A friend of mine messaged me some "God songs" she'd been working on the other day. Not just the words, but a voice memo of her singing them. You might be thinking "what's the big deal, you're a musician, you probably do this all of the time". Well, yes and no. You see, this friend has no musical background and really never sings in public. But from the moment she started singing to her very last note I was mesmerized. Not because of her amazing voice or her clever lyrics, although they were very good, but because it was the first time in a LONG time that I had heard someone sing a song because they loved the subject of their song, not the song itself. I could hear her passion and authenticity in every inflection in her voice. It was a breath of fresh air. It was raw and unpolished and pitchy and unconventional, but it was incredible! It wasn't the sound of someone singing the words that some other saint had written years ago out of their own experience and passion for God, or the song that a worship leader had chosen for her to sing, it was her own. It was her own expression of deep calling to deep. (psalm 42:6-8)
Authentic worship. It's a buzzword and all of the worship community covets it, but authentic worship starts in our homes by ourselves with no one around. It starts when we let our guards down and we risk sounding silly and looking foolish for the sake of the one we worship. When David brings the Ark of the Covenant back into the city in 2 Samuel 6, it says that he leaped and danced before the Lord. His wife despised him for it, and he replied "I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes." for the sake of the Lord. He stopped worrying about what all of the others would think of him and started realizing that He stood before an audience of one. We stand before an audience of one whether we are in our living rooms or a congregation of hundreds of people. David took the step of being vulnerable before the Lord when he was alone (Psalms), giving him the confidence and freedom to be vulnerable in the presence of thousands.
The reason we have great worship songs is because someone let their guard down with God alone and then shared it with the world. And although there are some great worship songs out there, they're not your song. They're not the song that YOU'VE written out of YOUR experience of what the Lord's done in YOUR life. That's what He wants to hear...even if it's sung to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat!