It's Sunday night and the lights are low. The drummer beats steadily and the guitarist strums along while people around me sing. Their hands are up and their hands are by their sides. Some of them are clapping, some are crying. Still others are sitting, praying. The guy next to me is standing barefoot, coffee in hand. I sing quietly and watch, taking each person in. The twinkle lights outside dance in the breeze, shining little bright spots upon us.
This is our church. There are quiet worshippers and outgoing worshippers and there is everything in between. There is rocking, swaying and clapping. There is sitting, standing, jumping. There are hands up in the air and hands on hearts and hands being held. Everything goes when Housefires sings on Sunday nights.
When I first started attending our church, I felt kind of nervous during worship.
At that point in my life, I'd always been a quiet worshipper - a stand and swing and sway type of girl. My friend Megan, who grew up in our church, said it best one night when she reminded me that, just because some people want to put their hands in the air and shout doesn't mean we all have to.
We don't all have to be the same or feel pressured to do it a certain way. Just because it's how some people connect with the Lord doesn't mean it's how I do.
I thought about it this week as I held out my own hands, more comfortable these days with a little bit more expression. I thought about how Megan's thinking is something we should apply to our lives more broadly.
When I stopped worrying about what the people around me were doing, my own experience became so much better. When I stopped looking around, comparing, wondering if I should be doing this or that, the entire process got a lot sweeter. I found freedom in it.
And this is life. When we stop looking at what others are doing and, instead, go where we're called, live how we feel led and let go of comparison, we find more joy. More sweetness. More freedom. We are awakened.
For some of us, that means living with our hands up and open. For others, it means sitting quietly in prayer. For some of us, it means we're probably barefoot. For all of us, it means a life of more freedom and more joy. It means letting go of comparison and living wholly and fully in the life that was designed for us.