I am a senior at Northwest University in Kirkland, and part of my scholarship requires me to be involved in a music ensemble at the university. The choir I chose to be in is sort of a cross between modern worship and gospel music. This choir is called Choralons, and for the last year I have been continually surprised by the amount of healing and faithfulness that God has shown me through experiencing the special purpose and atmosphere that is evident in this group. It has quite honestly helped shift so much of my mindset in the way I view life with Christ. Our director consistently reminds us of the importance of pressing into the Lord even when it hurts or is inconvenient. She has been a well of wisdom, and has said many things that have challenged me to be a more faithful and confident woman. Today was one of those days.
We have been working hard all semester on learning our music for our concerts and the tour that comes at the end of fall semester and throughout the spring. We had our first concert just this last Friday, and the work of the Holy Spirit through our ministry was evident and incredible to witness. With that said, we could've easily moved on to talking about spring semester and our upcoming tour, but our director took the time in class today to recognize our efforts as a community and encouraged us to reflect on God's faithfulness through our dedication and hard work. She mentioned that we are a society that often fails to celebrate a job well done before moving on to our next task or event or whatever the case might be. We shared our thoughts and celebrated together as a group through conversation and were encouraged to be present, reflect on our work, and expectantly pray for good things to come in the future.
What a beautiful reminder this was! I so often forget to look back on God's faithfulness after I've poured work into something and completed a task. Life gets so crazy, and I notice myself getting burned out so easily if I don't take a second to pause and reflect. When God created the world, he stopped and "saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good" (Genesis 1:31). I think that the Lord is challenging us today to stop, reflect on our hard work, and to celebrate goodness. When we take the time to do this, it makes a job well done that much sweeter.
Not only is this true for tasks, but in enjoyable moments and seasons as well. How often do we brush aside a good season in our life because we are aware that it won't last forever? How often do we let our minds wander from an enjoyable event with friends because we are uncertain of how long the good times will last? I wonder how much different our lives would look if we decided to praise God and celebrate his faithfulness during these times. In the past, I have often let a good season go by because I was too focused on the bad to come. Philippians 4:8 says "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." This verse reminds me that God is challenging me to change patterns of negativity, and instead find celebration in good days and small victories as well as big seasons and miracles.
Singing with the choir on Friday filled me with so much joy in understanding the faithfulness of God and simply being in his presence. As I enter this season of life, I feel God encouraging me to celebrate all that he has done and to let myself enjoy and revel in his goodness and love. I know that hardship is unavoidable and will come again, but God is calling me to praise him both on the highest mountaintops and in the deepest valleys. I will look back and see that God is faithful. I will think on the pure, honorable, commendable things in my life, because the opposite only fuels the fire for depression and anxiety, two things that I have battled for many years.
It is so incredible to see what Paul calls the "renewing of the mind" when we choose to fill our hearts and minds with truth through scripture. Eventually, those words settle in to our hearts and become the foundations from which we operate. My prayer is that you would begin to fill your thoughts with truth and dwell on all that is good in your life. This is where change happens as the Lord cements those truths into your heart.