One worship song I always struggle with is “Revelation Song.” I like the message of the song. It’s God-glorifying. It’s Jesus-praising. My favorite line is this:
Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your Name
Jesus, Your Name is power, breath and living water
Such a marvelous mystery
I love the acknowledgement of Christ as a mystery, something we can’t fully understand, something that means we’ve got to have faith in what we can’t see and what we can really only hope for.
But my anxious, analytical mind always gets stuck on one line: “You are my everything.”
Before we move forward: This is not a criticism of the song. Far be it from me to doubt the writer’s heart. Perhaps God is their everything.
But I’ve had a really hard time with that line. Why? God isn’t my everything.
One of the biggest struggles in dealing with anxiety as a Christian, at least on my end, is the absolute statements in worship songs. Some other examples of what I mean – “Where You go, I’ll go, where You stay, I’ll stay…I will follow you“; “It is well with my soul“; “Only You have all of me.” At base level, all of these are statements of absolutes, where a declaration of statement is made of something that is unequivocally whole and true.
Now, you might be wondering, “Zach, calm the flip down. Aren’t you overanalyzing this?” I just might be. Anxiety disorders often lead you to second-guess everything you say. And as a Christian, we know how our words carry weight. We also don’t want to lie. “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight” (Proverbs 12:22). So when words like “You are my everything” are in a worship song, I go through a process of second-guessing before the notes are even played.
Maybe I’m just particularly sinful, the worst on the earth, but I don’t know if there are ever any moments in my life where that is the absolute thought of my heart, when that’s entirely what I believe.
It’s the curse of the perpetually anxious. This constant second-guessing of what I say isn’t limited to worship. It’s a minute-by-minute struggle. The uncertainty of my thoughts, coupled with a desire to tell the truth, particularly when it comes to spiritual things, leads to moments of overwhelming stress in decision-making, guilt for not feeling able to truthfully sing the lyrics, wondering if I’m just overthinking this whole thing, a constant questioning. I can’t emphasize how much this sucks.
Another side note: I don’t want this to be a post where you’re like, “Look at this guy, he thinks he’s so holy for not singing a worship lyric.” I want to sing it! I want it to be true! But when I look at my sinful self, I can’t sing it. I just can’t bring myself to do that. Plus, I’m about as far from obedient as you can get most days.
Again, I don’t want this to be a criticism of the songs or the songwriters or the people who sing them. I can’t sit here and say with absolute confidence that they’re lying when they write/sing that. This is just a day-to-day difficulty of being an anxious Christian.
On the flip side, I’m so thankful that there are some worship artists who do an incredible jobs of writing songs for me. In worship, we don’t want to be second-guessing our thoughts the whole time. We want to be confident, comfortable, assured. So below, I’ve made a playlist: Worship Songs for the Second-Guessers. There’s a Spotify link attached right here. These songs are characterized by three things: praise of Jesus, recognition of weakness and insufficiency on our part and they’re just so stinkin’ awesome.
And, to my knowledge, the only absolutes are absolutes about God, the only one we all can confidently make absolute statements about.
YouTube playlist below:
So if you’re like me, don’t feel bad for not being able to sing the lyrics of worship songs. It’s OK to take a break, to not sing it. Meditate on the grace of God, that He loves you in spite of you not being able to sing that honestly. He doesn’t look at you differently. He doesn’t think less of you. He still loves you and cares for you.
That’s something I can sing about all day long.