It started out like most marital fights do… over something incredibly insignificant.
This time it was an Instagram photo. It was “dress up” night at camp. Micah wasn’t in the mood for a family picture, I demanded one, our kids cried, and I went to the nightly worship session irritated.
But, really, it was more than that. The first few nights of camp I didn’t sleep at all. I was running on about six hours of sleep spread over two nights. I was exhausted. Easily irritated. It was my last week of summer vacation before I started my new job, and I wanted it to be perfect. I was hoping camp would be incredibly restful or in some way spiritually transformative or deeply restorative before I began this new, exciting school year.
Instead, I was incredibly tired, hardly able to focus on the Bible teaching, and annoyed with my husband for not smiling with the correct amount of enthusiasm.
The worship music started and I felt my heart harden. I wasn’t in the mood to sing. Clearly, God could understand why. Why would I lift my arms or raise my voice when I was going on three hours of sleep?
But the music continued to swell. I didn’t slowly melt into a soft, joyful, heap. Instead, the Spirit convicted me with this thought…
“I don’t have the right to withhold my worship.”
I don’t have the right to withhold my worship. Lack of sleep. Whiny kids. An imperfect family photo. Although these issues were amplified in my mind, my heart knew they were no excuse. My mood should not dictate my actions before the Lord. He is still good, even when my attitude or my circumstances are not. I have no right to cross my arms or close my lips when I should be singing out to the Living God.
And with that my lips parted and I began to sing. I was still tired. I didn’t sing loud. But my heart was humbled before the Lord, and I acknowledged that I have no right to hold anything back from him. He deserves my worship always.
And then I thought about how this applies to all areas of my life. Rough day with the kids? I don’t have a right to withhold my worship. Conflict with a friend. Job loss. Devastating diagnosis. Plans gone awry. Vacation ruined. Disappointing news. A dream delayed. I don’t have a right to withhold my worship from the Lord.
And that worship might not always be literal singing. We know from the Bible we are to worship God with our whole lives – with our words, our thoughts, and our actions in day to day life. Didn’t get the promotion you were hoping for? We worship God with our first fruits no matter how much (or how little) our paycheck (Deut 26:10). Want to lash out out your disobedient kids or your irksome neighbor? We worship God by showing the same kindness and mercy to others that He has shown to us (Zech 7:9).
The car may break down. The kids will fight. Taxes will increase. My friends will let me down. My job may be uncertain. I will often be hungry or tired. I don’t have a right to withhold my worship.
Though my circumstances will change, God remains the same. He loves me. His Son lived and died for me. His grace covers me. I may want to shake my fists, but God deserves my hands raised in reverence and awe. I may purse my lips, but God deserves hymns of devotion and praise. I may be tired, but He is my strength. I may be irritated, but He is my joy.
No matter the day, no matter the trial, He is worthy of my praise.