10 Dec From Worry to Worship

Did you notice a pale, smelly man visiting a local church this past Sunday morning?  Yeah?

That was yours truly.

Perhaps you are wondering how I ended up in the Chapel Hill balcony, sporting slightly damp workout clothes.  If you can bear with me for a minute, I think that this will all make sense…

You see lately, with an usually-fun-yet-awfully-busy blend of social, occupational, familial, and seasonal pressures of life, I’ve spent my downtime wrestling with stress.  As a result I nearly blew it.

Choosing to ignore the ol’ “If Satan can’t make you bad he’ll make you busy” adage, I attempted to sweet talk my wife into my family skipping church:

Me:  [Thinking quickly] “….I’ll lead a service at home!   After I work out I’ll take care of it.  Your parents are coming.  Mine are coming.  Getting a lot done will help us all to feel more relaxed.

Jill:  [Stifling her instincts]  “….Uh… okay?”

The PROBLEM is, when I’m super stressed I can’t even manage to complete a workout, let alone spiritually lead my family.

After ruling out pulling muscles from lifting weights in my frigid garage, and nixing hitting the elliptical sans my broken I-Pod and lent-out Kindle—no music or movie to distract me from certain aerobic boredom—I settled on trying one of my wife’s crazy-hard exercise videos.

But after five minutes of trying to follow complex (to me) dance steps whilst not putting my elbow through our family room wall or permanently losing my mythical “guy card,” I gave up.  In frustration, I pulled out and drove toward where I could park and repeatedly jog up a steep hill near Gig Harbor High School.

As I piloted my Toyota, I alternately battled memories of unwelcome failures from my past and times when I’d been wounded by others. My thoughts grew more embittered.

Thank God that, after I parked near the hill, I noticed a sudden need to (cough, cough) “freshen up.”  And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but Chapel Hill Church, and two elderly greeters?  I jogged up and past ‘em.  Despite my appearance both smiled and said “hello.”

Once inside, I realized the late service was about to start.  Figured I’d step in for Pastor Kevin’s awesome worship.  While waiting, I felt led to crack open the Bible and read from Psalms—many of which, as you know, were blessedly penned by another emotional guy: King David.  I began to settle down.  Joined in the singing.  After I ended up being so richly blessed by praising God through song, I stayed for the message.

As it has been each time I’ve visited Chapel Hill, Mark’s sermon was wise and warm and accessible for a guy like me.  Felt my mind further untangle from worries and frustrations.  Afterwards I quickly hustled out during prayer, hoping that folks wouldn’t see (or smell) me in my get-up.

Jogged back to the long, grassy hill and hauled myself up and down it 12 times—my lips puffing out steamy air.  After finishing, I prayed and sang on the drive home to Fox Island—my spirit releasing its earlier angst.

Later that evening, with only a bit of my former intensity remaining, I returned to Chapel Hill for Lighthouse’s Christmas concert.  And sometime during the middle of the 5th grade choir’s performance, I felt God’s peace finally and blissfully push out the last vestiges of my anxiety and irritability.

As a clean vessel, at the end of the evening I was able to calmly share just a bit of Christ’s good and Holy truth with those in attendance at the beautiful event.  Thing is,

Had I not gone to church, praised, listened, confessed, or asked Christ for help, I would not have been able to adequately sense the Spirit’s prompting.  Without Him at my center, I flail.

Through Him, I fly.

I’m willing to bet that it’s the same for you and yours.

 

Lord, during this busy season, please keep us fully focused on you, and thirsting for time with you. And Father?

May it always be so.