Saturday, February 6, 2010
Do you like old hymns? I may get a tomato thrown at me for saying so, but I'm not a huge fan. It's okay to me that some people are - I'm not against them or anything. It's just that, they aren't the way that I personally connect with God. I'm no fool. I realize that my children and eventual grandchildren will probably feel the same way about the music that I listen to, and that's okay with me. Because, it isn't what you worship to, or even how you worship. The important thing is THAT you worship. Worship is connection with the Lover of our Souls. It isn't always found in reading the Bible, prayer, or even at church. Those things are good, scriptural, and necessary for your relationship to grow as well, but without worship they can each quickly become monotonous or ritualistic. Can you imagine if your spouse only went through the motions? I for one would feel staleness over time, if my husband only showed affection toward me with a peck on the lips before work everyday. If he never hugged me or told me lovely things about myself, and what I mean to him, I can imagine myself questioning a lot of things. Like commitment. Are you showing God your commitment? Are you worshiping Him in some way that is special to you?
I am an "art person". I am not mathematical or scientific in nature at all. That is not to say that I'm not a deep thinker at times, but throughout my life my spirit has my commonly "overflown" ;) through some type of art, music, performing (I'm a first class ham), or writing. So you don't have to stretch your mind very far to imagine someone like me trolloping around the house singing out some worship song as I go about my day. I'm a night owl too, and I can't tell you how many times that my worship has come in the form of drawing, sculpting clay, colored pencil or paint at 3 in the morning. Sometimes, there isn't even a worthy end product, but that isn't the point. Many times I've come across an old notebook and flipped through the pages to find some poem or attempt at a chorus to honor God. This is my kind of worship.
As many of you know, I am now in a cult: "The runner's club". I have been at it for about two and a half months and it is most definitely a way of life for me now. It is tricky to find the time, or a clear road some days, but running is part of who I am now. I hate to admit it, but I don't even hate it as much as I had. *Please note, "as much". I began running after I could no longer deny that The Holy Spirit was nudging me to do so. I had to get over my initial fear, but I did it. I even became comfortable enough to go public. (see former blog entry "Holy Cow, I'm a Rockstar!!!") Beginning in cool weather was a good choice for me, and I calculated that into the getting over my fear part. (Hey! What do you know! I am a little mathematical after all.) I had a heatstroke as a 7 year old, and as a lasting effect I get overheated easier then the average Joe. Also, I have exercised induced asthma.
So, I have been running in this freezing cold, but making incredible progress, nonetheless. I am very proud of myself. I will be entering my first 5K in about a month. (If you are wondering where I'm going, hold on, I'm nearly there.) My sweet husband got me an MP3 player for my birthday, which was only a week or two after I began. It has a nice armband and a stopwatch on it. My trainer friend has me running for time rather than distance or speed, so this feature is just perfect. I have known all along that the music helped me. I have laughed out loud before as some of the lyrics seem to be custom for me at that very moment. Lines like: "I don't have time to maintain these regrets" and "my heart beats violently inside of my chest", "praise Him under open skies", and there is one that escapes me now about rhythm, but needing rest. Occasionally as a runner, you will have one of those days where you feel like you are literally pulling dead legs behind you, and you must mentally push yourself toward the goal. On those days, I swear that I can feel God encouraging me through song lyrics. Yes, there is no doubt, even to a nonbeliever: music helps one to run.
Today was cold. Very cold. We had been out earlier in the day playing in the snow with our children, but by the time that I got to run, the sun was going down, and the windchill (which is the real killer, by the way) picked up a lot. My scheduled run today was 30 minutes. I have been doing 30 for a while, and will be increasing on Tuesday, in fact, so it wasn't a problem as I set out in the cold, cold wind. Quickly I regretted not grabbing my scarf. As bulky and annoying as it is, I still wished I had it as extra bundle around my face today. Nonetheless, I said a little prayer, focused hard on the music and pressed on. Intently I got lost in the lyrics, often wrapped in scripture. The thoughts and wonders of our Amazing God soon distracted me from the cold and I ran. I ran and ran. Then, all of a sudden....silence. Now I heard: Cars whizzing. A flag's facets clanging hard on it's pole. A man's footsteps crunching in the snow. A dog barking. And most loudly, my heavy breathing.
I'll bet you think you know what I'm going to say. Do you think that this blog is about beauty and appreciation of nature? How I found God in the silence? Sorry. Not this time. The eight minutes home was enough for me to realize that running, the thing about myself that is most foreign to me, has somehow become a form of worship for me. Isn't that just like God? The same God who "makes beauty from ashes". Yes, that's exactly what has happened here. He has called me to Him. To grow closer still. And He used a part of my life where nothing was natural or came easy for me. Oh my goodness, Yes! That is my God. He has made beauty from my ashes once again, even if the ashes were just yucky exercise.
God wants ALL OF YOU. He wants to be the Lover of Your Soul. Is He? He won't force Himself there, but He will most definitely meet you there with lots of hugs if you let Him. And so I ask you: What is worship for you? Where can you find yourself getting lost with Him? If it is in that hymnal, then by all means honey, sing away. Consider finding Him in art like I do. Or maybe it's cooking. Mmmmm. A fresh loaf of bread smells of comfort, and all of that kneading is good for stress relief. Whatever form it is, do it. Tell Him you love Him and find Him truly awesome. Dance, sing, paint, bake, walk in the woods, rock a baby to sleep, sit in the dark with Him, or even, yes, run in that awe. Do it, and grow closer to Him.....But don't be surprised if one day He finds you in a place like changing the oil in the car and somehow makes that worship too. He is like that. :)