Have you ever been around a person who seems fake? It’s a big turn off isn’t it? But, then in an effort to be as authentic as possible, you might wonder, “Isn’t it hypocritical to praise God when you feel discouraged or are journeying through suffering? I mean you hardly feel like jumping up and down with a glib hallelujah, right? So how do you authentically praise God even when life is falling apart? Two practices come to mind: Remembering God’s faithfulness in the past and Rehearsing God’s goodness.
Remembering God’s Faithfulness in the Past. This is what Asaph did when he felt discouraged. During a season of intense suffering, Asaph wrote, “I will remember the deeds of the Lord” (Psalm 77:11). As you look at God’s faithfulness in the past it will become easier to trust Him to be faithful in the present. I remember a season when I felt discouraged. It felt as though God was silent when I needed answers. One day in utter desperation, I made a list of the miracles God had worked in my life in the past. As I listed each one out a strange thing began to happen. My attitude began to shift and my faith was bolstered. Remembering what God had done in the past gave me the courage to trust Him with the present.
Rehearsing God’s Goodness. When life falls apart, it’s easy to focus on all the problems. That’s our natural tendency and it makes sense. And certainly, one could argue that you need to focus on the problems in order to come up with solutions. But, our self-talk matters. The conversations we have in the quiet pockets of our own mind make a huge difference. I’d like to suggest that an intentional shift of focus to God’s goodness does wonders for picking up your spirits. Asaph wrote, “Your ways are holy.” (Psalm 77:13) HIs intentional shift made a huge difference in his attitude!
When life feels suffocating, pick up a pen and paper and write out the things you know to be true about God. Make a list of His character traits and then go back through your list and praise Him intentionally for each one. I’ve done this so often that I can’t count the times, but each time, my spirits are lifted! As I focus on God’s goodness, I remember He is big enough and powerful enough to handle whatever problem I’m facing!
As we head into this new week, you’ll face discouraging moments. The next time discouragement comes knocking on your door, try remembering God’s faithfulness in the past and rehearsing His goodness in the present! Shift your self-talk and see what happens. And hey, when you do, I’d love to hear from you! Let me know how your attitude changes. The truth is it is not inauthentic to praise God during times of discouragement, it’s wise because your attitude will follow where your mind focuses. So shift your focus and look up this week!