Monday, September 10, 2007

Autopilot

For those of us who have attended church for a long time, I think it's easy to fall into autopilot when it comes to familiar prayers and songs. How often have I sung the words to a hymn or other song without thinking about what I'm singing? How many times have I prayed the Lord's prayer out of rote memorization, with little comprehension of its power? Although many times I fall short in this area, I make an effort to be mindful of the words.

Sometimes I also feel unsettled when singing words I'm not sure I'm living up to: Am I really surrendering all when I sing that beloved hymn? Am I truly desiring to surrender all?

A few years ago, a student shared an insight that has really stayed with me. In a popular praise song, there is a line that says, "In all I do I honor You." The young woman said that phrase has always bothered her, because she knows it isn't true. She thinks it should say, "In all I do, I want to honor You". I think of that every time when I see these words--when I sing these words.

It's so easy to let our lips do the singing without engaging our hearts, souls and minds. I find it a constant mental battle to not drift into autopilot--but it's a battle I believe is worth fighting.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

In all I do, I WANT to honor You -- Amen!

I've thought these same thoughts when singing some of our familiar hymns and praise songs -- in fact, I remember in one of the More With Less books, the author comments that if you look around, you'll notice a few honest people aren't singing!

Not being on "autopilot" in worship -- a very worthy goal.

Love you, Mom

Leah in Iowa said...

Our pastor has made that very same comment after singing that song! I couldn't agree with you more.

I also agree with you about the autopilot thing. So many times, we don't actively engage in worship and it turns out that we just go through the motions. Thanks for this reminder, Carrie!

thehomespunheart said...

I like this - it is a great goal to be working toward meaning the words we sing and attempting to live them out in our lives. Great reminder...

Mary Ann said...

Absolutely. I so agree with you, Carrie! I find that when I read the words to a song out loud, the message is so much more powerful than when I am just singing along and not really thinking about it.

Kathleen Marie said...

Excellent thoughts. I think of those words and I also think it is our hearts cry and God honors that. King David came to a point in his life where "He sinned no more". He lived 40 more years but we don't hear much about those years. My prayer is that God can say the same about me. Sometimes I think we are harder on ourselves than God is, after all, He came as a man and he knows what all we are up against. I sing that song with Joy because I sing it with my spirit and I know my spirit and the Holy Spirit that dwells within me, means "With all I do I honor You" and at that moment that is exactly what I am doing.

God Bless and thanks for a great post!

Frances said...

In our Campus Christian Fellowship we actually changed the lyrics on our overhead so that it read "In all I do, I want to honor you."

Thank you for the challenge/encouragement to pay more attention to what we're saying/praying/singing, Carrie!

dhuntman said...

Hey Carrie,

I hope you got my e-mail last week, on Friday. I was sending you a quick message to let you know I would be a little behind in getting my box out to my partner. I have all of her GOODIES, just running behind in sending it. I have had some things going on with my 5 year old daughter that I have had to make a priority. Please know I have not forgotten about my FABULOUS partner. I will be sending her box out as soon as I can and I will send a confirmation to you when it goes out. I have already let my partner know about the delay, I hope she finds her package WORTH THE WAIT! I had a great time putting it together. Please pray for my little gal, her issues are health related. Sorry I had to leave this all here, but I always seem to have trouble with e-mail.

Warmly, Angela Huntman

Amy Jane (Untangling Tales) said...

There is at least one song that I stopped singing part of b/c I disagreed with it so much.

///
Do you know "We are one" (in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord...)? It has the line, "and we'll guard each man's dignity and save each man's pride."

And I was thinking, What are we, *Masons*? But the tune's kinda addictive, so I re-wrote the words as "And we'll pray each man's heart prove strong when his faith is tried."
///

Anyway, I think there is at least one instance where "cruise" is useful/appropriate, and that is in grief.

We had a family sing after my Grandmother died, and I don't know if I actually worshiped (I think I did, but not as I usually do), but the familiarity and the reminder of the unchanging nature of God was pressed home by the familiarity of the words, and how completely they held together while my world was shaking all around me.

Angela said...

Such a thoughtful and true journal entry. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!!

Grace said...

I was just thinking about this yesterday in church. We actually sang that same song. next time we sing it I will think the words you wrote. And I will try to remember to think on the words of each song we sing.