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Contemplate: What Are You Leaning On?

11187173_10153055905251263_4036339865207274037_oBy Angela Greenwood, El Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain…I recently went to a Bible study where we looked at that well-known proverb, found in chapter 3:5-6:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Our focus that morning was on what it means not to “lean” or “depend” on our own way of doing things. As I came home it made me reflect on how much of a challenge that is, especially as a worship leader.

I love the picture of that word LEAN. It’s all about where most of our weight is being put; where we are looking for support; what we are relying on to keep us steady. This proverb explains how important it is to look for our support in the Lord and the promise He gives us if we do.

Where Does Our Trust Really Lie?
Sometimes it takes difficult situations or times of reflection for us to really discover where our trust lies. We get into our daily routine, our weekly ministry tasks and we forget this simple yet fundamental life principle.

So my question today is this: What are you relying on to get through the week?
Your great plans? Your past achievements? Coffee?! Don’t get me wrong, God gave us talents to use, but as this proverb instructs us, that should not be what we turn to for strength, direction or hope.

In so many circumstances we can find ourselves at a crucial junction where we need to choose what or who we are depending on. We find ourselves having to make a split second choice to dig our heels in and carry on regardless or to trust Jesus.

How Do You Respond?
* What is your response for example when that person who rubs you up the wrong way arrives late, causes disruption and messes up all your plans for a great rehearsal?
* What happens when you have a great intimate moment with the Lord practising at home alone but nothing seems to come together when you start playing as a team?
* What happens when your rehearsal was amazing, the presence of God was thick, but you start into the service and your string breaks, the weirdest feedback sound you’ve ever heard begins and the powerpoint operator is completely lost?! (Yes, these are all true stories!!!!)

So very often it all comes down to a choice: pride or humility. I confess I very easily fall for the pride path, for leaning on myself, to the point of being just plain stubborn! I choose to say “I planned it like that, so I’m doing it like that, because I said so!” instead of seeking out the One who has the perfect solution!

True Confession
Confession time: When I was young, I took swimming lessons. I didn’t liked the teacher’s way of doing things and so decided that I would do things how I thought best, MY way. Instead of taking off my armbands to swim unaided in the pool I decided it would be much better to swim around with my armbands deflated! How ridiculous! I must have looked very silly; a young girl swimming along, armbands on, but no air in them, just the plastic flapping around on my arms, all because I wanted MY way!

There will always be opportunities for us to make that choice: ourselves first (pride) or God first (humility). In those moments we can either say “right I’m going to take over now” or we can make a conscious decision to stay humble, and say “God, this is not working, what do You want to do?”

Strings will always break, feedback always happens (always!!!!), everyone comes to practice with things on their minds that can cause them to be helpful or unhelpful parts of the team.

We Have To Decide
When those situations occur, we have to decide: be like that child with airless armbands stubbornly looking to ourselves for the solution or lean, rely, depend, and trust in God.

The God of all things, the God who loves us, and the God who sees the situation
much more clearly than you or me.

Angela Greenwood serves on the teaching team of the European Worship Institute as well as on staff at All Nations Christian Fellowship of El Puerto de Santa Maria, Cadiz Spain.

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