Relearning the Definition of Worship

After a crisis in spiritual identity and anxiety over worshipping the right way, God showed me the true definition of worship.

Arm raised in worship over dark background. Text: "relearning worship"
Post art created with Photography by Cherry Laithang on Unsplash

When I was younger, I had worried whether I was appearing worshipful enough in front of others and God. I’d question my intentions and feel nervous during worship time at church. I felt like I'd have to repent because I was not "getting" into the worship songs enough, raising my hands, or dancing like others.

I felt like an outcast, like I wasn't worshiping "correctly." Or that somehow I was flawed, or even worse — not His.

I had dealt with this insecurity to the point where anxiety swallowed me up for two years. I was crying out to God, "What am I doing wrong Lord? I thought I was saved; I thought I was being good enough for you; I thought..."

And this cycle went on-and-on until God truly humbled me.

Finding the meaning of worship

It was my 2nd year in college. I had joined a campus ministry to a week-long retreat.

Man, this retreat had pulled-out all the worship stops….

A full band on a large stage.

Eloquent speakers.

Projectors with state-of-the-art graphics.

Basically, everything a young Christian needed to experience that worship high.

It was day three of the conference, and I felt cold. The "fire" wasn't lit. I wasn't dancing like David before the Lord. Something felt off, and by all outward signs I wasn’t worshipping correctly.

I cried out to God again during an afternoon service: "Lord, what am I doing wrong? How come I'm not worshiping you correctly and getting into this awesome moment? Why am I not feeling your presence? How come I'm..."

It was then that God told me, loud and clear amidst the noise of my confusion: "Stop worrying about feeling passionate. Be passionate for Me."

I finally realized where I had taken the wrong turn: Much of my Christian walk and how I interpreted worship had been mostly self-centered. I had made worship about how I feel. And that’s a problem because, well… I can change.

But there’s One who does not.

Relearning the meaning of worship

That night, God continued to humble me. His holy presence made me face the sin I had been perpetuating. I had to seek His grace and mercy and find the only true peace I could find in Jesus, the anchor to my soul.

From that point on, I never viewed worship the same again. And by reading God's Word and experiencing His presence in my life, I've been relearning the meaning of worship.

True worship has nothing to do with my emotional highs or how much I can fit in with the crowd. It's not just about music. And it's definitely not about me.

Instead, it’s following God and obeying Him. First in my heart and spirit. Then through my external actions — all day, every day, year-round, in private, in public, and in my deepest thoughts.

1 John 3:18 powerfully states…

“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”

Even the most mundane details or frustrating moments of life I can offer to God as acceptable worship.

Let’s explore the meaning of worship together

So, in the coming months, I’m going to dive into the meaning of worship with you, offering practical insight from the Scriptures.

As well, it’s going to address related questions:

  • What is God’s will for us?
  • Is His will for our lives really that mysterious?
  • How do I know for sure if I’m “acting in God’s will”?
  • What does a life of faith look like?

So far, you’re hearing what God has taught me about worship. But what about you?

Please share what worship is to you. I’d love to feature your stories, insights, and wisdom each week during this series!

You can also email your insights to [email protected].

I am so excited about this upcoming series! Please pass it along to your friends and family.

🔥 Bonus Sauce!

This one has been on repeat for me. So good...

"You Keep on Getting Better" by Maverick City