Some wise soul coined the phrase, “worship vertically, not horizontally,” or as I often say, “look up, not around you.” Those are wise words indeed and speak to where we are placing our eyes, what our focus is, who we are following. When we’re looking around too much, we’re following people, our circumstances, or ourselves.
When our faith is in people, even the best people, disappointment is inevitable. At some point they will let us down, say something that offends us, not be there for us, perhaps reject us entirely or even attack us outright. Such is the nature of people. When we are spiritually mature we can weather these little squalls, sometimes protect relationship and connection, be forgiving. Sometimes we can’t. That’s horizontal faith, where we’re looking around at others for validation and approval.
Vertical faith is where you look up, you place your eyes on Jesus Christ, not on the things or people going on around you. That can be a real challenge, but remembering to go vertical is vitally necessarily.
Somewhat funny, but it is not just investing our faith in other people who can be a problem, but even investing in our own selves! We can disappoint, let our own selves down, even attack ourselves outright. It’s a disconcerting thought, but sheesh, we can’t even trust our ownselves, not fully. Not unconditionally, not with the steadfast perfection available to us if we instead go vertical and look up. I can drop the ball, but the Lord never will.
disappointment, rejection, these can be powerful things, painful things. We’re social creatures, so there is some balance and harmony to be found there, I am not trying to say that people don’t matter, that they aren’t important, that one should just go around looking up 24/7, but going vertical really is the cure for much of what ails us. As flawed people, we can still all look up, go vertical, and worship and praise the same Father.
So when there is much chattering, offense, murmuring, grievance, conflict, rejection, sometimes the best thing to do is to just go vertical, to look up, to keep in mind that we “worship vertically, not horizontally.”