while filling out the application, I got a phone call from another place to interview that night. I left the interview with a job. The next morning I woke up and was called in for another job. I went to that interview, left and called my mom super overwhelmed with God's faithfulness. I had to hang up with her because someone else was calling to ask me to come in for yet another job interview. Within 24 hours, I had four job offers, and was put in the position of choosing the ones I wanted. God hears every word we speak, and cherishes them. We are His absolute delight. When He provides for us, we are put in a position where we know without a shadow of a doubt who our dad is."
"That was just a nice prelude to what school was actually going to hold. I have never fully walked in confidence of my identity as a daughter of the King of all creation. Because of the realization of His overwhelming love and how much He cherishes us as sons and daughters, I have been able to see change in the way I carry myself and the way I communicate with others. It's crazy. And while total transformation has yet to occur, and there's still "ick" we are working on, I know that if I were to return home at this point, I still would be totally not the same."
"As far as worship goes, when there's a complete understanding of our identity, then there's sooooooo much freedom in worship."
"Also! As far as worship goes, when there's a complete understanding of our identity, then there's sooooooo much freedom in worship. You can't help but get lost in worship for hours at a time because you aren't striving to reach some goal. Worship is no longer mapped and planned out to the minuscule details, but it's this beautiful interaction because a God who delights in every word you speak and in turn you delight in every word He speaks."
To read the last year's interview with Hannah on worship + Bethel's WorshipU Conference, read below!
If you would like to keep up with Hannah and her journey, check out her blog: click here!
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.