I will become even more undignified than this
2 Samuel 6:22

Some time in college I started the habit of taking off my shoes when I led worship. I don’t know what prompted it. Perhaps it was that I was in San Diego and it was easy to slip off your sandals to be more comfortable on stage. I like to think it was a small gesture of being undignified. Over time my pre-prep ritual included depositing my keys, phone, and wallet in to my guitar case and stowing it away… shedding myself of small pieces of “safety” that I carried with me every day. This ritual continued for more than a decade.

Before my daughter was born I made a conscious decision to step back from serving at church. I had been a worship leader for more than half of my life, but I was beginning to realize that this no longer felt like my calling or my anointing. This was somewhat troubling as it was also where I had placed much of my identity. I felt a tug to teach… but more than anything, to focus on being a good father.

Almost 6 years later I had done very little to answer at that tug. I had ventured in to a deeper study of theology and approaches towards teaching, but I was met with what I can only assume was some combination of sloth and the reality that parenting is hard. Where I did find myself was standing in the sanctuary on the opening night of a church retreat in the Santa Cruz mountains, somewhat free from the responsibilities of being a husband and father. The kids were asleep in the cabin and mommy was surely watching Korean dramas trying to pass the time. With that freedom came a feeling that I needed to shed again. Keys. Phone. Wallet. They came out on the pew. And I felt a lightness and a freedom that I hadn’t felt in a long time.

The next Sunday back at church my pockets felt particularly heavy. The band played a song that I loved to play towards the end of my worship leading “career”. The lyrics spoke to me as I sung that there was “nothing I hold on to”. So I emptied my pockets on the chair next to me thinking about how much more they weighed me down now. Keys — unlocking a mortgage and a dream car. Phone — that accessed influence, responsiblity, and stress. Wallet — both blessed and cursed with more than my college self could have ever imagined.

Our closed hands are so close to these things that we hold on to. Every day. Nearly every minute. And assuredly in the pews as we read our digital Bibles while checking Fantasy Football alerts (guilty as charged). But what if we didn’t hold on to these things? What if we had our hands wide open? What if we held on to nothing? What if we were more undignified than this?