Each time I came to You in worship, I felt nothing. From my head to my toes, I was numb. The hum of deep bass and striking of drums beat against a brain and a heart of stone. I sang, I did. My mouth recited the words on the screen, and I knew what they should mean. But all my mind could focus on was this suffering that I had brought with me. The suffering that wrapped heavily around my shoulders, laid around my chest with its hands cupped defensively around my heart. I thought that in worship, I was to bring my afflictions to You and You would give me the answers. But I heard nothing except the screaming silence above the guitar solo.
Last night I decided to try something different. I walked in, the distress still hung unmoving over my back. It breathed; I heard its whispers as the song began. But this time I did not argue with it; I did not scramble to catch its breath in order to pass it along to God. I decided that instead of looking at it, I would look past it. If only for these few moments. In a way, it was an escape. I was tired of searching. I wasn't going to look for answers, I wasn't going to look for relief, I was only going to sing these words and look at Jesus. I was going to praise Him solely for who He was. That was going to be my only focus.
I sang not trying to reflect onto my own situation, but rather each word that left my mouth I lifted up as a testament to His character. It was not easy- no part of my flesh wanted to engage. I felt drained. But the spirit urged me on. And with each breath, my belief in His power grew back. After my fear had shattered the vase of His image, in worship I began to piece back together the Truth that He had shown me.
As I looked at the full face of Jesus, He looked back at me. And it was enough. He was fullness. He was peace. He was the answer.
I realized that in worship I don’t need to bring anything to Him other than myself alone. Then something incredible happened. I came undone.
We worship because HE is WORTHY. When we find Him in our praise, we find everything we need.
The art of expectations and acceptance
My life used to be ruled by expectations. Ones that when not absolutely fulfilled, they governed what I would accept for the future. I expected God to show up in a specific way, and when what I anticipated had not come to fruition, it warped my expectation for future encounters with Him. I limited myself by what I would accept. What I would settle for. But this is not the way we were made to experience life! I propose to you, and to myself, a new way of thinking and perceiving our experiences; to practice acceptance in the moment, and hold fast to our expectations for the future. When we focus too closely on our expectations in each present situation, we close ourselves off the endless number of ways that God could decide to move. We close ourselves off to the many directions our current state could take us. I want to practice acceptance for the moment and instead shift my focus on expectation for the future. To accept my circumstances as they come for as they are, to be mindful of what I can learn from them and how I can give to each situation, and to be intentional about seeking God purely and without requirements. This acceptance allows us the freedom to experience Him in His fullness; outside the borders our minds create with our limited perception. And because of His promises, I can have clear expectations for my future no matter where I find myself in the moment. That all things will work together for the good of those who love Him, that He has plans to give me hope and to prosper me, that as His child His plans for me are for me only and He planned these kingdom-driven days before I took my first breath. He promises me an everlasting purpose. The same is true for you.
Don’t pine for what’s not or whatever will be.
God does not give us all of the pieces at once. He gives us exactly what we need today, and tomorrow He will do the same.
Take time to sit in the present; whether it’s of joy or pain. More often than not I find God’s whisper not in my worries for tomorrow, but in the silence that I allocate for today. As for the future, I hold fast to His promises and the hope to see them unfold.
This is an appreciation post for @zoe_with_the_umlaut, taken back before the start of our wild hair adventures. Just wanted to randomly tell you how much I love you- for your bold nature and your willingness to chase after what you want. For your fiery and passionate heart, that yet at the same time is tender and kind. For all that you are- a diehard for music and classic movies, a late night deep conversationalist, and a friend that anyone would be blessed to have. Love ya Zo