The last section of Step 4 (Inventory) was about our church experience. In many ways, I have very few issues ragarding the church. I've been through several church splits and I'm not pain free, but for the most part, the church has been a place of ministry and encouragement. As we discussed the topic, I realized that although I love my church, it really isn't a place I worship. It's a place I serve, and I delight to see what God does as we work together. I suppose, I worship as I rejoice to see what He does, but worship is rarely a part of my own experience there.
Don't get me wrong, our church has an amazing worship team. Not only are they unbelievably talented, they love the Lord and their worship is heartfelt and wonderful. It's just that I have come to enjoy my own private worship time with the Lord so much. That evening, when I wistfully pined to My Father, puzzled about "missing out" on the "experience" of corporate worship, He graced me with an amazing evening of passionate, graceful worship. I felt a tinge of discomfort about being swept away in the emotion of the evening and feared the emptiness afterward, but there was none. As a teenager, I often found that these passionate experiences would be followed by the day to day frustrations, and I felt unchanged. I came to distrust these experiences for that reason, but my every day experience is very different than it was then. The passion and power I experience (and need) continually has an intensity of its own that individual experiences cannot match.
These day-to-day experiences with Christ, in the Word, in my own heart, in each and every moment do continually transform me. I have serious trust issues. Although my parents loved and cared for me, they were human and have failed me. I've struggled to work in teams because I would often have to carry the majority of the burden because other team members couldn't keep up (or I couldn't let go). John is human as well and although he is trustworthy in the practical affairs of life, he doesn't always know how to help me feel loved. We have experienced great loss through the years and I have just as frequently let myself down. Day by day, Jesus reveals Himself as trustworthy and little by little I learn to truly rely on Him. As I let my guard down to Him, He comes through and His rescue is amazing and elicits my profoundest worship. These are the worship experiences that transform me. He has wooed me tenderly, gently in the way I my heart needs to let down its defenses. I am smitten. This type of worship has become richer through the years. We have had breathless experiences together in the midst of thousands of worshipers. We have had quiet moments in a dirty kitchen. I'm loving every minute.