I went to the Hillsong concert out at City of Grace in Mesa last night and unfortunately didn’t enjoy it all that much. Maybe it’s just my own legalism but I really struggled to get my heart in the right place to worship.
First off, there were a ton of people there, which is cool. I’m all for God’s people gathering together by the thousands to worship. The problem for me came with… I guess you could call it the style of worship. I’ll explain. If you’ve ever been to see Hillsong you know that it’s nothing short of extraordinary. Huge band with a bunch of singers, state of the art lighting and sound technology and fog to boot. When the MC got up to start the night off he made a comment about how this wasn’t a concert but it was a worship experience. But to me, if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck… It’s probably a duck.
Now I’m not bashing concerts or even Hillsong for that matter. The whole purpose of the post is an examination of my own heart. Why couldn’t I get into it? Why couldn’t I step in and allow my heart to be consumed by thoughts of God rather than sit on the outside as a spectator and critique the event like a fly on the wall?
The critique in me tends to come through overpoweringly during events such as this. For a long time I struggled to listen to almost anyone preach because my mind was just waiting for them to say something I disagreed with. As soon as this inevitably happened I disregarded the entire message. The same thing happens for me with worship. First I scrutinize the equipment being used and the way that the sound is mixed. Then my mind wanders to the people on stage and the way they are dressed and how they present themselves on stage. I also get distracted observing those around me and their responses to the music. My mind spends so much time analyzing and critiquing the sound quality and the “performers” that I fail to turn my critical brain toward the heavens.
It’s amazing what can stand between me and God. Something so simple. Lights, song choice, the worship leaders haircut, whatever. I allow it to hinder my worship. At a concert like Hillsong there is an ample supply of potential distractions and last night I let them all in. I feel like I’m constantly over stimulated by distraction, weather it’s in worship or in prayer time or daily reading. Day to day life with our commercialized, fast paced lives can get simply ridiculous. I’ve always struggled to calm down my brain and focus it on the task at hand, specifically when it comes to God. Meditation has always been a weakness and my success in the area seems to ebb and flow over time. My guess is though, that I’m not the only one.
Obviously I’m not an expert when it comes to meditation but I think that, at least for me, the answer is time. I have to slow myself down, relax, and intentionally focus my mind on Christ. That process does not come naturally, nor does it come quickly and in my busy life I fail to take the time to chill out way too often. I’m definitely going to work on it this week and if you guys have any personal tricks that help you quiet down your mind I’d love to hear them.