I never really thought about how much time I was giving away to meaningless things. Typically, my time was spent on this or that. My life had become a barrage of excuses—one after the other.
“I don’t have time to serve.”
“I need to reserve something for myself.”
"And my personal favorite"
“I’m already exhausted so there’s not room for ONE MORE THING.”
It was, by far, the emptiest plan for my life that I had created, and then He planted a bug in my ear, over and over. Have you ever met someone who keeps doing something to you until you give up or give in? Like the character in that movie who sings the same maddening song to get a friend to help him, and it worked. Don’t get me wrong; I’m certainly not saying God is a nuisance, but He definitely is persistent. What did He say? It was packaged in one unadorned little word, at first.
Hmmm . . . when? When what, God? It drove me crazy trying to get the gist of what He might have meant. You see, I knew God from a past life, a life of being dragged to church by my grandmother to a place that smelled like old wood and new carpet.
(What ever happened to that smell? Sorry, I digress)
Even though I knew God in a past life, He was back like some unexpected and larger than life houseguest on the welcome mat side of the doorbell. C’mon in. What else could I say to God? He wanted to know when I was going to stop running from Him. If you recall, I said it was one word, at first. I ran from learning about Him, from fellowshipping with His people and from serving His people—I never really understood that my worship was headed in all the wrong directions. Oh, I never thought that I was worshipping idols (that was reserved for bad made-for-TV movies), but the truth is I was doing exactly that. It would be the next thing that God would say to me that would propel me into a whirlwind.
Use it or lose.
That did it! But don’t be too impressed. It took me a while to do life for the sake of Him and not for the sake of saving face. What did I do next? I’m a list maker, so I made a list. Okay God, I thought, I’ll write down where I was, where I am now, and where I want to be in the future. On my list, I scrawled three columns. In the “future” column, I wrote about seeking food in church in steady doses rather than in spurts; I wrote about reading the bible on a regular basis; I wrote about singing and writing for Him. In our past life, I had let go of Him because I had trouble with corporate worship—I had been judging God based on the actions of men. I looked at the car the pastor drove, the performances from the pulpit that had more to do with showmanship rather than relationship, and all earthly obstacles that would distract me. So here I was at a crossroad, and corporate worship was unavoidable. How was I going to handle it? The answer, I wasn’t going to handle anything at all; my planning skills left me obliviously empty. So I went to Him.
“I need your help.”
You!? Miss I can do it.
“I know I’ve been awful God, but I really need you.”
(I think He smiled)
I asked God to close my eyes to the world and to the mistakes of man; I wanted Him to draw me closer and keep my focus on His plan for my life. It’s funny because I was asking Him to put scales on my eyes rather than take them off. Once I truly trusted Him, I was able to give corporate worship a try. And once my eyes were shut to humanness (and granted, it still comes and goes), excuse-born judgment subsided and I found my faith and family. I’d be lying if I said there aren’t days when I wonder if the world of corporate worship is too planned and too perfect, but I’ve learned to turn to Him in those desperate moments. We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that it’s all about a relationship with Him—He makes up for the rest, man’s mistakes and all.
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