Anyone here ever not met someone’s expectations? It’s a terrible feeling, isn’t it? I don’t really think it matters if it’s a boss or parent or spouse or friend – when someone expects something from you and you don’t deliver… for a lot of us, that’s a crushing feeling.
I wonder if in the Church, we end up setting people up to fail like that.
We expect people to be a certain way, to live their relationship with God the way we do. And when they don’t, we condemn them.
I went to a small Christian college (less than 2,000 kids). At this school, we were required to attend Chapel twice weekly. And most days, they’d open chapel with a few songs.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been part of a really emotive worship culture, but this school was just that. Almost as soon as the first guitar chord was played, kids all over the auditorium would raise their hands and start crying as they sang. That was how most of the students worshiped.
I’ve never been a super musically-expressive person. I’m more comfortable expressing myself in a mosh pit than by raising my hands and crying (but I was pretty sure the university would frown on worship mosh pits). So most chapel days, I just stood and sang.
I enjoyed the songs, I connected in the worship. I just didn’t raise my hands or cry.And I felt really guilty.
Most chapels, I wondered if there was something wrong with me. If I was missing some key spiritual component that kept me from “getting” whatever everyone had that made them want to raise their hands or cry.
And if my private guilt wasn’t bad enough, a friend of mine pulled me aside during my senior year and told me she was really disappointed in me because I was one of the religion kids and I was setting a bad example for all the younger students by not being engaged in the worship.
So there I was… stuck. I desperately wanted to be one of those people who raised their hands or cried during worship because they were so moved. People expected me to be moved. But I wasn’t. I could do those things, but they’d be fake. And I certainly didn’t want to fake it.
Have you ever been there? Felt this divide between who you know you really are and who you think you should be? You compare yourself to someone else and you come up lacking…
It’d be nice if we could have a montage like they do in the movies. The guy’s a weakling, so he trains. Weeks and months of training get squeezed into a couple of minutes over catchy song, and suddenly, he’s ready!
How cool would it be if we could have spiritual montages? I can’t read scripture like that guy does… montage! Suddenly I’m a bible scholar. I can’t pray like her… montage! Suddenly I’m healing disease and casting out demons left and right. I’m just not an emotional worshiper… montage! Suddenly I can’t listen to the radio in the car, because the moment a Christian song comes on the radio, I [raise arms].