25 Jul Undivided Heart
When I was a little girl, I used to sit at my bedroom window and gaze out until a song came to mind that I felt like singing. Sometimes, I would sing Jesus Loves Me, or Jesus Loves The Little Children. Other times I’d sing Somewhere Over The Rainbow, or I Feel Pretty (my personal favorite). While I’m sure that my mom appreciated the sounds coming out of my room, it’s unquestionable very few others did…but that’s not the point! The point is that I loved to sing! I would sing for no reason at all, and at the top of my lungs! And sing I did, all alone, just me, no music, no distractions, no purpose, no agenda, no goal. Many times I would begin to feel God’s presence hovering over me as I sang. I didn’t know exactly what I was experiencing at that time, but I remember feeling my soul respond to His presence. Sometimes the richness of what I was sensing would even produce tears. Looking back, it was quite a romantic scene. One that once was so simple and effortless, yet now, I fight and struggle to make these moments happen.
“Our hearts are tugged in so many different directions. Around every corner are new distractions fighting for our attention—so many things that could deflect our time and energy away from loving God. The psalmist cries out, “Give me an undivided heart” (Psalm 86:11). Matt Redman
Today, I am a worship leader at my church. I get to sing all the time! Weekly rehearsals, multiple Sunday morning services, Wednesday night Engage The Spirit, Women’s conferences, songwriting workshops, learning new music and harmony parts—it’s an endless list, and I love being a part of all of it! But if you’re a worship leader, and you’re like me, you might find yourself caught up in the busyness of preparations neglecting the better thing: to faithfully sit at the feet of Jesus.
Ironically, sometimes the things that pull us away from the feet of Jesus are in themselves good things. If we aren’t watchful, even those things can become a distraction and a thief of our worship. It’s great to work hard, but even hard work needs boundaries.
I believe that it’s possible to work hard on the responsibilities that God has charged us with while still maintaining an exciting and intimate relationship with Him. After all, Jesus did it. The key is balancing times of hard work with times of pure uninterrupted, devotion—moments where all of our cares and priorities become dimmed and we are able to sit still at His feet and know that He is God. Just like the psalmist from Psalm 86:11, I cry out my own prayers and requests for an undivided heart before Him. Here are several guidelines that help keep my heart exclusive in His presence.
- Worship first, service second. A worshipper’s first priority is to worship God. The more time I spend intimately with My Father, the more aware of Him I become throughout my daily activities. It’s no coincidence that quality time at His feet increases my desire to serve Him and others.
- Take responsibility for anything that regularly harms your relationship with God. Repentance is a gift. Use it. Along with prayers of purification, ask God for strategies to help simplify your life.
- Attack and defend. Guard your heart from the pollution that surrounds us in the world. Stand up for the honor of God’s name wherever you find the opportunity.
- Par down your overblown quiet time rituals. You don’t need a fancy Bible or journal to have great quiet time. You don’t even need an elaborate prayer room with a comfy, poufy chair and the latest worship tunes playing in the background. All you need is a quiet place where you can be at peace in His presence. Simply put, all it really takes is you and God.
As worship leaders, we admonish our congregants to worship God free of distractions and inhibitions because, as worshipers, we understand that this discipline sparks a flourishing, vibrant, and intimate relationship with our Creator. Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves that this principle is still very true, and paramount, for us as worship leaders as well. Even if we lead worship five times a week, it is not a free pass to skip our personal devotion time with God. We need His presence, and we need to be alone in His presence often. The experiences with God I had as a little girl alone in my bedroom left me spellbound and thirsty for more. If I’m not experiencing God in a way that I feel like I should be, it’s probably my own fault. Jesus said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.” (John 7:37) Jesus is holding out His cup, but it’s hard to hold a cup of Living Water when our hands are already full.
What are some other ways that help keep your heart exclusively His during your private moments of worship?