In complete transparency, I didn’t want to go to church Sunday morning.
Well, I wanted to go but I’d rather stay in bed. My body was tired. My mind was exhausted. Bed was providing all the comfort I needed.
My alarm went off and I groaned as I rolled over to hit the snooze button. Procrastination is my best friend and my nemesis all at the same time. If I am able to squeeze more time out of anything, I will find a way. Rest is something I have been lacking. Complete relaxation hasn’t happened for a long time. Sure, I don’t get out much and I don’t do much of anything while I am at home either. But I still haven’t experienced a full state of utter relaxation. The type of relaxation where your arms and legs go limp from feeling nothing. The type of relaxation where every muscle in your body is sighing a huge “thank you.”
So I closed my eyes for a few more minutes, assuring myself that I had plenty of time to shower and get myself ready for church.
I remember having a conversation with myself while I lay there absorbing those few precious moments during one snooze to the next. I tried to talk myself into just staying put. “You don’t really have to go.” “Yes, you do.” “Um, no, you don’t.” “Yes, I do. Kari has to clean after service today and I want to hug on my favorites.” “She is still sick and they’ll understand.” “Get up.” “No.” “YES.”
“Stop trying to escape.”
What? I didn’t say that to myself. My eyes spring open and shift around the room.
“Stop trying to escape. You always try to find an escape. Get up. Move.”
I got up.
As I was showering I closed my eyes and let the warm water flow over my face. I prayed to be cleansed. I needed to wash myself of all the dirt I had caked on.
Layers upon layers of dirt.
The more I did to get ready for church, the more my heart felt a joy that only comes from knowing where I am headed. While God is present in my life outside of church, it is IN church that I tap into the energy that is in that room and I cannot help but be completely moved by it. I need that place. I need those people.
Arriving at church, Kari and I take our spot in the back of the sanctuary. It is comfortable there. Little did I know what was in store for me. Comfort zone – busted.
My favorites came back for hugs and we chatted for awhile before worship began. Something was different. I was looking deeply into beautiful souls like I had never looked before. I had a sense of pride and sincere gratefulness to be in the midst of these Jesus lovers. I sometimes wish that we had more time before service to engage with each other. Everyone flutters around to get their hugs and “how are yous” in beforehand. Sometimes I long to just do nothing but connect one on one. I want to know them more on a deeper level than just “Hi. How are you?”
Layers upon layers of dirt. Will they want to know me and love me under all those layers of dirt?
The music starts playing and my spirit is fully engaging in the magic that is present in this culture of Jesus. Everyone is invited to stand but I usually remain seated. My body is burdened with too much pain to stand that long. I don’t want to humiliate myself, so I remain seated but I always worship and sing and let God in.
The music was beckoning me to “get up” and so was the Pastor and a few others who spoke during worship. Something began to radically change in me as I prayed for resolution and healing.
I got up.
I got up over and over and over again. Sure, I had to sit from time to time, just momentarily, to allow the pain to subside a little and to just relax but before long, I was up again. I was taking part in a powerful worship service that led to deep intercession. I was moving. I was praising. I was worshiping. I was being birthed into a whole new encounter with my God. He was moving me. My arms were dancing a beautiful rhythmic dance. My body began swaying in time with the music. My heart was bursting open and spilling out so much love for Jesus. Oh God, this was so completely different than I have ever experienced in my entire life and certainly different that any other Sunday worship before this one. He was telling me who I was and I was His royal daughter! I am HIS! And HE IS MINE!! Oh sweet heaven on earth, my life was jolted on this sunny Sunday in May.
My arms were wide open for almost the entire worship. I couldn’t invite Him in any more than I was. I had abandoned all the doubts that I had prior to this moment in time. I now knew why He told me to “get up” as I lay there begrudgingly earlier that day. He moved me. He wanted me there because He had plans for me during worship. Plans that I never saw coming and for the first time, I shed all sense of embarrassment, all sense of pride, all sense of pain that plagued me daily. I leaned into Him and I walked out in trust like never before. Tears fell freely, staining my cheeks. Mercy was mine and He moved me. In all the ways I needed to move. Just like He promised. All I had to do was trust.
A day later, I am trying to process all that I went through yesterday during church. I am listening more intently for the direction in which I am supposed to go. God is sovereign. God is so good. He loves us. Let Him in. Your life will change in ways you never knew possible. Let the blessings of His love ground you and allow you to inspire others. Lace your words with grace. Move in such a way that brings glory to His name.
I know that He is talking to me and answering my prayers. He hears my deepest cries for healing. He is telling me to move. I hear Him telling me that He will be right there for me in spite of my pain. He believes in me. He knows the way to restoration, I just have to follow Him. My unknown future is secure in the hands of my all-knowing God.
And through Him, and Him alone, I will move. I am moved.
Life will get you dirty, friends. But you can be cleansed. It will wash off. The layers of dirt do not have stay on you. Stand under the water flow of God and be cleansed.
He weeps for you. He wants relationship with you. You and I both know it is time to wash away the dirt. Dare to be free. Break the chains. Don’t just stand by and watch me break off more and more of my own chains. Be empowered in the love of God to do the same for yourself. You can either sit idly hoping for change to come or you can get up and make it happen.
It’s time. Move.