I do love the original song (I tend to get my country groove on whenever it comes up in my iTunes shuffle, and it’s a good thing that’s usually when no one is around).
But this attempt of mine to live a life that’s aware of the God-things in it occasionally (often) affords me the opportunity to get sort of Gibbs-slapped by realizations of how I’m trying to make things work for me. I think I’ve mentioned before, I might be a bit of a control freak. Just a smidge. Not neurotically, or anything. I’m pretty sure.
One day a week I have choir rehearsal, and my schedule has shaken out such that I have a couple of hours of downtime after my last class and before rehearsal, so I usually try to reset, do dinner, and head to the church about half an hour or so early to hang out in the chapel. It’s my Sabbath, in a way, my time to be in the silence of reviewing the week and really slowing down enough to notice God in my life and in the songs I’m about to sing.
Anyway, this week, I had company over, so I left my house later than usual. When I got to the church, I realized that something had been changed for the service Sunday that wouldn’t make my life miserable at all, but would need me to do some extra work to accommodate the change. I was honked off, then, that I would need to do the extra work but more that no one had thought I needed to know this new information—yes, I would figure it out by other ways, but I would have liked to be in the loop, to be part of the team I was supposedly on.
So I spent what little time I had before rehearsal arranging to fix that, and then in rehearsal (which, let me just say right here, my fellow choir members are kind of the most rocking people around) I got into a discussion with a friend of mine about an understanding of a Church tenet on which we seem to have very different views. This isn’t unusual for me and this friend or for me and a lot of the people at church, but my first reaction is often, unfortunately, that I must be wrong or that I haven’t considered something from enough angles.
So then I was defensive in my own mind about that on top of being frustrated about the service change and on top of never having stopped from what has been an exceptionally busy couple of weeks filled with people and expectations and the general life of living flat-out.
Fortunately, sometimes God doesn’t wait for me to get subtle hints. In the middle of the rehearsal, as I’m sort of stewing in my own heart about the things that I shouldn’t be mad or worried about but am, and then being mad at myself for not being able to let such things go, I actually start listening to the songs I’m singing. “What a blessedness, what a joy is mine, leaning on the everlasting arms.”
When I was at my last church, I worked in the office, and church became about a paycheck for me, which is part of why I’m so gun-shy about any kind of ministry. I don’t want to be a Christian in any sense that means I do church stuff and then I go home; I don’t want to feel like a Christian but forget to believe in a God I can trust. I realized that I was more worried about the service change or the erudite level of my own beliefs when held against others than I was about why I was at church in the first place. I was forgetting that God can handle all of my stuff easily and that that wasn’t what I needed to worry about, anyway.
If I hadn’t had the time to accommodate the change in service plans, no one would have hated me for it. No one thought to tell me because everyone’s super busy and, honestly, because what I do is icing on the cake; awesome, but not necessarily vital. And my friend is a very intelligent and amazing person, but in a very different part of her faith journey than I am. Seeing a concept from different sides doesn’t make me wrong, nor does it make her wrong; it just means that that serves a different purpose for her than it does me. I had forgotten that God is not about His house or my responsibilities or other people’s opinions; He wants me, and, if that’s all I have to give, that’s enough.
The minute that I thought I could skip centering on God was the minute that I lost my center, and having danced before I know exactly how important the center is to balance. I was off-balance that night and I wasn’t willing to admit, at first, that I needed to give up all of things I thought were vital to admit Who wanted me there in the first place—thank God He reminded me.
Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of people in order to be noticed by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. (Matthew 6:1, ISV)