At church a couple weeks ago I felt like an indignant 6 year old. The praise and worship (music) is usually one of my favorite parts of service, and each service begins and ends with it. Praise and worship often moves me to tears; it is through music that God often speaks to me.
But this day I just wasn’t feelin’ it. My inner six-year-old had her arms crossed, face scrunched, and was even stomping her foot in determined protest. “I don’t want to be at church!”
You see, on that particular Sunday, I was having a hard time celebrating God.
He (the big guy upstairs) has been asking me to cut away some things in my life. He’s been asking for a while, and I recently decided to obey. And let me just say, it’s been painful. I’ve let go of some things that I was strongly attached to, and it sucks. I’m sad. I’m grieving the losses. I’m bummed out.
“God, I’ve been listening to you and I’m following YOUR plan, not mine … and now I just feel really crappy. What gives???”
Those thoughts fueled the pout-fest going on inside me even more. And then, something happened.
The co-Pastor of the church got up on stage - in the middle of the song no less - and spoke directly to me. She talked about difficult things she’s gone through; cancer diagnosis, her father’s death, and how during those times it was so hard for her to stand up in the front row of her church and praise God. But even though she didn’t want to, she did anyway. She called it a “sacrifice of praise.” And she went on the say how praising God during hardships - those times when it’s the last thing we feel like doing - is the most important time to sing His praises.
Even if it doesn’t feel good, some things are worth doing anyway.
A sacrifice of LOVE:
Love those who are difficult to love.
A sacrifice of COMFORT:
Despite the discomfort, push yourself physically and mentally to become stronger.
A sacrifice of HEALTH:
Make the necessary changes in your diet even though it’s difficult and inconvenient.
A sacrifice of GRATITUDE:
Be grateful for everything in your life, even the yucky stuff. Instead of complaining, think “this is good because ___”
“One-half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it.” -Sidney Howard
“Christian life means sacrifice.” -Pope John XXIII