In the year of COVID, like so much of the world, church was shut down.
I understood why it had to happen—we were in a pandemic, after all—but I missed so much of it. The preaching and teaching, the fellowship, communion, but most of all, I missed the worship. I missed standing shoulder to shoulder with other people who love God and lifting my hands and my heart in praise. I missed that intimacy with God, even amid hundreds of other people.
So as with every other situation in 2020, it was a time to get creative. Like other believers, we worshipped from our living rooms, sitting on the couch, our dog and cat cuddled into our makeshift pew.
It was good. But it wasn’t the same. And I, not knowing how to fix it, started to withdraw from worship. If it wasn’t going to be how I needed it to be, I would just skip it.
And that is when I began to realize a deep truth about myself: I was relying too much on the band and the worship pastor, the lights and the production. If something was missing from my worship, it wasn’t the church, it was me. I had allowed my life to become too noisy, and to break through that noise, I needed my worship to be equally as noisy. I was relying on God and a bunch of singers on stage to get me to a place of worship. And that wasn’t their job. It was mine.
That year was a time for me to get quiet and figure out what my responsibility was in my role of worshipper.
When your regular worship has been taken away, your heart longs for and seeks out new ways to worship. Taking a walk with my husband through our forest, I notice that when there is wind, not only do the trees make a delightful rustling sound, but the breeze goes through them in such a way that they actually lightly sing. I had heard the wind howl before, but I never thought of the trees singing. But that is exactly what they were doing—singing over us as we walked through the forest.
How amazing is it that God designed the trees so they would sing? And every time I hear that singing, I think to myself how God has designed things that I didn’t even notice until the second half of my life. That there are still new ways to worship God even when my traditional, easy, expected ways have been stripped from me. The methods may change, but the purpose stays the same—to worship God.
As I write this, we are still not meeting as a church body, in person. But we will, someday soon. And I will rejoice. But I will also be, in a way, guarding my worship when I get back to the church building. I will celebrate getting to see the people I love, but I will no longer rely on them to be the bridge to the One whom I love. That is not their job; it is not their burden. That is too much to entrust another human with.
Like me, God has given you an abundance of opportunities to worship Him. You just need to quiet the noise and pay attention to what He has already provided.
The above excerpt is from An Abundant Place, a new devotional by Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory. Are you overcommitted, overstressed, or just plain overwhelmed? These devotions will give you greater peace and perspective, and a plan for managing your busy life. Discover a place of more joy and abundance, one devotion at a time.
Kathi Lipp is the bestselling author of The Husband Project, Clutter Free, and Overwhelmed. She is the host of the Clutter Free Academy podcast. She and her husband, Roger, live in California and are parents of four young adults. Kathi shares her story at retreats, conferences, and women’s events across the United States. Connect with her at www.KathiLipp.com and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/AuthorKathiLipp.