that’s not me.

Arms crossed. Eyes rolled. Sigh. Ugh.

“What if I just don’t sing? Will they be able to tell?”

“I’m over this song. I’m over this church. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to sing.”

“Man, look at her. Look at her – jumping, waving her arms, smiling, worshipping. Why is she so…happy? Why is worshipping like that?

…That’s not me.

Welcome to the psyche of a half-hearted church attendee at a Sunday morning service – AKA, me at 20 years old.

These were the times when I went to church without wanting to go. These were hard times.

I used to love church. When I was young, I knew all the words to all the songs. In college, while I still knew all the words; I had stopped singing to God. I remembered the words, but forgot how to worship.

Instead, I lived recklessly. As I purposely pursued sins that broke the Father’s heart, I let the liar tell me who I am. I wasn’t a church girl anymore.

In this state of heart and mind, Church grew increasingly uncomfortable. I loathed it, lonely and alone in that middle school auditorium.

During worship, I pouted. During sermons, I did not listen or absorb any words from the mouth of the preacher; but instead stayed fixated on the movie in my mind – a screen replaying R-rated scenes. Some movies were fabricated fantasies. Some, Saturday night’s sins.

In that season, I knew a woman who attended my church named Katie Evans. She was in her late twenties, newly married, and full of life. Her smile begged you to smile with her. Her expressive presence spread joy like Christmas music. She was – and still is – unforgettable.

What I remember most about her, these 6+ years later, is her worship.

Her worship was her weapon. Her worship did not discriminate between song or style. Her worship was a bubbly overflow of love that manifested into raised hands, a loud voice, and a smile so big it swallowed her eyes.

I didn’t get it.

I remember seeing her and wondering how she could possibly be so excited to sing the same annoying song that we sang last Sunday and the Sunday before. I remember seeing her and definitively declaring that she is not me. Her glee, her energy, her freedom would always be foreign to me. At least, that’s what I thought at the time.

Praise God that I was wrong.

While I was so convinced “that’s not me”, she was, in fact, convinced of the very same thing. Only her “that” was everything. That joy? Not her. That peace? Not her. That hope? That promise? That security? That righteousness? Not her.

Katie Evans worshipped in truth and thankfulness and exaltation effortlessly because her entire life was an eternal partnership with the Holy Spirit. At that time, however, I fervently ignored the Holy Spirit. Dearest 20-year-old Gina, how could you have tapped into the overflowing river of life when you quenched him with every chance you had?

Thank God He saved me. Thank God He let me taste and see His goodness.

And now, that crazy worshipper is me. 

Author: Gina Maria

28-years-old. Greek & Italian. Amy Winehouse's long lost Jesus-loving sister.

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