“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;”
I grew up in a church that believe singing and only singing is the proper way to worship God. No instruments. The problem I had with it was this: I HATE singing. Yes. I passionately loathe singing . I am partially tone deaf, and while I like and enjoy music I do not enjoy sounding terrible to even my damaged ears. I don’t even like to talk that much. I think silence is the better way to worship.
Because I dislike singing so much, Sunday services was a source for dread. I couldn’t sing or make melody in my heart to the Lord in that manner. I felt far more attuned to God alone in silent contemplation or walking quietly in the woods. Notice how I emphasize silence. My heart sings when I am in a silent environment away from people. I grew up thinking this was wrong. After all, Christians are commanded to sing. The key is singing and making melody in the heart. Songs, psalms, and the like do not make my heart feel melodious toward God. Silence, however, does.
Christianity has become an extrovert’s religion. It is often loud and touchy-feely with hands held together in prayer. For those like me who crave silence and solitude, worship is often a trip through a hell of anxiety. I don’t think God had that in mind with worship.
I spent many years trying to make myself enjoy traditional worship and all the extrovert trappings. I like being around people…sometimes. I also had to motivation that any other form of worship was wrong. Yet, despite my efforts and prayer my heart could never sing with my mouth. My heart couldn’t pray when publicly praying. I found that when I am with silence my heart sings to God. When I am alone, my prayers are sincere. Besides, Jesus said we should pray in secret instead of publicly (Matt 6:6). He viewed prayer as something intensely private.
I cannot deny my nature; I cannot be anyone I am not. I cannot feel comfortable or joyous singing with the congregation, but I am when sitting in silent contemplation of God.
Modern Christianity needs to rethink its extrovert bias. Singing in the heart can be done (and I think is BEST done) quietly in different ways. Singing can be painting on a canvas, writing, or meditating. Not everyone wants big social hullabaloos. The extrovert bias only alienates Christians like me. Congregations miss out on the music we sing.