As a mother and wife, I can go from being counselor, bank advisor, parole officer, head chef, lawn care specialist, and nurse in ten seconds or less. Any woman with children has the know-how and God-given talent to access new situations, file a contingency plan, and implement an infrastructure while most men are still scratching their heads. No offense, my fine male counterparts! While these abilities can save many a family from instantaneous combustion, when we enter the church for corporate worship, we would do better to lose the game plan.
Let me explain. When we're in certain everyday situations, we know the standard of behavior, the level of vocabulary that is expected of us, and we adjust our behavior to each situation accordingly. When I'm sitting in a meeting with my teenager's principal, guidance counselor, and teacher concerning my very truant child who is now in poor academic standing six weeks before graduation, it's not advisable to adopt the same body stance and use the slang expressions that I use at my son's baseball game. When I'm discussing financial decisions with my husband, it is not in my best interest to use the same tone of voice and rigid posture that I use when my child has just broken curfew. This is a natural born instinct that God gives to us as mothers to give us the edge.
On Sunday mornings I can find myself standing on the stage playing my keyboard, registering in my mind that this is the time to worship, and I make the instantaneous switch from being keyboardist to worshiper. Maybe the reason it sounds a little too cut and dried, is because sometimes it is. True worship begins in the heart, not in the mind as I switch screens. Just because my hands are raised and I am singing a new song does not mean that I am not thinking about the dinner that I have to prepare after church. As a woman, this is how God wired me. As a Christian worshiper, I have to slow my world down and be careful not to worship "domestic engineer worship" style.
I've found that men are slower to show the outward expressions of worship, but perhaps that is a better indicator of their heart state than a woman's. When a man humbles himself to the point of raising his hands, a big exchange of power has just occurred. The outward sign came only after some pretty major battles were fought and won on the inside by their desire to worship in obedience from a pure heart.
Women, however, because of our nature find it easier to clap, raise their hands, dance...but is our heart more spiritual? Probably not. We're women through and through, created in a totally different way than a man, so how do we make the switch by conscious effort? I've found that the key is my daily praise and worship time when I choose to open my heart because I want to, not because it's time to. As my daily time becomes more focused on the One to whom all praise and honor is due, my mind recognizes the cues that my heart is sending it.
Sunday morning, it is crucial for me to be up before the family to get totally into the Word and renew my mind before I'm called upon to wear a different face. Prayer is key by asking God to help me come before Him as a woman who wants to offer my worship, not as a quick-change artist that has put a new mask in place and changed the actions to fit the part. I try to listen to praise music without reading the Sunday paper or turning on the television until after church. Focused worship is a conscious effort, but well worth it.