Have you ever had a “word of the year”?
Every December, the local Christian radio station does a campaign encouraging people to choose a word for the coming year. It’s supposed to be something that challenges you in an area you need to work on, kind of a daily kick in the pants to not be a slacker. I’ve never picked a word before, mostly because I can’t decide—among the myriad things I need help with—which one is the most important, but also because I’m just not a bandwagon kind of girl. I’m not one to do what everyone else is doing just because it’s the new “thing” to do.
But for whatever reason, I chose the word “worship” to focus on for 2014. I felt like I was kind of in a rut, going through the motions of sing a hymn, pray, sit down, stand up, sing another hymn, listen to the preaching, sing, go home. So I started each day by reminding myself to find instances when I could worship. I looked for beautiful things, helpful people—anything that was positive. And I learned two things: (1) that over the years I had begun to notice the bad before the good, I had come to expect the bad, and that the good almost surprised me; and (2) that I had a lot to learn about worship.
I learned that worship is not just when something good happens and you say, “Wow, that was awesome! Thanks, God! You rock!” It’s more of a whatever and no matter what comes my way, God is wonderful and holy and magnificent and all-powerful and full of grace and mercy, and my goodness, don’t we need to remember all of that every single day? It was a daily reminder of all that God is, all the time, even when I’m not thinking about him because the car broke or the boss is crabby or somebody cut me off on 95. Worship is an action that reflects a constant state of mind that I am his and he is mine no matter what else is happening in my life, good or bad or terrifying, and how comforting that is! No matter what, the Lord is worthy of worship all the time.
And the best part is that when 2014 ended, that time of focusing on worship did not. It became a habit. “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established” (Proverbs 16:3). If you want to establish a new way of thinking, start DOING first, and eventually, your thoughts will follow. In the beginning, I had to always be looking for opportunities to worship—a beautiful sunrise on the way to work, the great garden fire in the middle of the night that did NOT burn my house to the ground, safety for my son and daughter-in-love while they were deployed in hostile places around the globe. But by the end of the year, the worship was just spilling out of me over little things—a great cup of Wawa coffee, a good night’s sleep, a husband who can fix things and save us thousands of dollars. And then the big things became even bigger—that I have a God who loves me in spite of what I am, a faithful husband for 31 years, five kids and three grandsons all healthy and happy and leading productive lives.
The Lord is worthy.