. . .and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. ~Isaiah 61:3 NIV
The other day I had a really awesome praise and worship session with the Lord. I turned on my praise and worship playlist from Youtube (I’m cheap, sorry), made sure I was by myself–as I am Whitney Gibbs, not Houston–and just began to sing to God. At different points, I closed my eyes and then opened them. I sat. I stood. I swayed back and forth, and at other times I just stood still. I sang along with the song, talked over the song, and just simply listened to the lyrics. And I felt the presence of God. It was awesome.
There is something so intimate and freeing about being able to totally let your guard down before the Lord. At work I have to be the sharp, knowledgable hard-working attorney. At home, I have to (and want to be) wife: valuable and reliable life partner, lover and nurturer. I have to be mommy: kisser of boo-boos and feeder of hungry little stomachs.
But in that worship space, before God, I forgot about who I was and who I am expected to be and zeroed in on who He is, and I got lost in the wonder of it all. The creator of everything that I touch and see knows my name, loves me and desires my time and attention. I was singing and thanking Him for all the things that He had done for me. And then I just got so moved thinking about what He had done, I just began to praise Him for being God. It was such a good feeling, to be overwhelmed with wonder at just how awesome God is. In that time I was reminded that I follow Jesus. He is great. He is mighty. He is well-able and well-equipped to handle any and all of my problems and concerns. I am both daughter and friend to the creator of everything that I see. He is the everlasting, true, powerful and awesome God.
When I remembered all of this, when I finished, I felt good. I felt confident. And who knows why, but the only thing I could analogize that feeling to was the feeling you get when you put on that pair of just-right jeans. And I’m not talking about just the too-fly, just the right fit, jeans that you put on for a night out. There are jeans perfect for every occasion and when you put them on, you just know you’re in your zone. Loose, baggy lounging jeans perfect for vegging out in front of the television. The trouser jean for when you decide to slay on biz-casual Friday. The cut-off jean shorts you’ve had forever, and just don’t want to let go. Perhaps, I digress.
The point is, praise is like those jeans! There is a praise suitable for every occasion. And whether we are singing out to God, or we are in quiet contemplation of who He is; whether we are crying tears of gratefulness or we’re stand in awe-filled stillness, He is worthy of our praise. So the next time you can give God your undivided attention, worship Him. He’s worthy of our best praise. Go put on some jeans. To pour out our hearts to God, to tell Him just how good He is, to thank Him for all that He has done, and to express our devotion to Him, now that’s True Religion (sorry, I couldn’t resist).