Make A Joyful Noise!

One of my favorite things to do is sing! I sing with our church’s worship team, I sing at home, and I sing in the car.  The perfectionist in me wants to make sure that I am singing well. I often criticize myself to an extreme and worry about how I sound to others. When I practice on my own time; I am even more critical. I will start over, repeatedly, until I get a verse or chorus right. I am sure it drives my children crazy when they have listen to the same song over and over during car rides.

Recently, I was really getting down on myself. I was convincing myself that I was singing horribly because of my lack of music training and nervousness when singing in front of people. I e-mailed a good friend humbly asking for encouragement. I would like to share some of what she wrote back…

“Get that Devil out of your thought closet! That was the first thing that crossed my mind so I believe that is what God is trying to say to you! You don’t have to have a musical background to praise God on a worship team… “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!” You keep singing because you are just fine! Be nicer to yourself and remember this is for God and he just loves to hear you! The Congregation has nothing to do with the decision. As for you saying you mess up don’t worry! We all do it, music history or not. It is intimidating singing/playing/talking in front of people! Let it go and relax. Do it for God! Close your eyes it will be just fine.”

O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving,

and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” Psalm 95:1-3 (KJV)

Over the past several years I have experienced deep sorrows and hurts in my life. During those times the only thing that I could do was seek comfort from my Father in heaven. There are many times when I don’t have the words to pray; so I just sing! I think of a song that says exactly what I am thinking and sing it as my prayer to God. Looking back; I have noticed that when I am pouring my heart out to God that I am too humbled to think about how I sound. God doesn’t care about how perfect I am. What He cares about is my heart. And when we get back to the heart of worship; it’s all about God not me.

Heart Of Worship–Matt Redman

When the music fades
And all is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless your heart

I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the ways things appear
You’re looking into my heart

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You
All about You, Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You
It’s all about You Jesus

King of endless worth
No one could express
How much You deserve
Though I’m weak and poor
All I have is Yours
Every single breath

I’ll bring You more than just a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You
All about You, Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You
It’s all about You Jesus

Its all about you
Jesus

What A Difference A Wiper Makes!

On the way home from church; I was pondering today’s sermon and deciding what to write for today’s post. The past few weeks our pastor has been preaching a series “A Disciple’s Journey.” His purpose has been to guide us during this season of Lent in anticipation of Easter. Today he spoke about Jesus’ prayers in the garden just before he was betrayed. The message for us was: “Through prayer Jesus learned to completely trust the Father’s direction.” He mentioned that Jesus gave us an example of how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13:

“… Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,

your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

As I was driving and reflecting; it started raining. I turned my wipers on and immediately thought, “What a difference!” Right now you are probably wondering two things: 1. “What does this have to do with the above paragraph and scripture?” and 2. “How could someone be so excited about windshield wipers?”

Let me give you the answer to #2 first… Last week my husband left for a military assignment away from home. The day before he left; we spent time together as a family. We went out to lunch, went to the beach to search for sea glass, played on a playground, and ran errands. The errands included replacing the windshield wipers. Over a year ago we bought my previously used car. I have no idea how long it has been since the wipers were changed; if ever. In Okinawa, there is an average of 87.5 inches of rainfall per year. (See here for graphs and more Okinawa climate averages.) Generally, when it rains here; it pours. My old wipers did very little to clear the rain off of the windshield. They were very helpful for smearing the rain into large streaks that often made it even more difficult to see. It was worse at night since the streaks actually reflected oncoming headlights making it difficult to see the lines on the road. So hopefully now you will understand why I am so overjoyed by my new wipers.

Now to answer #1… I was considering the perfection of the way the wipers worked and comparing it to my life. Huh? In order for you to understand; I need to give you a peek into my personality. Recently, I completed an extensive personality profile test and received a 9 page report describing me almost perfectly. According to that report; my best and worst traits include the following:

Best–Ethical, Reliable, Productive, Wise, Idealistic, Fair, Honest, Orderly, and Self-Disciplined

Worst–Judgmental, Inflexible, Obsessive-Compulsive, Controlling, Anxious, Overly Serious, and Jealous

Basically, I am a perfectionist. I alphabetize, organize, and color code almost everything in my life and try to do the same for others who are not a perfectionist like me. Relating that to my spiritual life; I really do try to live according to the Bible. But, I usually end up feeling like a complete failure for not living up to Christ’s standards. This makes me try even harder only to fail even more. In today’s sermon; I was reminded that there are not perfect answers for every personal problem or situation. What we do have is a guideline (in the form of the Bible) that God gave us so that we can know Him on an intimate level. The more we study God’s Word; the more He will reveal to us. We can have a personal relationship with Him! And we can talk to him knowing that He does not expect us to be perfect. He just wants us to run the race towards the finish line!

(Below is a link to a great video that our pastor showed in church today.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isIdIKWt_FI