After my finger episode, my eyes were opened to a different reality. I saw all my seeking for a tangible touch from God being trumped by my experiencing Christ as worship. I’m not saying that praise and worship isn’t valid—it’s beautiful and brings us, His body, together to focus our gaze on our God with adoration for Him. But I am saying that my perspective on worship changed.
Praise and Worship
I had struggled with praise for years. I felt most was canned, formulaic, and man-centered. It just felt off key. Something just left me empty with most of what was called worship in Christendom. But plain and simple, maybe my motivation for worship was to baksheesh God, so that He would be pleased with me and come and touch me. He wasn’t interested in my tip however. He wouldn’t be manipulated by my attempts to sweet-talk Him. No, in my life He was assuring it was going to be His way alone.
I do worship and I use music to praise God. But as I’ve talked about on recent podcasts, it’s going to be His movement and anointing that I seek. My consistent question is, “Where are You resting?” I’ve listened to a single song over and over for days if the Spirit of the Living God rested on it. I would rather sit in silence than to attempt to force something. And my experience of Christ during my injury upped the ante in how I sought Him.
Now, I’m not saying I still don’t seek to experience God’s touch, because that would be a lie. I absolutely want Him to express His love for me. It’s just that my understanding of what that might look like has been broadened. Where before I’d tried to extract love from God – especially in moments of depression, stress or fear – after the juicing episode, that changed.
True Praise and Seeking to Love God
At that point, I had the thought, “Wow, why don’t I seek to focus my attention on loving Him rather than a narcissistic seeking to BE loved by Him?” I know this isn’t novel but it was foreign to my way of thinking. I think somewhere in my thoughts I figured, “He is God. He has everything and knows everything – I’m the needy one here!” But this isn’t at all right.
First, I have something He’s unable to receive anywhere else in all of creation—my love. I’m the only one who can give it. It’s my gift and it’s solely mine to bestow. He can’t acquire it anywhere else. So if I withhold it from Him, He will never receive it.
Second, and more importantly, satisfaction in love is to give not receive. I know this stomps on many wounds – including my own – but it’s just true. It’s the very nature of love. One (and I do mean ONE) of the reasons divorce runs rampant is because we have tons of broken people all looking to “get loved.” Love is not for the purpose of acquisition – love yearns to give. There is no growth in simply receiving love. Character and dignity comes from loving, not in being loved.
Though being loved can heal us, it’s when love pours out of us that we see real growth and maturing. I always assumed the scripture: “It is more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35) was just concerning physical gifts. What I’ve discovered is the best gift to give is love!
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Luke 10:27 ESV