Happy Sunday! We've had another busy weekend - what else is new? I spent Friday night and all day Saturday at Skycroft retreat/conference center for part of the annual women's ministry retreat. More on that in another blog (hopefully).
What I really wanted to write about is church this morning. Do you know what it means to be "used by God?" I recognize it is kind of an odd phrase, and one that probably is pretty deeply embedded in the "Christianese language," if you will. You know, the terms and phrases Christians use all of the time to describe their faith life, cool things God is doing, how they relate to others, and church stuff in general. Yeah, that kind of phrase. I try not to use them too much. I feel a little fake-y when I do, and I don't want to - intentionally or not - put up a barrier between myself and anyone who I don't attend church with, may feel left out, or who may misunderstand/misconstrue my words.
So anyhow, when we usually think of using something, or being used by someone, I don't think the connotations that accompany those phrases are necessarily positive. Quite the opposite, actually. Someone used me to cheat on a test in middle school, "he used her for her body," "she used him for his money," and a used tissue is pretty gross. So isn't it just like God to take something like that and turn it on its head? Turn it around? Use the phrase to relate the opposite meaning? Because really, for a believer and follower of Christ...what an honor.
And this morning, I could feel God using me as I led our congregation in worship. It doesn't happen all the time. Well, let me rephrase. I'm fairly certain I am unaware that God is using me most of the times I lead worship. Dangit, I need to rephrase that, too. Let me just put it this way. I'm aware that God is using me when I lead worship (when I commit myself to glorifying Him and being used by Him), it's just that I think many times, I'm unaware of the specific ways and times He may choose to do so. There have been plenty of Sundays when I feel completely "off," and yet hear multiple stories of how a certain song I sang or words I said (that I can't even remember) encouraged someone. In case you hadn't noticed, it's a difficult concept (for me) to put into words.
So this morning, for some reason, God chose to clue me into the fact that He was using me as His vessel. It is an unquestionably humbling and (simultaneously) very challenging realization. I know that the more I open myself up to allowing God to speak through me and use me to minister to people, the more I am going to find myself under attack by Satan, both inside and out. I've been in this place before. Spiritual warfare is a very real thing, and it's dang scary when you realize you are the battleground.
I can see how to some this may all seem arrogant or self-important. Really, I hope not, because that is the complete opposite of my intention. I'm not sitting here blogging trying to toot my own horn and say, "Look at me, people! God is using me to speak into people's hearts! I must be awfully important to Him!" Totally NOT what I am trying to communicate, because I believe He uses all of us, all the time, in many ways, regardless of who we are or what we happen to do. I just happen to sing and play and speak to people from a church stage roughly 2-3 times a month. And I know He uses me just as often (if not more so) when I am not on that stage.
But I'm writing about this morning. Thank you for continuing to read as I wrestle and work out my thoughts as I blog. It's really quite therapeutic for me. Hopefully, it's a decently interesting read, too.
This morning, I had the opportunity to sing a really powerful song, "Child of God," by Kathryn Scott (Vineyard Music). I've only sung it once before, but it just speaks loads to me each time I hear and sing it. The chorus says:
Working with teens and young adults, (and come on, I'm not that far removed from those years, am I? Yeah, probably....but anyway....) I see first hand the effects of images marketed to convince those generations they need these things to be accepted by their peers. The number of hospital and rehab center visits Kyler makes to visit with teen cutters, teens with eating disorders or drug problems, or teens caught in a cycle of depression increases each year. These issues are still present with young adults, the issues are generally just more complicated, and the individuals more adept at hiding them.