Whew, we made it through January and February is slipping away quickly. Come on, spring!
January marked short, dark days of winter, plus COVID stuck around.
How do you deal with it all? Binge watch Netflix? Eat an entire box of Little Debbie’s while hiding under your favorite blanket, waiting and wishing for spring?
But we have a better choice! Maybe your energy is depleted and if you’re anything like me, you tend to rely on your own strength…and fail miserably. No matter the circumstance, we have a choice to look up and refocus. Regardless of the weather forecast, political news, updates on COVID, etc. we can choose to look up. When we learn to turn to God’s Word and seek Him and His truth, His light will shine through the darkness.
God knew we would need examples to remind us that we do not have to remain in the darkness, that’s why the stories in the Bible are filled with discouraged down and out people. But they look up.
Currently, at my church, Brookstone, we are in a series called “Footsteps of David.” It’s pretty mind blowing to hear the struggles and triumphs David went through in his lifetime.
David was very familiar with discouragement and being down and out! But instead of looking down and focusing on his problems, David looked up and was reminded of God’s love and compassion. David knew God loved him. He knew that God would hear Him from Heaven and answer David when he would cry out to Him.
If you grew up in church and never felt like you could go to God and cry out to Him, try it! Tell Him how you really feel. David did (and David was not who you think of when you think of a good guy, but he had a heart to please God). He already knows the depths of your heart, so be honest with Him. When I learned about the true character of who God is – that He desires an intimate relationship with us and that his GRACE extends beyond anything that we could ever do, I was so relieved. Cry out to Him – He really does care and He really can help.
Psalm 5:3 says, “O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.” David anticipated God’s answer after calling out to Him. This is how David fought his battles. This is how we should fight our battles.
Each day, each battle, and in each circumstance, we have the choice to focus on the negative or to look up. As a Christ follower, we have the promise of hope. That, like David, when we look up, we can be reminded of God’s love and compassion. It’s new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).
So, here’s your list of some ways to start your day looking up:
1. Be honest with God! Like David, go to Him and cry out to Him with how you are feeling and ask Him for help! But don’t stop there – be like David and thank Him in advance for His answers.
2. Worship – David was a great example for us to be worshipers. 1 Chronicles 16:9-11 says, “Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! Glory to His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord! Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face evermore!” Now, if you are like me and can’t sing that well – God doesn’t care (but my worship time is sweeter when I can’t hear myself so just crank up that worship music a notch higher)! And if you are in church standing next to someone who can really sing – just lip sync. It makes my worship much sweeter for myself and those around me!
3. . Post Bible verses around you – Post your favorite Bible verses where you tend to find yourself feeling discouraged. Getting ready in the mornings, in the kitchen, in the car…just put those TRUTH reminders all around you!
4. Spend time with God – find a new devotional that you can start your day with that will encourage you. It doesn’t have to be lengthy, just something that you can use to focus your heart before you get into your day.
5. Get moving – our 10K step challenge group is proving that moving does a body and mind good! It helps clear out that negative chatter and gives us an overall since of great health. Pro tip: pray while you walk!
6. Join a small group/life group/community group/whatever-your-church-calls-it-group. Life is truly better in circles, not rows. Having people to share the ups and downs of life with is why the church exists.
7. Coffee with a friend! I highly recommend Brookstone Church Coffee shop (and patio on a warmer day). Black Mountain Home for Children Thrift Store & Thirteen Pennies café are also favorites of mine.
8. Try out a new hobby. Now is a great time to try something new! No matter what kind of budget you have, there truly is something for all ages and all budgets! Take some time having fun. And don't forget to visit my friend Jackie at Rod Works who can help you with a new hobby or just help you find some great new touches for your home!
9. Praise. It activates peace. Journal or post verses and praises around you. What are you thankful for? Spend time just writing down praises and see what happens!
10. Simplify. Declutter your home, calendar and life. Look at your calendar or your lifestyle and determine what is causing you the most stress. You will be shocked at what just a few, simple changes can do to bring fresh new perspective!