11 "Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!"
Psalm 32:11 (NIV)
Your body feels like it needs four days off, but in the next four days you have three practices and a game.
Maybe you are dreading getting your body going. Maybe you feel stiff and sore the first several movements of practice, but you know that once you start to move, your heart rate increases and you feel better.
I recently came across Psalm 32. I felt down, and the last thing I wanted to do was “rejoice,” “be glad” and “sing.”
As I read the Psalm it was like I was stiff and sore.
Rejoice. But I do not have it in me.
Run that play. But my body does not want to.
Be glad. But I’m not.
Lift weights after practice. But I don’t want to.
Just like working out is good for us even when we do not feel like it, so is rejoicing, being glad and singing to the Lord when we do not feel like it.
It is clear. We need influences outside us acting on us. We need people and structures to hold us accountable so we are not just living according to our vacillating moods or sin nature.
Just think what it would be like if we only did what we felt like doing. Our personal lives and world would be a disaster (perhaps that is why they are disasters).
It is helpful to us, even though it might not feel like it, to be brought outside ourselves by people and events like practices, work, church, homework, family, friends and campus life.
Think of the bad choices you would have made without the influence of community. Or think of the bad choices you have made without the influence of community. I bet you can trace many of your bad choices back to withdrawing and neglecting the wisdom from those who love you.
This is the gospel – that God stopped us in our tracks. God intervened. He stopped us from going down our chosen, self-centered paths. He called us higher. We need mini-interventions like that every day.
Yes, we need solitude, probably more than we get. We sometimes need breaks from the demands of structured schedules and people, but God uses the demands of external events and relationships to shape us.
There are many things we should do whether we feel like it or not, like writing a paper or thanking God. We cannot put them off until our feelings come around.
Athlete, what if you started your paper when you did not feel like it? What if you thanked God when you did not feel like it? What if you worked out when your body was stiff?
We will always lack will power and struggle against our negative feelings. But the benefits of pushing on in our lives are great. Rejoice, be glad and sing to the Lord! You will not regret it.