A Fish out of Water
When I was in high school, I attended the Life Teen Leadership Conference at Notre Dame University with seven other teens from my parish. It was about a year after my conversion into the Church which made me feel a little like a fish out of water. I wasn't extremely knowledgeable about the Church and thought everyone else was some sort of master theologian compared to me. I wasn't sure if I knew how to pray as intensely as everyone around me and I was still focused on how I looked and sounded during praise and worship.
However, after spending almost a week with over 500 teens from around the country, I found God smashing through my self-doubt, insecurity, and fear. How He did that, though, resulted in one of my most embarrassing moments, as well as one of the most amazing experiences of my life so far.
Front and Center
On the last night of the conference, my group was late and we got to the meeting hall after most everyone had already gone in for a night or praise and worship and adoration. We didn’t want to sit all the way in the back row, far away from Jesus. So instead we decided to ignore the fire codes and sit at the very front . . . in the aisle.
Matt Maher was leading worship, over five hundred teens were singing and praying, and Jesus was literally right in front of me; but being at the front and center of the room made me feel as if all eyes were on me. I felt so much pressure to make sure I was doing everything “right.”
Get Over It
Adoration continued and I began to let go little by little. As I dove into prayer with the other 500 teens, Matt Maher encouraged us to vocalize our prayer and praises to God. Everyone around me was praying aloud and I wanted so badly to have the courage to shout out my love for God too, but I was so consumed by the idea that I would do it wrong or that people would think I was weird.
I stayed silent at first and continued to pray in my heart. I begged God for the courage to pray aloud and to help me get over my pride, self-doubt and fear. He definitely heard my prayers.
Here Goes Nothin'
After a while, I reached a point where I just felt so joyful, so courageous, and so in love with what God was doing in my heart, that I couldn't help but let it out. The music got really loud and everyone in the hall was singing and praying aloud.
This was it; I was going to do it!
With all my heart, I yelled (not said or whispered), 'TAKE ME GOD!!!'
It was the most beautiful moment I had ever experienced in my prayer life, I fully let go and begged God to take control of my life. However, half a second into proclaiming this wonderful prayer, I realized the music had abruptly quieted to a low hum, as did everyone else in the hall . . . except for ME.
I didn't know the song. I didn't know it was ending. I didn't realize that I yelled as loud as I could. And I certainly didn't realize that I yelled 'Take me God' in a Midwestern accent, despite being from Arizona.
I instantly dropped to the floor in a moment of utter embarrassment and began to regret ever attempting to pray out loud.
However, through the embarrassment, through my self-doubt and intense insecurity, the feeling and presence of God in my heart was outstanding. I realized there was nothing to be embarrassed about in front of the Lord. I had given my life over to Him, how could that ever be embarrassing?
You see, a life being lived for Christ is never boring and more importantly, God is funny. Hilariously funny. He knows exactly what we need to be broken out of our shells, to brighten our days and to make us realize that HE is God – not us.
So give it a try, let God have control of your life and enjoy the comedy that will surely follow.