Posted by Darlene Zschech on 10 February 2015

When I think about authenticity and worship, I think about the ‘especially wicked sinner’ who Luke describes in Luke Chapter 7. When learning that Jesus Himself was at the Pharisee’s house, she broke out of the rules of the day, broke out of the shame of her past and present life, broke out of the emotional turmoil she would have experienced... and broke through into her Savior’s presence, and without realizing it, found herself forgiven, peace filled and walking into a new day.

But that’s the way it is with Jesus. You’ve got to open up your heart first, and trust Him enough to know that God is for you, not against you, and that perfection is not a requirement from Him of our worship; He is just asking for truth.

I’ve always called this woman the extravagant worshipper because she responded with her whole self, and this is what authenticity is all about. You see, authenticity in worship requires a letting go of me, to embrace all of Christ and His reality in our midst. But it is not until you are willing to go there that you will truly ever experience the fullness of what worship is all about.

As a child, I grew up singing and dancing on a kids TV show. We were taught to smile and keep going, no matter what was happening. We were taught to perform and not to allow our emotional life interfere with a flawless performance. And then at 15 I met Christ, and I fell head over heels in love… and everything changed. My heart had come out of a cage, everything looked and sounded different to me, even at such a young age. And when I walked into a church music suddenly made sense to me. I saw it being transformed into worship through it being sung and played by people who genuinely loved Jesus and lived to bring Him thanksgiving.

For me however, I had to stop singing altogether for a while, as the performer in me was so well taught that I would sing songs of worship, but my heart just would not engage. For it to be involved, I knew I would have to get vulnerable… and this would not make for perfect music. There was one beautiful morning, however, while I was praying and listening to my God that I heard Him speak clearly to me for the first time: you don’t need to perform for me... I love you.

And that was that. Every time I opened up my lungs to bring songs of praise, I wept. My best girlfriend asked me one day if I was ever going to stop crying. I said, ‘I don’t know... I hope so.’ This kept going for almost two years.

But through that time the walls around my heart - that had been established through hard knocks in life, disappointment, a desire to please people etc - had been melted away in the presence of the Lord. And the result? Authenticity. Not only in worship but in life. I knew that I was bought with a price, never for sale, loved immeasurably, and that I was created for His pleasure, with purpose and destiny written all over me.

So to be honest, there have been many times when my passion for Christ when I sing has made others uncomfortable. People would have preferred me to ‘tone in down a little’, not move around so much. But for me, I once was lost, and now I’m found, was blind but now I see. I sincerely pray I never forget what it was like to be lost, lonely, frightened and disconnected from the Author of life itself, because it’s not until you’ve been tied to a lost experience that you can truly know, value and appreciate the wonder of being found, and living whole. Let’s be people who work hard on our craft because we want to give everything to our God, and bring the excellence with the passion and commitment that authenticity requires.

How do you stir up authenticity in your own life? Just remember what it was like before Christ, and start there… bringing your song of thanksgiving to the here and now. Allow your heart to be moved in His presence. You may even cry a little (or a lot), but tears are a part of God’s design for us as we get down to the core of who we are. The lyrics of your songs may change, the way you approach your day may change, the way you serve, the way you speak, the way you think, the way you pray... all of this will be challenged when you truly open up to the possibilities of living in the truth of all God is speaking to you right now.

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