Hey there, Going Beyonders!
This is Rachel Anne Ridge, remember me?? I wrote regularly for this blog several years ago, and every now and then I love to pop back in to say hello and share what’s on my heart. I’ve missed y’all!!
Each Christmas when my daughters were younger, my husband Tom always gave them special chocolates. Meghan usually got her favorite Ferrero Rochers – the kind with a hazelnut in the center, and Lauren loved getting an assortment of Swiss chocolates, especially the ones with gooey caramel inside.
Each girl operated on her unique “Chocolate Philosophy.” Lauren’s philosophy was “No time like the present.” She unwrapped her chocolates with eager relish— enjoying the luxury of eating as many as she wanted at one time. Her candy was usually gone before the New Year—every piece a morsel of goodness. Meghan, on the other hand, had the philosophy of “No matter how bad I want a chocolate today, there will be another day I’ll want it worse.” Each piece was deliberated over, unwrapped slowly, and savored with care. She loved knowing there was a small stash of chocolates on hand for “just the right” occasion.
We had many laughs over the dueling Chocolate Philosophies. What’s even funnier is that over time, Meghan learned to dive in with reckless abandon and eat chocolate like there was no tomorrow. Lauren discovered the art of delayed gratification and now sometimes forgets to finish her package! Both young women still love eating chocolate just as much as when they were children, but their tastes, attitudes, and approaches look different now that they are older.
I am reminded of how often we approach worship with different operating philosophies. For example, some of us come to church wanting all the volume, all the freedom, all the lengthy music sets we can get, while others come hoping for quiet, contemplative music with long interludes of silence. Still others feel their worship service isn’t complete without an organ and hymns, and others find that a gospel choir brings a little bit of heaven to earth. Each one savors the “chocolate” in their own way. Each one loves their worship style and wonders what the other could possibly see in their preferred style.
In reality there is no right or wrong way to enjoy chocolate. And there is no right or wrong way to enjoy worship. I’ve found that as I’ve gotten older, certain styles of worship now appeal to me in ways I couldn’t fathom as a young believer. I’ve come to realize that “worship philosophies” are often simply personal preferences for a way to “unwrap” the experience of meeting with God and other believers.
It’s good to remember that there is something for everyone. If you find yourself sitting in a worship service that isn’t your “worship philosophy” operating system, rather than complain about it…look around. Notice how that style is ministering to others and rejoice. See how Jesus meets people where they are and look for ways to be part of a type of worship that challenges your inner critic.
You just might find that your operating philosophy will change and grow in unexpected ways. The bottom line is, it’s ALWAYS time for chocolate (can I get an AMEN!)…and it’s ALWAYS time for worship, no matter how it’s unwrapped.