Marc Alan Shelske, the Teaching Elder (formerly lead pastor) of our church community has begun the practice of sharing an Evening Thought. I missed seeing last night’s until I woke at 3 a.m. today.
Your Evening Thought:
“I believe we must add two spiritual disciplines to everyday life. The first is worship. We must adore God deliberately, regularly. The other is grief. We must allow a time for sorrow to do our own personal sowing. I see no other way to care for our hearts.”
– John Eldredge
Reading this thought, really triggered some spiritual/emotional/psychological realizations for me. I realized that both of these things are lacking in my life and daily practice – although, both are increasing.
Doing the first – intentionally spending time adoring and worshipping God, has always been difficult, except as a corporate thing.
Then, I think of the interactions between Luna and Keith. She adores her daddy. She doesn’t want to be separated from him. Not being able to be in his presence is completely upsetting and distressing to her. As long as she can look up and see him, know that he hears her as she’s playing, and knows he is available to hold her when she needs comfort or rest, she is content to play nearby.
At times, just being passively in his presence is not enough. In those moments she actively seeks his attention:
“Daddy, tickle me!
“Daddy, hold me!”
“Daddy, can I have…?”
She’s persistent, she’s participatory, she’s present and makes herself available to interact with and respond to him.
What if that is what worship truly is? Singing and praising, acknowledging God’s power and presence is certainly part of worship, but, I don’t think it is the full extent of what worshipping Our Father means.
As His daughters, we can cry out, “Daddy, hold me!” with the expectation of being held. I’m not sure I know how to have that expectation. I’m not sure I even know how to let myself be held.
As His daughters, we can cry out, “Daddy, tickle me!” with the expectation that His touch will bring uncontrollable joy. I find that kind of touch overwhelming and painful, having the control over my body taken away, even by joyful sensation, is scary and uncomfortable and I withdraw from it, even as I long to experience it.
As His daughter’s we can cry out, “Daddy, can I have…?” with the expectation of the answer which will serve to support our growth, development, and well-being. I have had a tendency to ask for things which are unhealthy or which don’t actually benefit me in constructive ways. Being told to wait or receiving an outright denial tends to affect my ability to hear and I have acted like I heard the answer I wanted or taken silence as permission – and gone from the frying pan to the fire every time.
What might happen if our worship of God looked more like a little girl’s worship of her daddy?
Because her daddy will tickle, hold, carry, and respond to her requests – when life wounds and she experiences hurt and pain, disappointment and fear, she runs to him for comfort, protection, and healing. She will let him touch the tender places and clean out the wounds. She lets him hold her and listens to his voice and words of assurance and lets him be with and comfort her in her pain and sadness.
I tend to stoically resist comforting touch, I don’t expect touching or holding to make me feel safe and comforted, or kisses on the boo boo to heal the wound or make the pain go away. Instead I either ignore or pick at the wound, like a kid worrying a scab. Makes me wonder how many of the scars I’m carrying were made worse than they needed to be by my own choices and actions?
As His daughters, fully worshiping Him in all aspects of our lives and with the fullness of our selves, enables us to experience, more fully, His joy, comfort, and provision, allowing us to more fully experience His Love. Experiencing that kind of relationship with our Father, will help us to grieve and let the wounds heal, instead of ignoring them until they fester with infection or ripping the scabs off, again and again.
We need to learn how to worship and grieve daily, for our own sakes, because our Father delights in us and wants to hear our laughter and see our joy, because that is what He created us for.
As I watch Luna interact with her daddy, I realize, I don’t really know what it means or what it is like to be a daughter, other than the dry and lifeless words on a page providing more words of definition.
I don’t know what it’s like to laugh, play, hug and be hugged as the child of a loving parent. I don’t know how to bring my fears and cares, my excitement and triumphs to an interested parent. I don’t know how to run to and expect an able, strong, loving parent to be available when I’m hurt or scared. I don’t know what it feels like to be held and comforted so I can grieve and let go of the pain, so healing can take place.
Abba, I’m not the only one. There are a whole lot of sisters and brothers like me.
Help us to open up and invite You in so we can experience true love, true joy, true comfort, and true grief. Help our unbelief that You are that loving, available, caring, able parent.
In Jesus’ name,