Too Weary or Worried to Worship?

Do you ever walk into your church service begrudgingly? Maybe your week didn’t go as planned, or you just received bad news, or you are engaged in a seemingly never-ending battle with a person or condition in your life.

Do you ever choose to stay in bed instead of walking through those sanctuary doors? Maybe avoiding the potential unwelcome greetings or “hey, how are yous” seems more inviting than facing them and having to possibly come up with a phony reply or worse yet, answer honestly!

Many Sundays, I am the worship leader in our church. I am expected to help ‘usher’ the congregants to the throne of the King of the Kings in a time of worship and song. Sometimes I am not ‘feeling it.’ There, I said it. Sometimes I have had a bad week, or I or one of my family members have suffered a huge disappointment. And openly worshipping God is not number one on my priority list. There, I said that too.

I realize that I sound like I sometimes worship God based on my life circumstances instead of basing it on Who He is. That would be true at times. It is also something I am working hard to remedy.

I shared the following on my Gwen Thielges Writing and Music Facebook page a few months ago: “Something I’ve experienced through leading music in our church: When things are going ‘right’ in my life, and I go to church with praise on my tongue, it’s easy to be in front and encourage a congregation to lift up the name of Jesus in song. When things are not so much ‘right’ in my life…it’s hard. But it is always, always rewarding. It never fails that God speaks to me through the worship time on those tough mornings and gets my heart prepared for the rest of the service. He reminds me of His faithfulness, His plan, and the fact that He sees me and hears me. And most of all, I’m reminded of His love. If God cares that some insignificant-feeling, middle-aged mama in North Dakota is feeling down…then my friend, He cares about and loves us all! And He wants us to know that we know that we know that we are loved beyond description. I just want to encourage you this morning to sing a song of praise whether you ‘feel’ like it or not. You’ll be blessed. God WILL show up.”

May I encourage you to do better with this than I do? I am not saying we should worship God even when we do not ‘feel’ like it just because He will show up. I am saying we should worship God even when we do not ‘feel’ like it simply because He is worthy of our worship, adoration, and gratefulness no matter what!

He has a master design for our lives. Our disappointments, battles, and scars somehow add to the beauty of the tapestry He is weaving in our lives – something that can only be done by a God as awesome as our God is. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” What a promise to remind us that He is working in the lives of those who love Him through all the details. It is a reminder that we can trust Him through the difficult times for results that bring glory to Him. We can trust Him enough to say, “I choose to put my eyes on You, God, rather than on my life’s circumstances.” When our eyes are on Him, we can’t help but notice that we are in the presence of a God who deserves enthusiastic, extravagant worship.

Let us remember that worshipping our Heavenly Father is an all-the-time opportunity, not just a 20-minute Sunday morning opportunity right before the sermon. Psalm 29:2 says, “Honor the LORD for the glory of his name. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.”

May our lives show Jeremiah 29:13 to be true, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

Come, let us seek Him with our whole hearts and worship Him through the weariness and worry. He is worthy. Bonus: He WILL show up!

What Will You Do With The Gift?

I would like for you to imagine telling someone there is a gift waiting for them with their name on it. Imagine telling them this particular gift will renew their perspective, remind them of their priorities, and reveal their purpose. Now, imagine if that person said, “Wow, that gift sounds awesome! How wonderful to have access to that!”…and then they proceed to ignore it? They decide to leave it unopened. Would you be outraged? Shocked? Puzzled, at the very least?

If that gift was offered to you, would you ignore it and allow it to remain wrapped? No way!

But we all do it! We leave one of our most beautiful treasures unopened. Friends, we’ve been given a gift beyond words: a love letter from the Originator of Love. A Holy Book filled with love, lessons, and life. Literally!

The Bible reminds us who we are, whose we are, and how we can live in a way that communicates God’s life-saving message to others. While reading His Word, we are given the gift of being in His presence and hearing His voice speaking directly to us.

When it comes to the gift of His Word, why do we sometimes pretend it’s not there? Why do we dismiss it as an unimportant aspect of our Christian walk?

Sometimes the thought is, “The Bible is hard to understand.” Yes, some parts ARE difficult to grasp. Remember, we serve a God whose ways are above our ways! That doesn’t mean we should avoid His Word. Instead, that can be one of the reasons we strive to read His Word more often – to get to know Him better.

I have heard people say the Old Testament is boring or that it does not relate to today’s world. However, as I’ve begun to see the historical relevance, the way in which the Old Testament and New Testament completely intertwine, and the character of God revealed through the ‘pre-Jesus’ time of the world, I have come to love that part of Scripture!

I would be lying if I said that the quality and quantity of my Bible-reading time is what it should be. But let me say that the times in my life when I have taken the time to delve into the Bible and take His Words to heart, I have been able to hear Him speaking to me much more clearly.

While regularly reading our Bible will not mean that our life will become peaceful and free from hardship, our ability to deal with those messy life circumstances will improve immensely.

Our focus will no longer be the problem. It will instead be the One who is bigger than the problem. We will become less concerned about what the world thinks of us, and instead be more enthralled by what God thinks of us. He delights in us and rejoices over us. We will discover a generous amount of beautiful truths such as those when we open our Bible.

When my husband and I give our children a gift, their thankful reactions and smiles bring us happiness. Imagine the happiness we bring our Heavenly Father when we unwrap His Inspired Word – the happiness we bring Him when we see, experience, and thank Him for such an indescribable gift. May today be the day we open His gift and marvel in it!