When worship changes from the thing you're supposed to do to the thing you can't do without, something honest has happened.
I graduted from Harding after 11 semesters of academic cluelessness, wondered around in Milwaukee for 5 months unable to find my butt with both hands (thanks dad for that one) until my good friend, Brian Mashburn, saved me. He hooked me up with a youth ministry job at a nearby chruch of Christ in Houston,Tx. (Important side note: Never, under any circumstance, swear on your soul that you won't do something. My rash vow cost me six years in Texas.)
I quickly found a way to get fired from that position (nothing scandalous I assure you) and began to wander again. I got a girlfriend, but then she dumped me. My lime green Noah's ark sized gas guzzling beast of a car died on me. I had no car, no insurance, no income, no girlfriend, no job, no cash, and bascially no life.
The problem was that I had committed honesty in prayer and worship to God. I asked God (prompted by Dennis Jerniganworship music) to ask God to "show me everyway I don't love you." He was faithful.
After God took everything away from me, I took one of my jogs into the steamy Houston night. I found myself depressed, unable to sleep, losing weight (not on purpose), angry, hopeless, and a lot of other things. I was a wreck and my life, what was left of it, was falling apart completely. I stopped my jog in the middle of a field, far from people, and "had a little talk with Jesus." This, however, was not the sweet little talk the old hymn speaks of. I'll spare you all of the details, but just know that the conversation ended with me telling Jesus to "F*** off!"
I couldn't sleep that night, which was about par for the course those days. However, that night I felt something so raw and open inside me. "What have I done?" It felt like murder, like a crime of passion, one that had gone way too far. I didn't know what I was doing. Did I really tell Jesus to "F*** off?" Would he honor this request as well?
I came back to Him weeping and pleading and begging and hoping that I had not just sealed my fate with those foolish words.
"Oh my God, I am so sorry. I didn't mean it. Please don't leave me. Please don't hide from me? I need you. I know I asked for it. I know I asked for you to show me how I didn't love you. It's my fault. Please forgive me. I know I am nothing - I have nothing. I got nothing to give you but me and that isn't much, but it is all I have and I want you to have it. What else am I supposed to do? There is no one to turn to, no one who can keep a promise. Without you I am going to die."
And the gasping, crying, sniffling, broken, prayer went on through much of the night. And he held me.
Now, I would not make "F*** off" my first choice for the Sunday evening "request night" at my old church. Something about it seems a little off key. No, that is another one of those private tunes meant to be sung only once. However, I had the courage to speak to God without any pretense. There was something deeper than the profanity that was real, and real was something I needed to be more than any other thing right then. Pretending to be happy with losing everything would have only been perpetuating my idolatry. I needed to get to the other side of my anger - through it was the only way.
And I leanred that God can handle anything I can dish out. I was a four year old throwing a major hissy fit and he loved me.