Today my world was completely rocked before 11 in the morning.
And I needed it.
As you may know if you read my last blog post, I am currently on day six of a week-long (at least) stint of vocal rest. Believe it or not, I have found a few perks that come with silence, but my attitude throughout this process has been less than ideal, so I’ve seen more of the drawbacks.
And I’ve seen a lot of them.
So this morning when I went to Pillar Church, a place where I’ve sung freely and jubilantly in the congregation for so many weeks and served as a vocalist on the worship team quite often throughout the past year, I was more than frustrated. I had never fully realized before what a large portion of church services is made up of music, and to what extent my understanding of worship is based solely on my ability to sing. I realized that when I hear the word “worship,” my mind immediately goes to singing and tends to stay there.
And that’s not all that worship is.
Worship is acknowledging God and giving him glory for the things that He is doing and has done and will do. Worship is offering what meager things we have to the God who deserves more than we know how to give him. Worship is paying attention and listening to the One who knows what the future holds and works all things together for our good. Worship is the act of adoring the one who deserves to be adored in all times and in all places and in all things. Worship can be done without verbally saying a word.
And I didn’t know how to do that.
At first, this was one more thing to be disappointed in myself for. “You put too much stock in your voice, Kathryn.” The words of doubt and self-criticism flooded my mind. “You haven’t figured out how to do this yet?” I felt bad. I felt really bad. And then, I heard God’s whisper. It wasn’t the criticism that had been pouring out of my brain or God scolding me for not fully understanding what it means to worship him; it was simply, “Do I have your attention yet?”
And I realized that he’d been pursuing me for a long time, and maybe he had finally gotten my attention.
Over the past few months, I think I’ve gotten it in my head that I have everything figured out, that I understand how God works and how the world works, that I know exactly where my life is headed, and that I have everything together.
And I’m wrong.
I should have known that I was wrong when one of my biggest fears was realized and I found out that I have a nodule on my vocal chords. I should have known that I was wrong when I found myself getting two hours of sleep per night in order to get everything done that I thought was important. I should have known that I was wrong when I realized I hadn’t cracked open my Bible in far too long. I should have known that I was wrong when I slept through a midterm (which the professor, thankfully, graciously allowed me to retake). I should have known that I was wrong a lot of times.
And I didn’t.
I sat in the front row pew of the Pillar Church balcony and realized that it had taken an extreme for me to finally let God have my attention. One of the things that I value more than almost anything else in life had to physically break in order to show me that I am not the one in control here. God had to get my attention, and it took a week of silence, a break from my constant cycle of trying to get straight A’s and love people with my own love and glorify busyness and get people to like me and achieve, achieve, achieve, to get me to listen long enough for God to help me understand that his plan holds more than I know. My weak moments, days that seem like they’ll never end, and seasons of hardship are opportunities for me to see God working. Instead, in this time of difficulty, I had let my focus become drawn to every place that it didn’t really need to be and neglected the one area where it is essential. I had wrapped myself up in so many other things that I was letting my relationship with God suffer, and all the while, he was patiently pursuing me, and he keeps loving me despite my shortcomings.
And in my silence, the Author and Perfecter of my faith is speaking.
“Do I have your attention yet?”
Yes, God. You have my attention.
Thanks for reading! Keep up with me on Twitter (@hopekathryn17), Instagram (@kathrynekrieger), and via email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”