I don’t often remember my dreams, but I had one a couple of weeks ago that really stood out to me. In it, I was talking to a dream character about goals that I have for my life. The conversation went really well until someone else came in and started telling the first dream character about all the mistakes that I’ve made in my life. The first character then started laughing and jeering my goals, saying, “How could someone like you ever hope to attain those goals?” and reminding me of all the things that I’ve done wrong.
Have you ever had something like that happen to you in real life? Sometimes it’s the people around us who discount our goals for one reason or another. (This doesn’t always happen out of meanness; sometimes it’s done with the idea of “helping” us choose a “better path”.) Sometimes it’s less well-intentioned, as it was in my dream — someone telling us that we’ll never measure up, we aren’t good enough, we’ve failed so many times before that how can we expect anything but failure in the future. Most often, it’s the voices in our heads that mock us in this way.
The thing that really stood out to me about the dream is that I didn’t buy the lie. Even in my sleep I rejected the voices of accusation because I know that I am forgiven and washed clean of my mistakes – past, present and future. My mistakes may have marked who I was in the past, but they don’t mark who I am today.
One thing that I know is true is that God has even bigger and better plans for my life than I have for myself.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
I’m so grateful that my hope is in the Lord! My future is in His loving hands. Is yours?
I’ve got to admit that I don’t fully get the whole worship thing. I mean, I know that it blesses God’s heart in ways that we can’t fully imagine. I know that He is worthy of our worship; He’s the only One who is. I know that worship takes my eyes off of me and puts them on Him — which is a much better place for them to be. And in the times that I can truly connect with Him through worship, it certainly is good for my heart and boosts my intimacy level with Jesus.
In spite of that knowledge, worship often feels like a foreign language to me. I just don’t feel like I’m fluent enough in it to really communicate to Him in it, and sometimes that makes it hard for me to connect my heart to His through worship. So, I’ve decided to do something about that.
I thought I’d start by seeing what the Bible has to say about worship. Why did the people in the Bible who serve as our examples worship Him? I found out in Exodus 34:8 that Moses worshiped in response to Who He is. In Psalm 48:9, worship is out of response to His unfailing love. In Psalm 29:2, worship is the response to the glory of His name and the the splendor of His holiness. In Job 1:20 I found a remarkable verse where Job responds to overwhelming grief by worshiping God. Amazing!
One place where I don’t seem to have much trouble connecting my heart to His through worship is at Fused, our church’s youth ministry where I have the privilege of serving. It is flat out astonishing to worship with hundreds of middle and high school students, many of whom know Jesus as some of whom are still on the journey to figuring out who Jesus is and whether or not they want Him for themselves. No matter whether they know Him already or not, these students worship in ways that I think must take God’s breath away. They sing His praises at the top of their lungs, they worship freely with their bodies as they dance before Him and, in a way that honors God above all else, they live out the words of the worship songs on a daily basis. They fill me with awe at the ways that they worship, but best of all, I’m learning through their example how to worship Him more freely myself.
How do you worship Him?