The Let Down

So you found out you’re human?  “Normal” has come back to haunt you and you thought you’d never see it again.

I’d tell you to suck it up and quit whining but since I’m talking to myself, it seems kind of pointless.

Why do we seek God, or feel like we’re finding God in the emotional highs of conferences, worship nights, church services or mission trips?  There’s always the let down.  We thought we had a handle on things, that we had gained a better perspective, a cleaner heart, a mind that could understand, an improved me.  But then life comes back in and proves us unfaithful, shines the spotlight on how weak, how inadequate we are.

Yeah.

I’m going through that right now.  I’m home from Nicaragua after seeing and experiencing God in so many tangible ways.  But, I’m still just me.  I still can’t be a pastor, my business is still failing, my family still has the same issues.  I still work in a factory.

But, that is not what defines me.

We need the highs, not as an addict needs a buzz, more like an inventor needs a lightning bolt, more like a good night’s sleep, more like a kiss from the person you love the most.

Maybe you’re like me.  The voices calling you failure, the evidence that weighs against you, the darkness that seems to cover you make you believe that that is who you are, the limits you must accept.

God would tell you, tell me something else.  Not that we can experience highs all the time but that we are more than our humanity, more than our weakness.  He would have us know that He is more also, more than we can possibly imagine.

The let down just reminds us that we can never get too much of Him.

More Than A Song

As worship leaders, as worshipers, we do the songs over and over.  We practice and perform and, though the words still mean something to us, we no longer submit to them.

“I am free to run…”

Do we run in Him?  Do we dance?  Do we see the blind healed, the dead rise?

“My foes are many, they rise against me, but I will hold my ground…”

Do we hold our ground in the face of attacks from the enemy?  Do we fight fearlessly against the war that he brings?  Do we take the fight to him?

I don’t want to sing the songs and not live the life.  I don’t want to call people to the feet of Jesus and stand at a distance unmoved.  My heart needs set on fire.  My life needs to change, to grow.

I want to believe, to know that nothing compares to His grace.  I want to be humbled by His majesty.  I want to have all I need in His unending love.

Cold Water

A simple request.  “Could you get me some cold water?”

And I heard the voice of God!

I practice and sing.  I want to be “good”, whatever that means.  Excellence is a core value for our church, and for me personally.  I know that I’m not that good.  I have seen to many excellent musicians, doing amazing things, to ever think that I am even in their league.  But I still push myself.  At fifty-one years, having played for almost thirty-seven of those years, I still want to get better, faster, more confidant, more artistic.

But one thing is blatantly revealed in my playing, I am inadequate.

This may sound like self-pity or a need for encouragement.  It may sound like self-deprecation or humility.  It is not.

I have so much fun playing.  There are few things that sadden me more than not playing music.  There are only a couple that I ask God not to take from me.  One of those things is music, as realistically limited as my skills are, it is something so deep within me that to remove it would kill me.

So what does God want with me, my skills, my passions, my heart and soul?  What does the Creator of the universe, the one who put me together, planned me from the beginning of time, fashioned me through physical attributes and the molding of time and experience, what does He want from me?

“Could I have some cold water please?”

Cold water in a glass on a hot summer evening.  Cold water splashed in my face in the early morning.  Cold water lapping at my toes as I walk the beaches of Lake Michigan.  Cold water pouring over my body in the middle of winter.  A cold shower, an ice pack, snow falling softly in the middle of the woods or coming in blizzards that blanket our roads, our houses.

Cold water can come in many different forms.  Is that what You call me to?  To be refreshing, awakening, calming, shocking, healing, quieting, covering….

Yes, Lord.

Dance, Dance

Why do we lift our hands in worship?  Why do we sway to a waltz and tap our feet to the beat of a drum?  Why do we clap our hands and stand in appreciation of a performance, a person?

I come to worship, at times, with a heavy heart.  Troubles often seem to surround me and the last thing I want to do is lift my hands. When I was younger, I thought it was fake to sing and praise when there was nothing inside.  I thought God would appreciate my honesty with Him.  Maybe He did.

I think He appreciates a yielded heart more.  I think He looks on my heart and sees me lift my hands.  He knows my circumstances and my worries and takes note that I pursue Him.

There is a physical aspect of worship, a discipline of doing what needs to be done, that positions us to hear, to receive, to obey.  And God honors that.  We want the emotion, the high of sensing His presence, of knowing His goodness.  But, this often comes on the heels of submitting our wills, our intellect, our reason and our hope to Him.

In some churches, raised hands are considered inappropriate, clapping hands are not seen as reverent.  I find the opposite true in my own life.  I can feel my heart so broken and weighted, and, in the act of dancing or pointing to Him, feel the weight lifted, the healing begin.  In the act of raising my hands, I sense my soul becoming still.  “Be still and know that He is God,” doesn’t necessarily refer to being physically still, but an inward stillness.

I am older, not skinny, a ridiculously uncoordinated, goofy, little man.  And if I am seen as undignified, I will stand with king David and say, “I’ll become even more undignified than this…,” FOR HIM!