“Sing for joy to God, our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob. Begin the music, strike the tambourine, play the melodious harp and lyre” (vs 1-2). I love the image of praising God with music, song and dance. When I look for things to be thankful for, even when things aren’t going well, when I sing or speak praises to my God, there is an uplifting of my soul. That’s what I strive to do, but like Israel, I don‘t always do it.
“But my people would not listen to me, Israel would not submit to me” (vs 11). I used to beat myself up and feel like I would never live up to God’s expectations. It wasn’t until recently that I realized it was my expectations I wasn’t living up to. It is not that He doesn’t care or want me to listen and obey, but that He graciously forgives me when I don’t and doesn’t love me any less. I have learned that I am not alone, everyone struggles with the same things I do, even people I have looked up to, whose faith is very strong. I don’t know about you but I find it comforting to know I am not alone.
I have also learned that God loves me unconditionally, more than I can begin to imagine. I have known this fact for years, in theory, but didn’t fully allow myself to fall into His arms and live into that love. I knew He loved me, that is what I had been taught, but I kept Him at arms length, thinking deep down I wasn’t worthy of His unconditional love. My point is that I am a sinner and will fall short, but I am forgiven, time and time again because of His grace, His love and His mercy. Knowing all this, I feel less stressed and more content in my relationship with Him. This allows me to be myself, the person He created me to be.
Without my own expectations holding me back, I am free to worship Him fully. It was me that was holding back, not Him. I am still working on the part that says, “Sing for joy to God”. It isn’t easy but I try in all circumstances and in my day-to-day life to look for the joy that will makes me sing to God, I am a work in progress. I have come to realize that the journey is a lifelong one. Because I better understand His unconditional love for me, I can be less hard on myself and fully enjoy the time I do spend with Him.