When Did Worship Become a Chore?

As a youth intern and youth worship team director, I find myself spending a lot of time planning worship services and practices. I had practice yesterday for a youth rally tonight. I’ll practice with my students sometime this week for next Sunday evenings service. I’ll finish putting together their folders full of pages and pages of music and coordinate practices and fundraisers for after the first of the year.

I’ve found myself so busy with planning and pulling off these services that it’s almost second nature to go full on auto pilot and coast through them. Yesterday was no different. Corralling a full band and finding time for us to practice for a rally is exhausting. Keeping track with what my worship team is up to and coordinating and discussing things with those eight students ranging in age from 13 to 18 is challenging at best. And locating enough equipment to meet our needs is single handedly the most frustrating part of this job.

I ran all over the church yesterday afternoon making copies of music and trying to find microphones for everyone. I griped and complained the whole time. A practice that was supposed to start at 12:45 didn’t start until almost 2. By the time it started, I was ready for it to be over.

When it finally was over, the Holy Spirit gave me one of those “Shoulda had a V8” head bops.

“When did worshipping Me become a chore? When did it become something you feel like you have to do, rather than get to do?”

Okay God, you have my attention.

Philippians 4 talks about God exalting the Son to the highest place and that every knee will bow at the name of Jesus. That same chapter goes on to tell us to do everything without grumbling or arguing.

Not only did God show me the reason why I worship Him and why I should view it as I get to lead my student team instead of having to lead them, but He also showed me that I should check my attitude while doing it.

I like to think that God has a sense of humor. He knows I grumble, a lot. What better way to teach me something than to point out my grumbling.

Tonight I will get to help lead worship for a youth rally. I get to. I don’t have to. This week, I get to practice with my students and prepare them for next Sunday. I get to. I don’t have to. This week I get to worship the Father in several different capacities. I get to. I don’t have to.

So today, I encourage you to check your grumbling. I encourage you to spend time in worship because you get to. Not because you have to.

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Trading Scars.

Disclaimer: There is the possibility that this could be triggering to some. Read with care.

If there is one thing that I’ve learned in almost ten years of struggling with self harm, it’s that some scars fade and some don’t.

In the past nine years, I’ve collected my fair share of scars. Thankfully some of them have faded. But, I can still count around forty or so that I can still see. Some more than others.

I know that others can see some of them. That fact alone used to cause me so much anxiety. I didn’t want people to see them because I didn’t want them to ask me about them. But the more and more that I’ve become an advocate for awareness, the more and more I welcome the question.

My scars used to really bother me. Sometimes they still do. I see them and I recall the days before scars were scattered across my body. Sometimes I forget what my arms looked like before I made that first cut in 2005.

And then it hit me. Or better stated He hit me with His truth.

“I’ve already traded your scars for mine.”

Wow. Talk about a holy moment.

I’ve spent far too much time focused on the negatives of my scars instead of realizing they are already His.

I’ve spent far too much time thinking that blood was the only option I ever had, only to realize that I was right.
Blood is the answer.
Just not mine.

The idea that my scars are worth everything to Him is something I’m not used to.
I know that I still have so much more healing to do in this area of my life.

I’m thankful that each of you have decided to join me in this journey, in whatever capacity.
Recovery will never be finished.
But this story is far from being over.

Welcome to a New Year.

Yesterday I celebrated my 26th birthday.
I’ve already written about that over on Project Semicolon, so I won’t go into all those details again here.
What I do want to talk about is the year to come.

Twenty-five has come and gone, but twenty-six is here to stay for awhile. And with that comes so many possibilities.

I’m still working on my book, and plan on really kicking it into high gear this year. I’ve spoken twice at two different churches and hope to speak more. I’m still debating on applying again for an internship with TWLOHA. I have things I want to check off my bucketlist.

Instead of looking back, I’m choosing to look forward.

I have an incredible church and church family.
I have incredible friends.
I serve an incredible God.

Twenty-five taught me a lot and brought a lot of new people to my life.
I’m looking forward to what twenty-six brings.

If you were a part of making last year wonderful, I hope that you stick around for this year. I have a lot of adventures I want to go on and want to share them with you.

Let’s keep writing this story;

Remembering to Dream Again.

Wednesday will be six months since I said goodbye to my mom.
In these past six months there have been a lot of moments I’d rather forget, but also plenty that I’ve been very thankful for.

It has always been a dream to be able to share my story with people. That’s why I started this blog. For awhile, I thought that was as far as this dream would go.
But in traditional fashion, God stepped in with multiple “Yay God” moments.
In the past two months, I’ve had the opportunity to speak not only at my home church, but also in Sallisaw and have been given the opportunity to write for a website that has helped transform and save lives.

Now all of a sudden, the dream of writing a book and speaking and sharing my story that I had all but given up on, has been given a new spark. I’ve began to distance myself from the people that haven’t believed in me or my dream. I’ve began to be more open to what He would have me do, and have found that being obedient has opened up doors that I never thought possible.

We were meant to dream.
We were meant to dream big dreams.

If someone has discouraged you from your dreams, I’m truly sorry.
I hope that you are reminded that your dreams are important and that they matter.
They are important and they matter because you are important and you matter.

I encourage you to pursue your dreams again.
I encourage you to surround yourself with people that will speak life into you and your dreams.

Keep dreaming my friends.