I'm glad I listened.
It wasn't easy though. On arrival all I wanted to do was hide. People were too bouncy, loud and happy. Eck! Then as I pushed myself to engage and interact with those around me, I remembered why I love people so much. Every single person is so unique and interesting. It's like God gives me glimpses of how entertaining and beautiful people really are.
The conference started and immediately I found myself wanting to run and hide again. Or worse, judge those around me. Conferences always seem to pull people's personalities into extremes and there were definitely some extreme mannerisms and I definitely found myself judging them, criticising them in my mind for not being real or genuine. But then God started whispering a verse to me... "...work out your salvation with fear and trembling..."(Phil. 2:12b). Then fragments of Dances with Wolves and other stories started to pop up in my mind about how the Navahos, Mohicans and so many others were judged for their "savage" ways of dealing with things. People didn't understand their passion or dramatic ways. That's when God reminded me of King David, dancing before the Lord in his underwear...
Sheesh. God sure knows how to lay it thick sometimes. I got the point. Don't judge. Though I may not always understand why people do silly things, God sees the heart and I don't need to worry about it. He's the Judge. Not me.
As soon as I was able to get this through my thick skull, I not only saw these people in a different light, but I became more free to be ridiculous. Ok maybe I wasn't dancing half naked during a worship song, but I was definitely letting God move me and by doing so, He was allowed to bring some serious healing. He lavished my little heart with his magnificent Father's love. He held me close so I could hear His heart beat. He spoke words of life over me and released a giggle bomb-- I was laughing so hard I was crying. He did all this through different people at the conference. During one session a father pulled me into a tight embrace. I didn't think about what others around me were thinking. I didn't even hesitate to let myself lean into him. The result? A God experience like I've never felt before.
We may not always get the ways of the Lord, but who are we to judge what He choses to do? The bible says "His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts." (Is. 55:8-9). He gets it, we may not, but how cool would it be if we could switch off that judgmental button and just go for the ride God has for us?
My personal belief is that it would be the best ride of our lives.
So, who's with me? Who wants to agree with David when he said " I will become even more undignified than this..."? (2 Sam. 7:22a) It won't always be pretty. People will still be human and judge you, ridicule you, maybe even despise you, BUT, as that good ol' prophet Nehemiah said, "Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." (Neh. 8:10) As long as we stand in the Presence we won't be worrying about what people think.
One final thought. The key note speaker at this conference said when we focus on the problem looking for answers, we won't find it there, because the answer is not in the problem, but in the Presence." I was reading through the Psalms today and God just confirmed this even more...
"Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God --
soon I'll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
He's my God."