well, i just got home from impact 2006 yesterday..and..wow. i am struggling to find any other word to describe impact this year. it was incredible. fantastic. life-changing. shocklingly refreshing...anyway, as most of you know, the impact theme this year was "the story". now i'll admit, upon first hearing this theme, i had my doubts. i actually thought that it wouldn't be any good at all. but as soon as we got there, my mind was completely changed. it was awesome. best theme ever. morning impact, evening impact, the devo's, the classes, the lessons, everything..it was incredible. but what really changed my life at impact was the worship. the worship at impact always has a huge effect on me spirtually, but this year it was like no other. and i am about to tell you the story of why the worship at impact was so significant, and so life-changing for me. here it goes..my "worship" story.
last year at impact, i had my first encounter with true worship. unfortunately, i was not the one experiencing the worship, i was watching someone else experience it.
my sister (sarah) had come for the evening impact session that night, and she was late, resulting in both of us having to sit in the balcony for the session. i was pretty ticked about this, because mayfair ALWAYS sits in the front left section of the auditorium, and rumor has it that the balcony is really loud and everyone talks..anyway i knew ahead of time that there would be alot of distracions up there. and i was right. i was distracted. it was loud and i couldn't focus, and on top of that i was mad at myself for not trying harder to focus..so anyway, this worship time got off to a rough start for me. it was one of those where i stood with my arms crossed the whole time mumbling the words to the songs while looking around at everyone else. thats how it started anyway. but then it happened. the encounter. jon (owen) started leading a new song called "Free" that i didn't know, so i didn't even bother to mumble. i started looking around, and there, out of the corner of my eye, in the vverryy back section of the balcony, was this woman. and she caught my eye. it was because of the way she was worshipping. it was unlike anything i had ever seen. her eyes were closed, her hands were raised, and she was singing with all her might. and there was just something about it, about that scene, about the way she worshipped, and i just kept staring. she was pouring every ounce of her soul into what she was doing, she was giving God all the praise that she could muster up, she was worshipping God, a God that she knew and loved more than anything else in the world. true, heart-felt worship. she had no clue where she was, or that i was staring at her with my jaw dropped, but there she was, right smack-dab in the middle of the last place in alumi auditorium that i would have expected it to happen. and that one encounter with worship changed my life. i had no clue at the time who she was, but she changed my spirtual life, and the way i would view the aspect of worship, forever. but that was the last song, and next thing i knew i was leaving the auditorium and it was over. but it was still in my head. i couldn't get that moment out of my head. the moment when i finnaly understood what i looked like to express the love and praise that you have for God in your heart through worship. and even after the week was over, even after the month was over, i still remembered. because I wanted what she had. I wanted to want to worship God that bad. and i tried. for a good six to eight months i tried. i prayed during worship, I told God that i really wanted to worship Him, i wanted to thank him freely for what He had done, but i never could really worship, because i could never really let go. i was never able to quit worrying about what everyone else would think of me if i worshipped how I felt like worshipping. i was never free of my insecurities. i could never let go. so finnally, after getting really close at winterfest but still not really giving in, I gave up. i went back to mumbling and looking around.
and the next thing i know, impact is back again. and i still remembered, although i'll admit i had forgotten for quite some time, the encounter i had had there the year before. but i still had high exptations about the worship at impact, because i know how good it is and i knew that this might just be the time when i am finnaly able to let go and give God what he deserves. so the first night rolls around and i'm there at impact singing and its awesome. but it still didn't happen. so now its tuesday night (MY BIRTHDAY!) and were in worship and i was getting really into it and then i look at the screen and there it is. THE song. "Free." and it was at that moment, during that song, that I let go. it happened. it wasn't forced, and it wasn't fake. it was actaully the most real and natural thing i have ever done in my entire life. i was expressing my gratitude and love to God for setting me "free" from my sins and insecurities. for setting me free from my worries about what others think, for letting me let go. it was a beautiful moment. and then they turned off the lights and the screen and it was completely and everyone let go. you couldn't see a thing so you didn't have to worry about the people around you. i will never forget that moment. i could literally feel the joy in the angels hearts as they were watching all 1500 of us express ourselves individually, but as one body and in one voice, singing with all our might praises to the God that we were beginning to fall in love with all over again.
and that was the way it was every night of the week. i let go. and it was such a joy to worship God freely, because it created in me a yearning and a hunger for Him that I couldn't escape from. I thristed for God, the whole week all I wanted to do was praise Him and thank Him for creating this new spirit of gratefullness and worship in my heart.
i'm not telling you this "Story" because i want you to think that I am a better person because of how I worship God. i am telling you my story of woship because I want for you to someday have a similar story. I want everyone to worship God, not necessarily like I did, but however they want, however they feel most natural, I want everyone to feel the everyday, all-the-time blessings that come from expressing yourself freeely before the throne of God through worship. that is why i am telling this story. I am so thankful for the woman in the balcony at impact 2005. even though I don't know her, (although I did later learn her name and a little about her stroy) i am grateful for her story, whatever it may be, because her story ended up chaning mine forever.
so keep that in mind as you are living your life, as you are writing your story.
you may end up playing a large role in someone elses..and never even knowing it.
and don't be afraid to let go, and give into God. it'll be the best thing you ever do.