It was way back in the day when I was a new Mama... all sleep deprived and angsty - unaware of what to do or how to be... unsure of who I was, or who I was becoming... it was in that season, as a new(ish) Christian, a newer wife, and a brand new parent, that I first began hearing Him call my name.
(Resisting the urge to post - yet again - that old photo of me and my girlie because - did you see that here last week, uh - twice? #swoon!)
It was in those early babyhood years that I first tuned in to the Voice of the One singing my name. He was whispering to me... bidding me to come. He got a bit louder... or clearer, anyway, and I realized then that I had a choice. I could choose to roll over and go back to sleep, or I could choose to heed His call and get up!
In the midnight hours of moonlit skies and peace filled quiet, God called to me and said, "I just want you to come and be with Me!" I wrote about this conversation with the Lord in my Encountering God series last Fall... you can read that in full HERE.
Basically, I shared about how in my frazzled, convicted for not giving Him enough (fill in the blank), and exhausted state of stumbling out into a dark living room - feeling as if I was just barely living at all, I attempted to 'right' my 'wrong' by praying All. The. Things. He let me ramble on for awhile, but then gently spoke over me. He whispered soothingly to my wits end heart, "...I just want you to be with Me. You don't have to DO anything. In fact, sometimes I just love to watch you sleep."
Ah - this I understood! I loved to watch my baby sleep. This was the beginning of my learning how to live a lifestyle of worship!
Here is the thing: Worship is more than songs. It is more than the beginning of church where we still visit or sneak in late. Worship is also more than that intercessor you know who spends hours on her knees, or even the midnight hours where you are awakened to pray. Worship is the constant breathing in and out with His breath in our lungs... it's the gifts of blessing out in the wide open and hidden in darker corners of our days. Worship is an All In attitude and a heart surrendered to his goodness.
Webster's defines it this way:
worshipverb: to honor or respect (someone or something) as a god: to show respect and love for God or for a god especially by praying, having religious services, etc.: to love or honor (someone or something) very much or too muchtransitive verb:1: to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power2: to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion
Extravagant... Devoted... giving and bringing Honor... yes, Lord! Let that be said of me!
No matter our gifting, our purpose in life, our vocation or social status, our passions or hobbies... our one call... the greatest command that we are to run after, is to 'love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, our mind, and strength.'
In the Gospel of John, worship is described this way:
“It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” (John 4:23-24 The Message)
There have been seasons in my life when I have had more time to set aside, and when I have had little to seemingly no time. There was a season where we had set aside a Prayer room in our home... at naptime, when my Girlie would sleep - I would press in and pray through and worship with all of my heart. It was a short season - but I am reaping from it still! There have been seasons when all I wanted to do was crank up some worship and pull out my flags... seasons when a song would capture my heart and attention and I would pour out my worship full force, not holding anything back... Seasons where Worship happened in the quiet... in the car... grocery shopping, over coffee, or playing at the park!
But there have been seasons where I really wasn't feeling it. Where things weren't going the way I wanted them to and I was heavy and tired... a little disappointed and let down by the world, by myself... In my flesh... I wanted to just sit this one out. I fought against thoughts of 'I will worship later!' I couldn't muster up the energy to go through the motions and I just didn't want to fake it.
Can I tell you, even in those times... I was living a lifestyle of worship!
Original painting by Karrilee 2013
I would breathe Him in deep... hold Him close even when it felt like I was holding everyone at arms length. It's the simply turning our thoughts and our heart back to Him and saying yes Lord! Yes, I choose you... again and again... always and forever... I choose you! This is worship! Being real with Him... being honest... vulnerable. He can take your heart when it's messy and jacked up, and when it's cleansed and pure. It's His anyway... your heart... He purchased it, bled out for it and redeemed and purified it already! Worship is simply giving it back to Him. Choosing Him. Trusting Him with what is His already!
This is worship on the good days, and on the hard ones, too!
To lean in... to bow down... to cry out... with your whole heart and with a broken spirit... and with a broken heart, and your healed spirit.
Some days - it's a joy and you are so filled to overflowing with His Presence already that worship just spills out. And there are the other days - when it feels more like a choice. When you must settle your mind and quiet your heart and choose to battle and war your way in to worship.
Let us be like Peter... on any day - on every day... let us say, Where else would we go, Lord? For you have the words of eternal life.
Every day... we choose You, Lord!
We choose You!
P.S. I'm linking up with:Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory
Holley Gerth for #CoffeeforYourHeart
and Holly Barrett for #TestimonyTuesday
What images or emotions come to surface when you think about Worship? What is your current favorite song? I'd love to hear! Please share in the comments below!