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Stop Squirming and Then the Big Thumb
By: Dr. Skip Myers
web posted June 29, 2007
COLUMN – The church has incorporated many wonderful innovations over the last twenty years but none as great as Children’s Church. I don’t consider myself old, yet, but when I was a kid you had to sit through the entire worship service included the “dreaded sermon.” Our pastor was a wonderful man but at the age of five I had no earthly idea what that man was talking about. So I did like most kids around me, I colored the bulletin, flipped through the hymnal, and hoped my mom had packed some Vanilla Wafers for her little boy.
As long as we were jumping up and down to sing I was okay. But each week there came that time when the music stopped and the man in the dark suit stood up. At that moment, something would happen that I had absolutely no control over. It would start with my feet. They would involuntarily begin to wiggle and bounce against the edge of the pew. The urge would travel up my legs to my backside which would shift from one side to the other. Then my neck would involuntarily begin to move from side to side and up and down. My hands would raise not in praise but to point at the light fixtures as I counted them out loud.
As I was in the midst of my weekly gyrations, I would realize my dad had subtly placed his arm around me. He would lean over and whisper, “Stop squirming.” Well, that was about as effective as spitting on a wildfire. The next warning was accompanied by a loving but firm thump from his thumb to the back of my head. (No, this was not child abuse but it did get my attention.) At that point I knew my dad meant business and that my antics were keeping him from listening to both the Lord and the preacher. (Once again, thank the Lord for Children’s Church. It allows parents to hear and it saves kids heads.)
I have found that over the years I squirm much less in church as an adult than I did as a child. Maturity has a way of enabling you to stop squirming and realize the man behind the pulpit is being used by God to speak directly to your life. But this isn’t about sermons—it’s about living life squirming. It’s impossible to concentrate and squirm at the same time. Whatever is causing you to squirm is what you are focusing on at the time. It may be boredom, back pain, headache, or uncomfortable pews but no matter what the cause may be you are at that moment focused on it.
There is a verse in Psalm 46:10 that says, Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Many of you may know this verse in a translation that says, Be still and know that I am God. No matter how it reads, it means the same thing—STOP SQUIRMING AND FOCUS ON THE LORD. When life gets tough or scary we tend to begin squirming because we are focused on something that is uncomfortable. When we lose our sense of purpose we begin to squirm because we are bored and all the things we are trying aren’t giving us the sense of purpose we need.
It is at this point that the Lord will lovingly thump us on our souls and say to us, “Stop squirming and pay attention to what I am doing.” We need to stop striving against the things of life with what we have because what we have is never enough. But when we stop and allow ourselves to catch just a glimpse of just who God really is we find a wealth of peace and strength. And in doing so, we show those around us how great our God is as well. He is then exalted among the nations through us.
It’s tough not to squirm and lose focus on the Lord. But it’s just like church. Maturity makes it easier to realize why you are there. Spiritual maturity is the best way to increase the strength of our focus upon the Lord. We will always focus on the biggest thing in front of us. The larger God gets in your life, the easier it is to see His greatness first. And that will help us to stop squirming so much against life and discover the joy He has for us. I’ll see you in His House Sunday.
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