February 1, 2010

Praise-ercize

Thanks for your comments, encouragement and support of my last post. Parenting (and living in, but not of, the world) is no easy task. In today's morally muddied waters, it's often a challenge to discern Truth from foolishness. I'm thankful we're in this together.

praise [preyz]
—verb

  1. to express approval or admiration of; commend; extol.
  2. to offer grateful homage to (God or a deity), with words or song as an act of worship: 
According to Baker's Evangelical Dictionary: Words that are often used as synonyms or in parallel with "praise, " and so help point to its meaning, are "bless, " "exalt, " "extol, " "glorify, " "magnify, " "thank, " and "confess." To praise God is to call attention to his glory.

The Psalmists knew a thing or two about praise. In fact, in Psalms alone, the word "praise" appears 175 times! The Jewish people praised the LORD for His love, protection, mercy, blessings, goodness, teachings, strength and more. They praised God just because He was—and is—the great I Am.

Using words like "exhalt," "extol," "delight," "glofiry," and "rejoice," the Psalmists describe praise as a full-body experience. They shouted, sang, danced, played instruments, lifted hands, cried out. To them praise was continual, passionate, and an essential part of their being.

Even though, our culture and customs little resemble that of King David's day, God created us ALL to praise Him with our bodies. To delight in his presence. To partake of his wonders. To exalt His name.

"My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long." (Psalm 71:8)

In theory I completely agree with this. But, I'm a reserved person. I clap and occasionally raise my hands during worship, but the idea of physically praising God makes me pretty darn uncomfortable. Dancing, shouting, crying out...in public (even in private)? No, sir. Not me!  

I praise God in my own way—usually in the quiet of my heart. While my body may not show it, my spirit rejoices, delights and extols. I pray God finds these offerings acceptable. I remind myself that He did, after all, create me and my personality.

However, there came a moment this weekend as I rode on the training bike in my basement. I worked through my newly created "Sweat Set with God" playlist on my iPod, letting each song dictate my ride and its tempo. As I wrote before, my workout session became a sweaty, out-of-breath prayer. Then a song came on that invited—no dared—I go further. It was Take My Life by Jeremy Camp. Guitar-driven, hard-hitting and aggressive. 

I cranked up the volume and became one with the music. I pushed myself as hard as I could and for the duration of the song, I gave God an an all-out, heart racing, sweat pouring, muscle burning offering of praise.

I discovered that although I may be quiet and reserved, sometimes letting go and giving God my all is good. Really good.

It's why He created us in the first place. We were made for praise.

In what exuberant or passionate ways have you praised God?

5 comments:

Kelly Combs said...

I can't carry a tune, but oh how I love to sing praise to the Lord! It makes me feel so good to know he enjoys my "joyful noise!" So I'm often cranking up the praise tunes and belting them out to God whether in the car or in the house.

And I also did "Body & Soul" which is exercise to Christian music, which was great.

Keep cycling...and never stop praising!

Runner Mom said...

I love that song! Like Kelly, I can't carry a tune either, but I can praise my Lord! I sing in my head as I run--someone might be outside and wonder what on earth that noise is! But in the car...whoa baby, watch out! I will praise Him and glorify His Holy name at the top of my lungs!(I just love "God of the City".)

Hugs!
Susan

Carmen said...

LOL! I can just see you...and I'll bet God was pleased! I am reserved too, and I don't do it (in front of others) unless I feel like doing it. I want my praise to be a true expression. You can't fool God anyway. Enjoyed this post!

Julie Gillies said...

Hi Kelli,

Love this post. I can just picture you pedaling and praising away!

I really get into worshipping the Lord, though I'm not one of the brave ones who go up at the front of our church to dance around. I guess I'm too self-concisous for that. But I'm definitely a hand-lifter. *smile*

My hope is that my whole life is a praise unto Him. I know that's your heart as well, Kelli.

Hoping you have a good week, my friend. :)

Cheryl Barker said...

I love praising God through music and singing -- alone or with others. Have been a member of church choir for 40 years now. Does that make me ancient? :)