photo from Unsplash
(cont from part 1)
For me, one struggle I faced in learning to have a heart of peace was to not to confuse work with worship.
I knew something was wrong when I realized that my typical Sunday was not what I associated with worship.
It was an adrenaline-high blur of one thing after another--getting to church early to help with set up, making drinks during refreshments, teaching Sunday School, trying to snatch conversations in between with different people, packing up, rushing home, getting out lunch and most likely having a house full of people, more talk, more laughter, serving together. Not that this is a bad way to spend a Sunday, mind you. But what with all the things to be done, the whole day turned into a sort of Amazing Race for me, and worship was the last thing on my mind in my high-energy, giddy state as I scampered from one activity to another like a hamster on espresso.
You need restfulness to worship. Enough peace to purposefully put aside the things hanging on you, clamouring 24/7.
But to be honest, peace--not just for Christians--is far from abundant in our modern lifestyle today. It's about speed, efficiency, productivity, thrills, hype. And that is why it is even more crucial that Christians today experience and learn how to cultivate, how to hold on to peace. Having a heart of peace has become one of the greatest challenges to me once I realized how much I needed it. This equates to a state of trust in God and His person, a level of intimacy and love which enables you to transcend the ever-changing state of your environment and your feelings, and becomes a stable, steady foundation for you when everything else is going upside-down.
(I'm afraid peacefulness and restfulness is very far from coming naturally to my personality, as I tend to veer on the intense side. Don't so kanchiong can. Just relax lah, as we say in Singapore. In fact, this is something I'm struggling--more--with especially right now.)
For me, simply because there were so many needs around me, and especially in church, I unconsciously slipped into prioritizing serving above everything else, and it became the whole focus of Sunday for me. After all, I reasoned, these were all good things, things which needed to be done, things which blessed others and would bless me too, things which pleased God.
Don't let your work for God replace your worship. As much as we desire to serve Him, to do great things, our relationship with Him is the source of the strength and motivation with which we serve, and more importantly, it is the reason we serve. Without that, we might as well be trying to please our boss, our parents, our teachers, or a cause, by doing what we think might impress them. Look, Mom, I'm eating all my vegetables.
Before you give your energy and attention to the hundred and one things that are waiting for you--no matter how good or necessary or even "God-glorifying"-- take a moment to quiet yourself. To talk to Him. To open your heart, with its anxieties, doubts, insecurities, failures, and needs. Without feeling ashamed or guilty that you have all this "baggage," or that you're taking time to do this. Worship. Remember Who He is, and what He has done for you. Meditate on His attributes and how they apply to your life, right now. Confess what's burdening you, ask for His help, acknowledge that you're struggling to do it all, struggling to trust, struggling to do what's right...
Worship. Before you work.
"...But the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits."
a small voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are
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