I’ll never forget the first time Richard and I went to church together when we were dating. I was super nervous.
It was silly really, but I was wondering how each of us would respond during the music. Will he raise his hands? Will I?
What if I get super emotional because of something the pastor says? (I’m known to do that a little bit.)
Should I hold his hand? Should I not? Will that distract him from worship, or me?
Yes, I’m aware I need a support group for over-analyzers!
I really did not need to worry about any of that stuff because Richard pulled out a sketchbook and drew the ENTIRE time of the service. Oh, he was attentive and kind to me but clearly this was the way he did things in church.
It bothered me at first. I was used to seeing people jot notes down from the sermon in their journals. I was one of those people with the smoke coming from their pen as I wrote things word for word down before the next slide went up.
But Richard was doodling…or so I thought.
I have since learned that Richard worships through drawing.
It is how his heart is unlocked and opened wide in response to God. Through each pen stroke he is connecting with his loving Creator. He even prays through the art of drawing.
A sketch to Richard is like a song or words to my heart.
When worship music is on, I find myself ushered into the presence of God. With journal open, and pen at the ready, I sing and write often simultaneously while responding to God. It is how I relate to Him and listen to what He wants to teach me.
Richard and I could not be more different in our worship styles but we both are connecting and hearing from God in ways that we LOVE.
And we are not the first. I love the way Gary Thomas, author of Spiritual Pathways, says it:
Abraham built altars. David danced and wrote psalms.
Mary sat adoringly at Jesus’ feet. John the Baptist fasted
and Peter’s mother-in-law served.
All of these spiritual heroes worshiped God in different ways.
If Richard and I worship God differently, there is a good chance our children might respond to God in their own way too.
As both my kids are getting older, this is becoming more and more clear to me.
Their unique personalities are shining through. They each have their own learning style when it comes to the classroom, and I’m seeing they definitely have their own spiritual temperament as well.
Unfortunately, I look back on some very frustrating “family worship times” when I believe we could have experienced more learning and fun if I would have been attuned to the way my kids relate to God. I was doing things “my” way of worship and not understanding why they were not responding.
A friend introduced me to Gary Thomas’ book, and I began asking the Lord to help me SEE the ways my children responded to the things of Him.
Often times I am consumed with how I want to do devotion times, but I asked God to help me let go of “my way” and try new things…things that might not mean as much to me but bring about worship from my kids.
That was about six months ago.
Since then, I have seen that my daughter loves to act out stories from the Bible. She loves her playlist of worship songs and for Mommy to make up stories where I actually make her the main character doing all of these courageous and faithful things.
My son loves to be outside and dig. He likes his hands busy with building Legos or even drawing while he is listening to a story. He also likes to ask questions and talk about every detail of a Bible story. We have had the sweetest conversations encouraging him in his young faith on the swings at the park.
They both are so different but when they are relating to God in their unique way, there are two amazing rewards–
SINCERE WORSHIP (from their hearts)– and for Richard and I, the pleasure of watching our children enjoy God.
I want you to experience these rewards too friends!
If this is something you have never thought about before, I was right there with you half a year ago. There are nine spiritual temperaments that Gary Thomas talks about in his book that will help get you thinking about different ways of worship.
A great place to start is to consider how you relate to God best and encourage your spouse to do the same.
Pray. Ask God to show you the ways your kids respond to Him.
It’s the beginning of a new school year–a great time to start something new! Tell your kids you are going to try some new things as a family this year. Then plan some fun family “worship” time together–get outside and go for a walk, have a dance party, do a science experiment, build together, act, sing, play, study, learn!
Then wait on the Lord to show you how your kids respond and what they love to do. Was there an activity where great conversation came about or you noticed connections being made in their heart as a result of “doing” that thing?
Help them realize the way God made them for worship too. When I noticed my kids were specifically enjoying our family devotion times I would encourage their worship styles. “It looked like you were really enjoying that song. You were having a good time worshiping God!”
Now, I make an effort to seek out ways I can encourage my kids to worship God in their own, unique, heart-felt ways. And I try and do that for myself too.
I love the thought friends of each one of us and our families, with hearts unlocked, opened wide in response to worship our great and loving God!