An Interview with Carla West

Photo by Olivia Bauso on Unsplash

The Benefits of Worship

Jana: What are the benefits of worship?

Carla: The benefits of worship are it makes you closer to the Lord. It improves communication. It makes you more resistant to the enemy and to sin and temptation. It helps you with your battles. It’s, I believe, in Psalm 66:9, it says, “Who keeps our soul among the living, and does not allow our feet to be moved.”

Jana: That is awesome. So, you were saying how it pushes away the enemy. How does it do that?

Carla: Well to me it’s like playing a game of volleyball. The enemy throws something, and then we have the ability to kick it out of our court, out of our domain. So, yeah.

Jana: Yeah, because the enemy is always trying. So, what types of worship can we do to keep the enemy away?

Carla: There’s a lot of things you could do. You could do, of course, your praise. You can dance. You can sing, clap your hands. You can stomp. You can yell. You can have your war cry. Believers did their Jericho walk. So, there are many things you can do.

Jana: So, in worship would you say that we need to engage the body, or is it something else we can do and how does that work?

Carla: Well our bodies are designed to be instruments of righteousness, so we can use our sanctified body as a form of worship.

Jana: That’s interesting. I never thought about using a sanctified body before. Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever done that. I mean, we sanctify our imagination. We sanctify our mind.

We’ve been talking about the body stuff though….

We can sanctify it, that’s like, wow! I just never thought of that. Now, I’m like, “Okay. Then let’s do it.”

So, because we have been talking about engaging the body in worship and what it means to do that. And we’re talking about the body as a temple, of course. How would you say engaging the body impacts or changes worship? You know what I mean? Versus not engaging the body in worship.

Carla: Well, to me that’s part of worship; engaging body. Even if you play an instrument, you’re still engaging the body.

Sometimes I want to use my hands a certain way. Or even when we pray for people, Jesus doesn’t have us do the same thing all the time. It just changes. Or He wants us to clap, which is a form of prayer also.

Jana: So, you said he wants you to clap or He wants you to move your hands. How do you know?

Carla: Sometimes you get a little pushing along, and sometimes it just overtakes your heart and you just go for it. And sometimes you just get a direct command, like “Do this.”

So, you need to listen.

Jana: Yeah, listen. At the little nudges of the Holy Spirit.

I think there needs to be a willingness to do that. An openness. Because when you get those nudges…  Or, sometimes they’re not nudges, you know, like, “Stand up,” when the entire congregation is sitting down.

Carla: That happens to me, yes.

Jana: I’ve had that happen too and it’s like, “You want me to do what right now?” And He’s like, “The band is playing and everyone’s sitting down. This is not right.” I’m like, “I’m at a Cavalry chapel….” But yeah, you’ve got to listen and then obey. Be obedient. Because once you engage in that worship, whatever it is, it changes the atmosphere.

Carla: Yes, and it’s contagious.

Jana: It is.

Carla: So, if you do something, sometimes then He’ll say, “Oh, go over here,” or, “Stand by this person,” or do whatever, it’s contagious. The other person catches on, and then the whole presence of the Lord is engaged, and everyone can receive. And it opens up the heavenlies and things come down and it’s just amazing. Things get done.

Jana: Things get done. I love it.

Carla: Yes. They get done.

Jana: I love that. It is contagious. It’s true.

Carla: And it’s never the same at any meeting. It’s always different.

And even colors. Sometimes the Holy Spirit wants you to wear certain colors or a certain type of shoe or a dancing scarf or worship scarf or whatever. All the colors mean something. And it brings things to attention in the spiritual realm. So, we can take authority over them.

Jana: I know the colors are healing in different ways, so that makes sense that He would talk to us about colors.

Carla: Or maybe He’ll want to have a person wear… I don’t know, let’s say combat boots. Because they are representative of being a soldier in the army. Or boot camp or something.

Jana: Yes. The war.

Carla: Yeah. The spiritual war.

Or maybe he wants some person to wear white, or maybe a crown, to represent his bride so it’s all these different variables. It’s beautiful.

Jana: It is beautiful. Would you say that worship has changed over the years or do you think it has remained the same? Are there different seasons or how does that work as far as your experience?

Carla: Well, I’ve been doing worship many years and the places that I attended, I mean, they were pretty out there but overall, over the years I have seen it become more demonstrative now. I see women playing drums and getting on stage and doing their war dance and they just want to display the Lord more. They have that liberty, freedom now that they didn’t have too much, say, 20 years ago.

Jana: Sure. I can see that.

Carla: And as you do worship, you evolve into a more seasoned, more competent person of who you are and so that makes a difference in your worship.

Jana: That speaks to identity. How would you say worship connects with identity?

Carla: Well, for me, that’s part of who I am in this Kingdom. To me, it was something I always wanted to do before I even knew the Father. Even as a kid, I enjoyed dance and I never knew why, and it seemed to be something in our family line to dance, but again, it needed to be sanctified for God’s Kingdom.

So it was always kind of part of my identity. I just didn’t know it.

Jana: Right. So, it’s a gift that God gave you. What about people who don’t feel they have a gift of worship?

Carla: Everyone has a gift of worship. Even if you take your pots and pans out of the kitchen and beat them with a spoon.

Jana: Yeah. God knows that you’re trying, right?

Carla: Yes. Everything that has breath can praise the Lord.

Jana: So, how would you encourage someone who’s a little bit more reserved?

Carla: I say if you want to start in your little private time, your little closet, your bedroom, wherever you can get some personal time and just open yourself up to His Spirit and just go for it, and a lot of times when you do things in privacy you are a little bit more bold.

Jana: Sure. Yeah.

Carla: And I’ve learned a lot during worship at home and then it became displayed more in the public setting.

Jana: Right. So, you become comfortable with it. Personally, I’ll never forget the first time I actually raised my hand. But, at first, I was like, “Why are these people raising their hands? That is weird. Their hands are up and they’re kind of swaying.” Like, “What is all this stuff?”

Carla: I know. Like, “Am I in the right place? Do I need to make an exit stage left?”

And then there’s this like, “Where am I?” But then there’s a moment when He starts to talk with you. And you kind of get up one hand and when you do, I feel like you almost instantly by taking that action, by engaging your body in that moment, there’s more of a connection with God. Yeah. So, I am an advocate of moving the physical body when you’re worshipping for sure.

I remember even when I was bedridden for a while and I really couldn’t move but I could have movement in my arms. So, I would just take my little worship scarf and just kind of wave it with all the energy I had. Yeah.

Jana: That’s awesome.

Carla: So, you bring worship wherever you go. You bring worship.

And when we do the enemy just flees. He has no choice and doesn’t like it.

Yes. Yes. And I love to see the little children worship too.

Jana: Oh. I know. Aren’t they precious?

Carla: Yes. Yes. So, it’s beautiful to see anyone in motion. The elderly, children, amazing.

It’s almost like they just don’t care. They don’t think about being watched or any of the other things that might stand in the way.

They’re just open to whatever God is saying.

Jana: Speaking of that, when you’re worshiping, or I know that personally when I worship, I often fall into an encounter. Would you find that to be true?

Carla: Not all the time, but yes. Yes, I have an encounter with him. Or you might get a message that you have been wanting to hear and you finally hear it because you are in the spiritual realm and not in the flesh. So, it creates an opening in the spiritual realm to see and hear and to go places.

Jana: And to go places. I was just going to say, since we were talking about engaging the body, but how about your spirit and your soul? What happens to them while you’re worshiping?

Carla: A lot of times they’re gone also. A lot of times when people are in worship, they don’t hear what you’re saying they do not see you. It’s like you’re in a different dimension until you come down.

Until you come back to Earth. And at first, we don’t want to.

Jana: So, you mentioned bringing worship wherever you go. Let’s take an average day, a day in the life of Carla. How much time do you spend worshiping, do you think? And what forms of worship do you do?

Carla: That’s a good question. About an hour.

Jana: Okay. So, you’re talking about an hour fully engaged in listening to music, or what? Are there parts of your day that you’re worshiping even though you’re not dancing?

Carla: Sometimes when I go places and then we have a community activity. And sometimes when I hear a song, then there I go dancing away because I like that song, or I just feel like it. And then I see people watching me, and I really don’t care. They look like they want to join me. And I say, “Come on. Come on. Join me.”

They’re kind of like, “I just want to watch you.”

Jana: Yes. But worshiping actually brings other people joy, too.

Carla: It does. I think it’s a great way to witness.

Jana: It is. And it changes the atmosphere. Which we all know needs to be changed constantly as we go through our day.

Carla: We can create a habitation for the most part. And that’s what I would like to see happen in the churches, just more freedom of worship, and not to let it be squelched by any type of schedule.

Jana: Right. And yet, our larger churches have a schedule.

Carla: That’s right. They do. So, a lot of things get done in the spirit realm when you worship. And if people realized that, they would have less to do, because they would experience one-on-one with the Most High God, and they’ll be taken care of.

Jana: Building that faith relationship.

Carla: We used to attend a church that’s no longer around. But we used to have worship four or five hours long.

Jana: Wow.

Carla: Needless to say, we were skinny.

Everybody was dancing.

Everything got done the way the Lord wanted it.

It was amazing. Yeah. And the flags, and the drums.

Jana: Sounds amazing.

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