The Power of Choice, in Love and in Worship

It's a song that stops me on my scroll through radio stations every time I hear it. I'm fairly certain that if my husband and I were getting married now, instead of 15 years ago, it would have been the song for our first dance.

I Choose You by Sara Bareilles.

Is it caught in your head just by seeing the title in print? It's a catchy, sweet, and fun melody, sung by a voice I love. But more than any of that, I love this song for the lyrics

My whole heart / Will be yours forever / This is a beautiful start / To a lifelong love letter / Tell the world that we finally got it all right / I choose you...

She's right, even though I'm not sure she meant all of what I see in the lyrics. The best start to a commitment of love is to recognize that love is a choice, not just a feeling. After 15 years of marriage, I see that more clearly each day.

After all these years, there are many days when I still have butterflies,warm fuzzies, and any other greeting card sentiment you want to use to describe what happens in us when we are flooded by feelings of love. But there are other days, when we are fighting, or I am frustrated, or life feels overwhelming, when love is more of a choice than an emotion.

I think that's a good thing, actually. If love were based soley on emotions, I don't think I would have as much freedom to be honest, really honest, about how I was doing. I would be too worried about how my feelings would upset my husband, and how I would need to keep making him happy in order for him to stay with me.

Our love has grown deeper and more real the longer we have kept choosing one another.

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My heart, O God, is steadfast;
   I will sing and make music with all my soul. - Psalm 108:1

Like a song that stops me on a scrool through the radio, the word steadfast catches my attention. It sounds so churchy. I can't remember the last time I've seen the word steadfast in print, unless you count other passages from the Bible.

The Hebrew word is kuwn. The first time kuwn is used is Genesis 41:32, when Joseph is interpreting Pharaoh's dreams. Joseph tells Pharaoh he had two dreams because what was going to happen had been firmly decided by God. God was trying to make it clear to Pharoah that the years of plenty and famine were going to happen, no matter what. 

David's heart had firmly decided to worship God.

We tend to think of our hearts as the center of emotion. The Hebrew people thought of hearts as more. Since hearts are the source of lifeblood, the they thought of them as the source of both emotion and thought. They understood something we often forget: sometimes emotion precedes will, and sometimes will precedes emotion. Commitment means an intertwining of both.

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I've sometimes use concepts like steadfast as platitudes. My life sucks but I won't admit it, because I am firmly committed to worship and have joy, no matter what.

When I think of a steadfast commitment to worship God, I think of it not as an empty religious cliché, but as freedom.

I have decided to stick with God no matter what, as He has already decided to do for me. I don't need to worry about keeping God happy so He will stick with me. I don't need to balance myself so I don't overwhelm Him. The security of our relationship is not dependent on unpreditctable emotion.

I can come as I am because we are commited to each other. We choose each other.

Sometimes, I have sing worship lyrics with the fullness of meaning ringing through to my toes. Other times, I sing with longing, hoping the act of worship would draw me closer to the feeling. Still other times, I sing with quiet trepidation, feeling the hypocriticy of words coming from my lips whose sentiments are not echoed in my heart.

No matter how I feel, I keep showing up. Honestly. As me.

I choose God. That is the start of our lifelong love letter.

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This post is part of my #PsalmsJourney, my posts going through the Psalms one at a time in order. Read more about it here. Grab the button and post a link to your post in the comments if you'd like to join me.

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