I sang with Josh this morning in service. I get to do this on a regular basis on Sunday evenings, but this morning was extra special. I also, somehow, managed not to look at my music as much as normal. I have this bad habit of reading the words to songs I already know. I was talking to the pianist, and she, too, struggles with playing what’s not written. But today, we were both surprised at what we were capable of doing, when we looked away from our “scripts” (or in her case, when not all of her music was available to her).
I was thinking of “scripts” in the context of being a Christ-follower. Another, much younger, friend of mine was sharing with me that she struggles with associating her faith with being a good person. She is a “good” person. She’s kind to all fellow students, encouraging, modest, disciplined in her studies, and so on. She is good at following a “script” of what a “good Christian” is supposed to be. But, she is feeling like her faith is shallow, and her understanding of the heart of God is weak. I was challenged by her vulnerability, because I, too, struggle with letting the “script” determine how I live out my faith…often resulting in a monotone, over-acted, even fake portrayal of what engaging with Jesus looks like.
Back to this morning. Not reading the lyrics allowed me to engage with God way more than if I were peering at the screen. It enhanced my corporate worship experience. Now, how does this translate to my everyday, dealing with difficult situations, pay the bills, poopy diapers and smashed fishy crackers type of worship? I’m thinking that this kind of worship could also be enhanced by going “off script”. The script I systematically pull out that tell me what I should look, act, feel, do as a (Christ-follower, wife, daughter, mom, sister, friend, voter, consumer, blah, blah, blah…) is the same script that binds me, and puts limits on what God can do through me.
Like my young friend, I have this habit of making sure I’m doing the right thing, at all times…and ultimately at the expense of experiencing the authentic struggle, doubt, joy, and peace of encountering Christ. Oh, and when I can go “off script”, that’s when I encounter God’s most beautiful gift of grace. No doubt I missed a few words and entrances during this morning’s service, but a congregation of friends showed me grace, and I was able to freely move in and out of harmonies, and hug the melody way more than if I were locked in on the lyrics.
So, I’m going “off script” this week. And so thankful that God will show me grace, and also allow me to fall, learn, grow, and be an improv player in His story of redemption.