I have an example of a “do over” (as mentioned in yesterday’s blog entry) that I am slowly, surely, going through, that I *am* doing God’s way. How about that! 🙂 I want to share a bit about this with you…not only to show you an example of what I have been talking about, but also to sort of add some element of accountability here for me. It isn’t settled yet.
One of the things I LOVE to do is to worship God. I love to sing and praise and love leading his people in worshiping him, too. I get an image in my mind of standing before the throne of God…He is the only audience and we are all there before him, worshiping Him and honoring and exalting Him. I am transported to a heavenly place where I have no sense of SELF and a total awareness of how HUGE and AWESOME and WONDERFUL the GOD I serve is!!!
I am quite insecure and care waaaay too much about what others think of me. It is something I have struggled with all my life in spite of God working with me on this for years. I see it can be an idol in my life! Anything that determines my steps, my choices, what I do and say, other than HIM, is suspect as an idol in my life. He wants to be what drives me, what sustains me and that is what I want, too, in the deepest part of who I am.
When you gain and lose and gain weight as quickly, often, and as much as I have (and do) over the years and when even Christian circles tend to evaluate people based on how they look, and when you are up front on a platform leading worship…well, you begin to think that any overhead light in the auditorium is shining directly on your hips, that people can’t worship because of you, that every extra pound points out your failure to live for the Lord…in front of “tons” of people! You become convinced that the people who aren’t closing their eyes when they worship are specifically analyzing YOUR pants size THIS week…and evaluating YOUR godliness based on what they come up with. It is a HORRIBLE place to be. SO self-preoccupied. And in the middle of worship??? Yuck! How fleshly can I be????
And, of course, this is based on the lie that people even CARE! It is a place where the enemy loves to taunt and torment me and try to keep me from being able to worship him freely, even as I help (hopefully) to lead the people in worship from the platform! It is AWFUL!
So, in the past, when I have gone through one of my “gaining” periods, I have bailed. I have said no to any requests to help out with leading worship, to sing solos, or any other “up front” ministry. I have refused to use my gifts, skills, talents and joys…whatever it is that HE has given me that allows me otherwise to serve and minister as He leads. In essence, I have allowed shame to beat me down–back into hiding under a bushel again. And shame begets sin begets shame begets sin.
So here is the do-over part. 🙂 As I have shared here, for the past 16 months or so (wow, has it been that long?), I have really been struggling with being obedient to the Lord. I know he wants me to learn obedience (I think previously, I wasn’t so obedient either…but masked it well, but that is best left for another blog entry). And my “struggle” has been manifested on my ever-widening hips once again. Each week that I am on the worship team, I have thoughts that flit through my head…I entertain the idea of quitting…of letting shame, once again, win the battle. On my really bad days, I torment myself about it. On the good days, it might be a fleeting thought that I dismiss with prayer and praise…but it is always before me. :-/
This time I know what is going on. I know that the Enemy of my soul is at the root of this. I know that he wants me to wrap my excuses in a “godly” reason, too:
“I dishonor the Lord by my disobedience, so I am not qualified to lead in any way…I should step down until I can be an example of honoring the Lord in my choices.”
The truth is, I have a call from God that trumps that so-called “godly” reasoning. God has told me without a doubt that this is one of the do-overs. That THIS time, I need to learn to praise him through it, to get eyes off of self and others and to press on to know Him more…
So that is what I am doing. Each Sunday when I get irritated with myself about what I will wear on the platform again (hopefully something that hides the obvious, is my thought), I entertain the notion of quitting…but He reminds me that this isn’t an option because He wants to teach me that if I keep my eyes on HIM, that is all that matters. I am there to praise HIM, exalt HIM, no matter what. So that is what I do. Sometimes it is a HUGE battle and I have to fight, even as I sing and play…for everything I am worth, to fix my eyes on HIM.
How about you? Are there ministries that you have allowed yourself to stop being involved in because of shame? Are there experiences you deny yourself and others…ways that you keep God from using you because of shame in your life? How about allowing God to make this into a do-over…and choose not to let shame and the Enemy win. Choose to praise Him in the midst of it. Choose to do THIS do over the way God would have you. Discover HIS sufficiency, His strength!