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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What about when you don't want to praise?

This week I'm guest blogging over at God Allows U-Turns. Please come check out Allison's site or blog and leave a comment. ;-)

What about when you don't want to praise?

Yesterday we talked a little about what we're thankful for, but the thought God gave me this morning centered on when I'm not thankful.

Have you ever felt that way?

Everyone around you has hands lifted in praise at church, or every friend has great stuff happening and you feel any thing but grateful.

Yep, me too.

I wish I had written a great U-Turns story detailing an about-face from overwhelming sadness, depression, or dare I say anger at things not going the way I'd prayed. My story "For This Child" in God Answers Mom’s Prayers deals with hearing God say "No" to a prayer and how I learned to trust Him and be thankful even when I didn't understand.

But truth be told I still struggle with praise and thanksgiving at times. Life is never just what I want it to be. It's hard. It's more work than I thought I signed up for and more often than not, it just plain hurts.

So God had me doing Thanksgiving cards with my kiddos this morning. I was so NOT in the right frame of mind.

But God's funny like that.

So I went through the motions until I read this quote from Francis Schaeffer, "We are not only to sing the doxology, but to be the doxology."

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

The book I was reading aloud went on to talk about the birds, how they throw their whole being into singing and that being an example of how we’re to praise God.

Now that set my mind spinning. Birds sing because that’s what God created them to do. They don’t analyze it, argue with it, or decide they don’t want to sing. They just do.

So can I in terms of praising God simply because that’s what I was created to do: to glorify God by enjoying Him forever and singing the song that is my life. Sad notes and all.

So can you.

I’m not suggesting we ignore depression nor am I saying we should “put on a happy face.” There are reasons behind why we don’t feel like praising that we need to explore with God.

I’m praying as I write this that you’ll hear the Father call you to come talk and listen to Him and discuss those very things going on in your heart. He cares. He loves you. And He wants you to come real.

At the same time, I think there is much wisdom to be gained in doing what Job and King David did in their dark nights…

Praise Him anyway.

Turn to Him and just talk to Him, remember who He is. That simple act, however hard it may be at times, is praise.

Instead of recalling all the hurt, remember the times God Himself—with nail-scarred hands—carried you through.

Instead of focusing on what isn’t right, praise God for the little things that are right and consider that your journey through pain and joy is working in you something good.

Also, instead of trying to “be the doxology” consider that you already are. And God welcomes the words or groans of your life song as He sings right along with you.

Praise Him.

Tomorrow, I’ll share my continuing U-Turn toward praise in the form of my story in God Allows U-Turns for Teens about date rape and my healing almost two decades later.

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15)

Trusting and praising anyway,

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