Everywhere I go, people scold me for being stiff. “Avery, stop being so rigid! Let your arms relax. RELAX!!!”
During art class in highschool, my teacher would gasp in horror at the death grip I had on my colored pencil, swoop down behind me, and begin kneading my shoulders with all the satisfaction of a giant house cat.
Every Friday, my ballroom partners comment on how much I could improve my dancing simply by moving in the direction they pull me, rather than becoming tense and resistive.
And at my piano lesson just last week, I spent twenty out of thirty minutes listening to a lecture on how I should “feel the weight” of my arms and play in graceful circular motions. As instructed, I tried to let my arms hang loose and drop my hands into my lap. It was all in vain.
These well-intentioned people seem to think that if they yell at me enough, I’ll finally get it. But simply telling me to relax doesn’t seem to overcome whatever muscle tightness or control issues keep me from gliding through life like the Fairy Folk who live Under the Hill.
In a similar manner, I have been learning, I cannot delight in the Lord while simultaneously yelling at myself to do so.
My church has been reading Desiring God by John Piper in Sunday school lately, and we recently discussed the chapter on worship. I’m still processing the material, but I am already amazed at how important delight is to true worship. Scripture is full of commands involving our affections and exhortations to rejoice in the Lord with all our hearts. However, this delight is not something we can manufacture on demand. It is as spontaneous as the gasp which escapes us upon seeing a glorious sunrise –and as genuine.
In my next post, I’ll be unpacking this theme and examining John 4 in the context of worship.