"Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—" Psalm 103:1-2 (NIV)
I caught my heart heading to a pit of discouragement for spring break. It was supposed to go to the beach with my family and me, but it was not cooperating.
We had been hit by one emotional and financial crisis after another. A close friend learned that, after a year's worth of abdominal pain, extreme fatigue, and an undiagnosed illness, she had a large tumor that appeared to be ovarian cancer.
Then our upstairs air conditioner broke, again. And that same week, we found out our international adoption expenses would not apply as a deduction that year, which meant we owed significantly more on taxes than we anticipated. Yet our savings had been poured into our adoption and our air conditioning systems.
My mind was divided. My spirit was depleted. And my body was exhausted.
I couldn't stop worrying about my friend. I couldn't stop thinking about our finances. How was I supposed to rest and relax with all we had going on?
Although I had packed my bags for the beach, my heart had decided it wasn't in the mood for vacation. It was marching straight toward the pit.
But as much as I didn't want to go on vacation, I knew I didn't want to dwell in a place of despair or pull my family in with me. It wasn't part of God's plans—nor mine.
Eventually I realized I was going to have to boss my heart around!
King David was really good at telling his heart and soul what to do. In Psalm 103 he said: "Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name" (vs. 1). I decided to follow his example. In the midst of my turmoil and troubles, I told my soul to praise the Lord.
Now this wasn't a superficial "say your bedtime prayers" talk to my soul. No, this was a deep-down, preach it to my inmost being, "GOD IS GOOD no matter what your feelings are telling you" sermon. I bossed my heart with Truth and pulled it away from the pit by telling myself to "forget not ALL his benefits" (Ps. 103:2).
Then I walked my heart down memory lane, reminding it of the One who: Forgives all [my] sins and heals all [my] diseases, who redeems [my] life from the pit and crowns [me] with love and compassion, who satisfies [my] desires with good things so that [my] youth is renewed like the eagle's. (Ps. 103:3-5 NIV)
No matter what the answer was to my friend's diagnosis, or how costly our air conditioner was going to be, or how much we owed on taxes—my soul needed to praise the Lord. My heart needed me to ... Remember Who He is. Thank Him for what He had done in the past. Trust Him for what He would do in the future.
My circumstances didn't change but my perspective did. By re-directing my thoughts and my focus, I was able to re-direct my emotions. And our spring break wasn't ruined after all.
Every time I was tempted to start worrying about what might be, I used King David's prayer to focus on what was, is, and will forever be-God's faithfulness to walk by my side and navigate my heart through the valleys of life.
Are there circumstances that have pulled you into a place of discouragement? Do you have concerns that are causing your thoughts to head down a path of despair? I pray you won't go there.
Today you can be the boss of your emotions by telling your heart what to do-and if you have to get a little bossy, that's okay too!
Dear Lord, please help me trust You and empower me through Your Spirit to stop my emotions from bossing me around. I want to quit worrying about what might happen and focus on what has already happened by remembering and praising You for Your faithfulness in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources: This devotion was taken in part from Renee's Swope's best-selling book, A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises.
LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith, by Karen Ehman, will empower and equip you to control what you should and trust God with what you can't.
Reflect and Respond: Are there concerns that are causing your thoughts to head down a path of despair?
Every time you're tempted to worry about what might be, use King David's prayer to focus on what was, is, and will forever be-God's faithfulness to walk by your side and navigate your heart through the valleys of life.
Power Verse: Psalm 43:5, "Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!" (NLT)
© 2012 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.
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