“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” 1 Chronicles 16:11
I love my patio in spring and summer. It is the perfect place for my morning coffee, surrounded by all my potted flowers and herbs. I often spend early mornings there reading scripture, studying God’s Word, and writing down my thoughts in my gratitude journal. It is one of my happy places, enjoying the serenity of God’s creation.
The past few weeks have been a little crazy in the Collins’ household. My husband fell down our stairs, three weeks ago, landing on his wrist. He heard his bones crack, and X-rays revealed both his radius and ulna had been broken in several places, along with an acute case of carpal tunnel syndrome that had been previously undiagnosed. The severity of the break resulted in emergency surgery. His wrist is now full of hardware, one plate and seven pins, to assist in his piano playing and accounting profession. However, these functions will only resume after weeks of healing coupled with occupational therapy appointments.
For the first time in three weeks, as I sat on my patio this morning, I stopped and took a deep breath. I closed my eyes and listened to the sounds of the different birds singing, the buzzing of a bee pollinating my flowers, and the breeze rustling the leaves in my trees. As the sun was rising, I lifted my face and let its light flood me with warmth and a sense of coziness. I realized that, in the last few weeks, I have been just checking my boxes: devotions – check, prayer – check, meal planning – check, caring for Terry – check. I was going through the motions, getting everything done, but, honestly, I was emotionally checked out. I was in survivor mode, trying to anticipate my husband’s needs and still manage the household responsibilities. The only thing saving my soul was the time I have spent taking solitary walks or hiking with a new friend.
Yet, this Is not the place where I should live. I do not want to be just in survival mode. I want to lean into God in the nitty gritty moments of difficulty instead of just going through the motions. I do not want to be just checking my boxes, I want to be fully engaged and fully present, even in moments of stress. I want to be in relationship with Jesus daily, true authentic relationship full of honesty, and admitting my need for Him.
This can only come through true worship. I am not talking about the worship that we offer up Sunday mornings as we sing the words projected on the wall of our churches. I am not talking about knowing just when to raise our hands and when to clap. Yes, those can be moments of true worship, but all too often, we are just checking boxes even then. All too often, we are just going through the motions, exchanging honest worship for shallow emotions.
I do not want a religion based on emotional highs and feel-good moments. I want a relationship with Jesus, discovering His true character and exchanging my faulty thinking and agreements for the truth of His word; my doubts and cares for His truth. I want to be honest with Him when I am feeling discouraged, lonely, or stressed. I do not want to just be a “good Christian”, instead I want to be a follower of Christ who acknowledges her desperate need for God!
This true worship is choosing to adore God in the places where I doubt His goodness, and even when I do not understand. It is being vulnerable during crisis and choosing to find real living in God. Sara Hagerty says, in her book Adore, “Adoration invites me into His presence. His Word, spoken from my mouth, and a reaching for Him (however weak) within my heart, open me up to receive His presence.”
Yes, the last few weeks have been stressful. And even though Terry is improving, there is still a lot of uncertainty. When will he go back to work? How will the numbers add up in our limited budget? What are we supposed to be learning during this time? I do not have all the answers, and I may never have all the answers. But if I truly allow myself to adore God during this time of uncertainty, spending time with Him instead of just checking boxes, I know that His grace is sufficient to carry me through this uncertain time.
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