I’m not generally given to resolutions, mostly because I’m really good at making them and not always good at keeping them. I’m a great at the plans and the vision, sometimes my execution lacks. So, this is definitely not one of those. However, sometimes the Lord decides that it’s time for me to refocus and this is one of those times. I have spent a lot of time lately trying to make things happen the way I want them to and not enough time focused on what God has called me to.
Currently at my church we are in the midst of a series on Christ. We thought that if we were going to try and make an impact for the kingdom, we needed to make sure hat we were focused on Christ first. Makes sense, right? What I didn’t initially was consider how much my focus had shifted away from Christ. But God has a way of bringing me back to where I need to be. Oddly enough, a lot of it had to do with this past week and all of the inaugural activities and subsequent marches as well as where we are currently as a church. We are such a divided country right now. What’s interesting to me is that the church is also really divided about a lot of what’s going on. I am not a political person, so I have to approach all of this with what I know best. And that’s who Christ is and what He means to me. The thing that has shocked me the most is how, when we are all pushed into a proverbial corner, how we respond. I have been really surprised by some Christians and their responses to the Presidential position and who sits there. Before this slides down a slippery political slope, let me return to where I want to be. The fact that when we step outside of the will of God, we begin to do things in our own power. I know for sure that’s what I’ve been doing when it comes to life. When I step out of that place then I find myself wandering. Floundering. Blaming others for my problems. Frustrated because I expect someone else to make things right.
My new friend Wayne Stewart is a worship director in Iowa and he said something in his book. Actually, it was in the foreword. He says it like this.
You’ve felt it personally when something about worship changed and you were left feeling disconnected, maybe even disenfranchised—on the outside now of something so foundational to your faith.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the problem is not with worship. Or should I say the patterns and structures of worship. If it was, surely the span of some two-thousand Spirit-indwelt years would have gotten us to where we need to be, don’t you think? The problem, maybe challenge is a better word, is with us. Worship has always been, and remains squarely, a heart and life issue. Not a style, preference, or culture issue. If we desire to get off the never-ending carousel of worship details, we will need to go a different direction. Not left. Not right. Not backwards or forwards. We will need to go in the direction of something bigger.
When I read this, it hit me pretty hard. His book called ‘Bigger’ is speaking directly to worship and how we are so focused on the details and not so much on the one we are worshiping. But I think this is something that is relateable to life in general. When I spend more time focusing on circumstances and the other things that are happening around me, I’m not spending enough time on the one I should be focused on.
I don’t know what that looks like to you, but I know what it looks like for me. I know that I can do my job pretty easily without much thought. I can pick songs. I can sing them. I can check the boxes and people will think that I’ve done a magnificent job. So many times that ends up being just good enough. However, when I get to that place, I realize that I am not spending enough time during the week doing what needs to be done. I probably haven’t spent as much time praying or connecting with Christ to make sure that I’m not making this about me. My ego kicks in and I let that dictate how deep I dig. This month has really pushed me and it hurt. It hurt because I realized that all of the issues I have faced within my job and the structure isn’t about anyone else. It isn’t about direction or lack thereof. It isn’t about designs are paradigms or visions or missions. It’s about my lack of focus. It’s about me not being where I’m supposed to be.
I don’t have an answer for the problems of our country. I don’t have an answer for the problems of my church or yours or your boss or your kids or your family. I do know that your reaction to those things could be more based in where you are looking. Are you looking to the Preseident to fix the issues around you? God, I hope not. You’re gonna spend a lot of time disappointed. You’re going to also spend some time in arguments with people around you. And if you have spent any time on Facebook or Twitter lately, I’m sure you’ve noticed it. You’ve probably been involved in it. Are you going to continue to try to convince people that you are right and they are wrong? How’s that going for you? I’m convinced that you’ll probably turn out a lot better if you start to focus on something other than those around you. For me, I made some changes to challenge myself in a way I thought I was supposed to. I quickly realized that my view of God and worship was way too small. He needed me to focus somewhere else so that he could do work on my heart. He brought me back to the Word. Why I wasn’t there before? Because I’m human. Maybe you’re spending more time trying to convince your Facebook friends that our government is going to be the end of all humanity as we know it. That’s an argument that you’re not going to win. I believe that we as Christians have forgotten about the power of the Gospel and it’s ability to change even the worst of situations. Once we try to make changes on our own, we diminish the power of God. We try to do his job. Scary, huh?
God is bigger than the box we put him in. Once we put him in that box we begin to focus on the other things that we think we can control with speeches and marches and quotes from the past. Maybe we should take some time and just start reading again. And not just reading to make a point to win an argument. Reading for the sake of getting to know God again. Reading for the sake of hearing what he wants to say to us and not to someone else. Maybe we need to reshift our focus…