“We steer where we stare.” – Lysa TerKeurst⠀
It isn’t very often a few words can grab hold of me so powerfully, so when they do? I pay attention.⠀
This week, I am going to take a closer look at #focus, and how it impacts our future. I hope you’ll join me!⠀
This week, I have shared three ways I make my faith a priority, especially in the stormy seasons or hardest of days.
- Seeking Him in worship
- Seeking Him in the Word
- Seeking Him in prayer
And today, let me share the fourth way, which may come as a shock to some of you.
Seeking Him for joy.
When I discovered the Word makes promises such as “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10), and saw how Jesus was able to minister so much yet remain confident in who He was and what He was called to do despite opposition, I realized there must be value in joy.
And one of the outer expressions of joy is laughter.
Laughter is health boosting to our bodies, and minds. Helping us to face harder days with a joy that can only come by seeking God, and taking a positive stance.
The act of laughing:
- Reduces stress
- Lowers blood pressure
- Burns calories
- Eleviates pain
- Lowers blood sugar
- Improves immune function
- Helps you sleep better
- Improves blood flow
Basically? Almost every benefit you can get from a jog or run, laughter can release within you!
So I choose daily to read the comics (Calvin & Hobbes are still a fave!) or funny book (Carla Laureano is a good fun dialogue writer), watch a (clean) comedy dvd or YouTube video (Tim Hawkins & the Skit Guys are family faves) or a movie which makes me laugh (Taxi and Ant-Man are good ones for me!).
Laugh every day, it’s like inner jogging!
But more than that, I ask Holy Spirit within me to help me to lean on His joy to be my strength when I feel especially weak.
Try adding laughter and seeking joy to your situation, friend, with His help. He may surprise you with how He uplifts and equips you as you invite Him to move in this way!
As I have shared over the past month, I have been battling for my health on three fronts lately. One hindering my breathing, one impacting me deep within, and one affecting my right hand (and yes, that is the hand I predominantly write with.)
The bad sinus congestion left me with a cold air induced asthma, which is almost gone due to the arrival of spring.
The internal one has been successfully corrected due to a required replacement.
But I have been struggling the most this past week with the burn on my hand, which has not healed as well as expected despite following usual protocols.
I have been bringing all of these to God in prayer, often multiple times a day, and can honestly say He has guided me towards health as I followed His lead. Not as swiftly as I would like, but healing me nevertheless.
My hand has been the most painful, as I cannot do most things without it. And I never realized how much I took that ability for granted until this burn hit. I have been pressing in all the more as I seek His help to battle this discomfort, pain and frustration.
Today, I felt prompted to go get my hand checked out (2 weeks post burn). And last night, it apparently turned towards infection for which I am now taking medication.
I am thankful that God pours out not only His help and healing, but His strength to keep me going during life’s inevitable battles.
Friend, He is ready to do the same for you too!
“Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His presence continually!” 1 Chronicles 16:11 ESV
When things get stormy, my mood starts to sink, or a situation starts to stink, I run to His promises to help keep my head above water, and my eyes fixed on truth.⠀
One verse which has been a life preserver to me over the years is Jeremiah 29:11. Written by a prophet who saw people running away from God to false ones, as his nation sunk into moral chaos before being overrun by Babylon.⠀
Yet he still held on to Hope, and the promise of what he heard God say was to come, even when the darkness looked like it was ahead. ⠀
Draw comfort from His Word. It is full of verses which can uplift, speak light and peace into you, and guide you when you aren’t sure which way to go.⠀
For God never changes. His love is endless, His faithfulness never failing, His mercy new every morning. He will never leave you or forsake you, even when you cannot sense or see Him. He stands true, full of goodness, and shines light into every situation into which we welcome Him. The hope we find in Him will never failing, friend.⠀
‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ – Jeremiah 29:11 ⠀
On the days when I am not feeling particularly hopeful, I find it very uplifting for my spirit to connect with God through worship. In particular, songs which proclaim His goodness & power, and His promise for good things to yet to come for me.
One of the newest songs to be on my lips is “Praise Before My Breakthrough” by Bryan & Katie Torwalt. And let me just say, on the worst of days, I either keep worship music such as this song on constantly, whether via cd or my phone, or keep singing the song lyrics under my breath at work throughout the day.
Looking for a breakthrough in your life? Keep praising Him, friend, and pressing in to His Presence.
Praise invites Him to open up the heavens to free us, heal us, restore us and bless us!
“I’ll praise before my breakthrough ‘Til my song becomes my triumph I will sing because I trust You I will bring my heart, I will lift my song He who came in power, He will come again He who heals the sick, won’t He move again He who raised the dead, won’t He raise again And I will sing, I will sing!”
There are days when I can almost taste trouble. When I recall every detail of a difficult situation or traumatic moment, a bitter taste can enter my mouth, and sour the rest of a day unless I put it into proper perspective.
Nothing will outlast God’s love. mercy or faithfulness. Ever.
- Nothing in my past.
- No thing in my present.
- Not anything yet to come in the future.
“I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. I remember it all—oh, how well I remember— the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there’s one other thing I remember,and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, His merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great Your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left.” -Lamentations 3:19-24 MSG
So if you too feel like a good cry, feeling the grief you have been pushing aside, experiencing the depths of emotional, physical, mental or spiritual pain?
Keep gripping Hope. He will never let go of you, ever.
And I don’t say that lightly, friend.
I have experienced the sudden trauma of a loved one attempting suicide on each side of the cross. I have lost loved ones to cancer, diabetes, heart issues – again, some as a believer, some not.
God walked closely with me through every loss after I decided to follow Him. They were no less painful, but I did not feel the weight of loss in the same way.
Without God carrying me through, the pain of loss before I knew Him was overwhelming. It left me depressed, depleted and drained.
When God carried me through, I was able to grasp the loss in a way that honored my feelings, without those feelings running my days. Hope was holding me tight, and I am so grateful that His faithfulness and love never strayed.
This week, I will share a few things I have learned about how to hold on to Hope when things aren’t going your way.
On those days when I feel less than due to the weight of my sin, You lovingly remind me that You are waiting to restore me when I humbly come to You.
“Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be white than snow.” Psalm 51:7⠀