A messy desk. A mostly made bed. A morning dawning bright and strangely warm for January.
With four Children's Ministry classes this semester (as well as two other classes), I am being pressed, but also shaped. This past week I wrote one of my more important papers for my major. It's the one that we then rework again and later in the semester have to present before a theology professor or a senior pastor and let them ask us whatever questions they would like to ask. I sat in the Art Institute cafe writing this paper, reminding myself to breathe and drink lots of water, but at the same time recognizing the privilege it is to get to write such assignments.
In Caleb's last year at Moody (before he and Haley moved to Colorado), he taught me something I'll never forget.
I used to ask him, "Caleb, how's such-and-such paper coming along?" or "How was it for you when you wrote this paper that I'm writing now?" His response got me every time.
His words were usually something along the lines of, "You know what? It was really worshipful."
That phrase has not left my mind. Any time I think that a paper is hard, or an assignment is too much for me to process at the time, I think of Caleb's words. Isn't everything we do worship? The question is who we are worshiping. When Caleb responded by reminding me of the one whom I worship through these papers, I remembered why I am here.
Ultimately, the question is not, "what am I getting done right now?" or "what will I gain?" but rather "who is God shaping me to be through this assignment?" and "how is he praised through this?"
All that I write, read, say, do should be turned back to him in praise. And you know what has taken me by surprise in doing so? The joy. There is so much more joy and peace and rest in knowing that what I do does not have the goal of perfection, or people-pleasing, or gain of approval, or a sense of accomplishment, or even the acquisition of knowledge. It is all for God's glory. There is freedom in that.
Deuteronomy 6 tells us to worship God, and God alone. May we do so in the smallest and biggest tasks we are given. So as I read books, write papers, and struggle along, I remember that it can be worshipful, in the most delightful and fulfilling way. After all, we were created to worship our God, so there is no better place to be. Joy is usually a result too, which is a sweet (and undeserved, as always) gift.