I caught my heart heading to a pit of discouragement for spring break. Although it was supposed to go to the beach with my family and me, it was not cooperating.
We had been hit by one emotional and financial crisis after another. Early in the week, a close friend found out she had a large tumor, likely ovarian cancer. The day after that, our air conditioner broke again. A week before, we found out our international adoption expenses weren’t deductible that year, and we would now owe significantly more taxes than we had anticipated. Our savings were gone, spent on our adoption expenses and new air conditioning systems.
My suitcase was packed for the beach, but my heart had decided it wasn’t in the mood for vacation. I was overwhelmed, exhausted, and on the verge of imploding emotionally.
How in the world was I going to rest and relax on spring break with all we had going on?
Yet I knew I had a choice. I could dwell in the pit of despair (and take my family down with me), or I could be the boss of my emotions and save us all from a ruined, regret-filled week.
Have you ever noticed how King David bossed his heart around? He literally told his heart what to do: “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name” (Psalms 103:1 NIV).
Using his words as my guide, I told my soul to praise the Lord. But it wasn’t a tender “say your bedtime prayers” talk to my soul. It was a deep down preaching to my inmost being, “GOD IS GOOD no matter what your feelings tell you” sermon.
I used God’s truth to pull my heart away from the pit by remembering “all his benefits” and by reminding myself that God is the One who forgives sins and heals diseases, the One who redeemed my life from the pit and crowned me with love and compassion (Psalms 103:3-5 NIV).
No matter my friend’s diagnosis, the cost of our air conditioner, or how much we owed on taxes, my soul needed to take time to thank God for what He had done in the past and what He could and would do in the future.
Although my circumstances didn’t change, slowly my perspective did. Redirecting my thoughts eventually redirected my emotions and my focus. Thankfully, our spring break wasn’t ruined after all.
Are there circumstances that have pulled you into a place of discouragement? Any concerns dragging your thoughts down a path of despair? You don’t have to go there.
When 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.
You can tell your heart what to do, and if you have to get a little bossy, that’s okay too!
Lord, help me trust You. 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.
GOD IS GOOD no matter what your feelings tell you. - @ReneeSwope: Click To Tweet