If you know me, you’ve seen it ~ \o/ ~ my symbol for raising praise to God and giving Him thanks. It is next to my signature when I send emails. It can also frequently be seen in my Facebook posts and other communications. It represents my heart desire to praise God through and for everything. (If you want to know more about how it came about, you can read this post: http://janiedowning.com/40-days-day-17-praise-through/)
I once had someone say that they found it annoying to see my praise symbol. That is probably because I have used it so often and most likely to the point of overuse! However, it is not just a symbol to me; it is an expression of my heart!
Sometimes I wonder if because I use it so much people think I’m always full of joy. I’m not! Raising praise to God is something I do because His Word tells me to; it is an act of obedience. I also raise praise to Him because He is worthy to be praised! If I don’t, the rocks will! (Luke 19:40) No, thank you!
“Ain’t no rock, gonna cry in my place As long as I’m alive I’ll glorify His holy name.” ¹
There’s a song for everything!
Is praising God easy and always joy filled? In my experience, no, it isn’t! In fact, over the last few months as I have been hit with challenge after challenge, it has become increasingly difficult to praise because I’m feeling happy. Facing challenges that appear overwhelming has left me struggling with an ever-growing fight with depression.
Depression is an ugly enemy! It robs you of not only a sense of joy but also of the energy you need to face life’s challenges. A lack of energy results in frequent failure to succeed at coping with even simple tasks taking you deeper into a feeling of hopelessness, which intensifies the sadness that hangs over your head. It is a vicious cycle. This is where I have been walking for the last few months.
Some challenges I can control, and some I can’t control. Some are so out of control that they appear unfixable, and some I should have worked at controlling long ago. Since I can’t go back and fix all I have done wrong, I’m left to deal with the results of issues and the side effects of things meant to provide help for those issues.
Unfortunately, all of those problems often exacerbate the depression. I’m left wandering my home crying and saying, “God, I don’t know what to do! I don’t know what to do!” Different people deal with depression in different ways. Mine? Withdraw! Don’t go beyond surface conversations. Don’t attend unnecessary events. Keep looking and acting chipper because I have a reputation to uphold that lives in always praising!
At some point, because there’s nothing I can do, I simply come to my Father on my face crying out for help! “Hear my cry, O God: attend unto my prayer. From the ends of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 91:1-2 KJV).
Another song comes to mind:
“When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.” 2
Raising my hands and my voice, I begin to speak and sing praises to Him ~ because He’s worthy and that’s what He said I should do!
Does the depression immediately lift? Most of the time, no! However, I keep looking up to Him, spending time in His Word, surrounding myself with His music, and lifting my hands and voice. It will get better! I know that because I believe that Jesus loves me and will always provide what I need both in my spirit and body and in my day to day necessities and desires.
Therefore, ~ \o/ ~ today I raise praise to Him because He is worthy of the praises of all creation of all time ~ and that includes me whether I “feel” like it or not! My feelings can change and will most certainly do so, but “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17 NIV).
I choose to stand not on what is changeable but on what is unchanging ~ God!
1 “Aint No Rock” LaMarquis Jefferson, © 1987 Integrity’s Praise! Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (Integrity Music [DC Cook])) 2 “He Giveth More Grace” Flint, Annie, © Public Domain
Share on Facebook