I Don't Worship God Like That
So how much time do you spend in prayer? 10 minutes a day, 1 hour a day, 2 hours a day? I’ll stop there. Are you feeling guilty? Why is it whenever we come to talk about our personal devotional lives we feel guilty? “I don’t pray as much as I should,” “I could read more of my Bible,” “I just need to make more quiet time with God.” I imagine I’m not the only one who feels a burden of guilt when it comes to worship and prayer.
Which is ridiculous right? Worship and prayer is supposed to be the best thing around. I’m a Christian, I’m supposed to love worship.
The band have been leading the church in worship for the last 25 minutes, everyone around seems to be going for it, but for some reason I’m just thinking about the number of jobs I need to get done tomorrow, and how many more episodes of Suits I can watch when I get home. Don’t get me wrong, I was singing my heart out at first, particularly when the lyrics were particularly sound. But then I found myself in the usual conflict between striving to give my best to God in worship (my best is a heart attitude of striving, no one wants me singing louder!), and feeling exhausted and bored by it, and there’s the guilt again…
For too long, this was an all too familiar scenario. Until I had the most releasing revelation. It happened whilst reading…this is now a much more common experience. In Bill Hybels, Courageous Leadership (one of the best books ever! (after the Bible!)), he writes about what he calls spiritual pathways. Spiritual pathways are a combination of gifting and personality that illustrate how one most naturally engages with God. For some they feel most alive and closest to God when they are out for a walk in the countryside, for others it is when they are amongst friends, chatting and supporting each other. For others still, they feel like they are closest to God when they are moving the chairs or doing the washing up. These are all good things right, but are they worship?
Hybels breaks them down into the following categories:
- The relational pathway – being with others
- The intellectual pathway – having a fully engaged and challenged mind
- The serving pathway – doing something for others
- The contemplative pathway – solitude, quiet, reflection
- The activist pathway – Fast paced, busy lives
- The creation pathway – being amongst the natural environment
- The worship pathway – music, singing, playing, dancing
Do any of those appeal to you more than others? That is exactly the point. If you think one or two of those might be you, try it out, lean into it, seek God in that place in your life. There’s no hierarchy of holiness when it comes to this, God designed you and made you just the way you are.
When you look at this list, you might be tempted to say “I don’t worship God like that”. But the spiritual pathways aren’t to be used as an excuse. Whilst we all have our gifts and personalities, we are not perfect and we are not what we should be. In order to grow spiritually, we need to challenge ourselves and each of the pathways will open us up to more of God. Even if worship isn’t primary spiritual pathway, that’s no excuse to avoid attending church on a Sunday. Our faith is not just individual but corporate too, as we participate as members of the church. Likewise, if you are an activist, relational type, don’t be afraid to spend some time exploring your contemplative side, embrace the challenge of silence and stillness.
When I first came across the idea of spiritual pathways it was so releasing, not because it meant I no longer have to sing, but because it freed me to pursue God in the things I love, reading, study, alone time. Whatever it is for you, be free to seek God how you like, but do seek Him!