In Spite of Me
I love Sundays. I love worship. But every now and then I will wake up on Sunday morning and think, “You know, I really don’t feel like leading worship today.” Or, “I really don’t want to be around people today.” Or some combination of the two. Still I know I have to get up, don the robe, and play the part, even if I don’t feel like it. When it is really bad, I just pray that no one notices the clenched jaw or the grinding teeth beneath the smile.
This does not happen too often, but this summer it has happened more times than I care to admit. Two Sundays ago was the worst. There was nothing really wrong, or at least nothing I could put my finger on to explain the feeling. I just did not want to be there. I did not want to preach. I did not want to smile. I did not want to sing. I did not want to pray. As I stood in my study alone in the moments before entering the sanctuary, I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Okay, God. If you want this to get done today, you’re going to have to do it. I just can’t.” At the time, I didn’t even consider that a prayer.
I cannot find words to adequately describe what happened in worship that day. It was almost like an out-of-body experience. As I led worship, I heard myself saying and praying words that I didn’t remember forming in my head. It was like I was an observer, a pew-sitter. I was hearing myself, my voice, but I knew it was not me. It was the most bizarre feeling. After worship I found myself wanting to ask different people, “Did you see what happened today?” Of course, I didn’t. They already think I’m nuts as it is.
God was in worship that day in powerful ways even though I had failed to show up spiritually or emotionally. Or maybe I noticed the Presence more keenly because I had failed to show up spiritually or emotionally.
Experiences like this are what help carry me through the dry spells.