Are You Self-Conscious In Worship?

by Sallie Anderson on October 8, 2008 · 14 comments

My family, along with our church, recently participated in an annual song service held by the Atlantic Baptist Association. Each church choir or praise team presented two of their favorite songs as a musical gift to the rest of us. The host church and the association quartet did several specials in between the other groups. Oh, it was glorious! The spirit of God filled up the sanctuary and the hearts of all who were in attendance!

As a lover of good Christian music, my soul was stirred more than once during the service. Typically I am not a raise your hands kind of gal but there are those occasions where I can’t reach them towards heaven high enough. This happened twice on this particular night. For the most part, we were sitting through the service. The first song, one that our church sang, was Days of Elijah. No matter how often I hear this song, I love it as if it was the first time I’d ever heard it. My soul can’t help but glorify God with hands held high and eyes lifted up in prayer.  Most often I don’t even sing when my spirit is touched in such a way… I just pray through the song; a one on one communion with God. I’m not sure how far into the song we had gotten but I was sitting in my pew praying and it just never seems right to raise your hands while sitting so I stood up! At the end of the song I realized many others were standing and that automatically made me self-conscience. It probably wouldn’t have at any other time but someone looked at me and said something  about me starting something. It was meant kindly and in good spirits but I have this thing about worrying over what other folks think. Silly, I know, but a reality nonetheless!

The only African American church participating in the song service was the last to sing for the night. Did I mention before that I absolutely LOVE old, soulful spirituals and hymns?! Oh, my word, what depths they reach when I hear them! Do they reach your inner most being like they do mine? They give me glory bumps for sure! I have no clue the name of the song they were singing but I just started praying with it and could feel my spirit say LEAP UP AND PRAISE THE LORD but my head was still too concentrated over the earlier comment that I had “started something.” I did what any self respecting mama would do and I turned to my 12 year old son and said “If you stand up, I will!” He looked at me like I was crazy and said “You first!” I hung my head and prayed for several moments before I couldn’t stand it any longer. I leapt to me feet with a determined “I will not be ashamed!” on my tongue. My eyes were shut and I was praying to my Savior when my son pulled on my shirt sleeve. I looked at him and he said to look around. There wasn’t one person sitting in the place. My son simply said “See, someone just had to do it first because everyone really wants to praise God like that.” My eyes welled up with tears at the insight within this little Man-Boy of mine.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think we have to stand up and raise our hands and do the wave for every single song. As a matter of fact, I think we shouldn’t do it for every song. But, on those occasions when God is speaking to your soul, don’t be afraid to worship Him with all that is within you. Who knows?! You might even free someone else from their own self conscience to worship Him with all that is within them as well!

At the end of each post on SBC Voices, we suggest related posts from other Southern Baptist websites and blogs. These will often include contrary points of view and should not be understood as endorsements.

What Other SBC Voices Are Saying

1 Tony Kummer October 8, 2008 at 8:46 am

Great post, thanks for writing it.

I work with children and very few are self-conscious about worship until older elementary. I’m sure there are some developmental things going on with that, but it’s a shame.

2 Ted October 8, 2008 at 9:06 am


I wish I had been there!

“The spirit of God filled up the sanctuary and the hearts of all who were in attendance!” – AWESOME! Thanks for posting this.

Teds last blog post..MONDAY’S POST, Revised

3 Sallie October 8, 2008 at 10:25 am

Thanks, guys!! I appreciate your comments :-)
I love music so much!!

Ted, it was AWESOME!!

God bless,

Sallies last blog post..God is really blessing me!!

4 Barry Wallace October 8, 2008 at 2:41 pm

Excellent post! I wish we are all more like David when he brought the ark to Jerusalem, totally unconcerned about what Micah (or anyone else) might think about him.

Barry Wallaces last blog post..Eternally increasing JOY

5 SelahV October 10, 2008 at 2:58 pm

Sallie, Great post! There is not one worship service in our church that I do not feel the Spirit of God urging me to give Him all I have in praise and worship. It is only when I sit on my hands that I leave the worship hour feeling I somehow quenched His Spirit and disobeyed His voice. Thanks for this reminder to yield unto Him. selahV


6 Barry Wallace October 10, 2008 at 11:04 pm

By the way, that was supposed to be “Michal” not “Micah.” Micah happens to be my eight year old son!

Barry Wallaces last blog post..Ryan Ferguson’s dramatic recitation of Scripture

7 Jennifer Sabin October 13, 2008 at 7:39 pm

I am glad to know I am not the only one who is self-conscious about this sort of thing, especially in an SB church.

On another note… Who compiles the links for the bottom of your post? I read the 9Marks post (an excellent blog by the way) and feel the summary misrepresents the point of Greg’s “Against Music” post. A more appropriate summary might be “Greg asks Christians to reconsider their preference for a particular worship style.”


Jennifer Sabins last blog post..Ducks and Pumpkins

8 Tony Kummer October 13, 2008 at 8:33 pm

@Jennifer Sabin: Thanks for the comment. I usually compile the links and the summaries. It was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the 9 Marks guys. They are really excited about the puritans : )

9 Jennifer Sabin October 13, 2008 at 8:46 pm

Indeed, they are very enthusiastic when it comes to the Puritans. Well then, if it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, then even they will appreciate it!

10 Sallie October 24, 2008 at 7:10 pm

Thanks for everyone’s comments!!

I have to look up the 9 Marks guys now :-)

God bless,

Sallies last blog post..May I introduce you to my Marine Corps Ball attire?

11 Dr. James Willingham May 24, 2009 at 11:28 pm

To Sally: Your comments regarding spirituals was well taken. I delivered a lecture at an Afternoon lecture series at Columbia U., in the Summer of 1971, “The Stanley Elkins’ Thesis: A Critique.” in which I made reference to the spirituals as some of the wrld’s most creative and great music as proof that slavery could not so crush the Black personality as to make nonentities out of them. I had other material, but in any case I wrote a prospectus for a Doctoral Dissertation in Black History which I never did get to complete. However, I did do my Doctor of Ministry Project at SEBTS on Christian Love and Race Relations. Most white folks have no idea of how great the history of African Americans actually is, and it is all the greater in the light of the efforts made to suppress them or worse.

Dr. James Willinghams last blog post..The Climax of the Reformation

12 Tony Kummer May 27, 2009 at 10:57 pm

I know this is an older post, but I saw it in the sidebar and wanted to say YES – I’m still self conscious in worship

Tony Kummers last blog post..Welcome New Writers!

13 Barry Wallace May 28, 2009 at 1:08 pm


I think it takes constant, deliberate effort to discard that wretched self-consciousness. I’ve been a Christian for 34 years, I’m comfortable in charismatic circles, and I’m still trying to throw it off.

Barry Wallaces last blog post..How to watch a movie

14 jhon567 July 17, 2009 at 5:54 am

Ritual change is unavoidable when a worship takes cross-cultural confluence, under the pressures of intercultural conflict is necessarily to avoid self-conscious. Like I had gone a hookah bar with my friends and they forced me smoke some good flavors, but I was feeling embraced because I didn’t like ever hookahs or other things like this. And that time I was feeling hesitate to smoke and this condition was like self conscious. But now I’m not like that. I have just followed some one and I would like to suggest you spirit like this phrase: Why do I feel self-conscious or, *gulp*, maybe embarrassed? I need picked up by my Father. I swear that I will do in worship whatever I feel led to do.

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