Just What Can Praise Do?
by Shonda Savage
Life has its ups and downs. We go through good times and bad times. Some times are really bad times. Those mind bending, I can’t believe this is happening to me, this is the kind of stuff movies are made of type of bad times. Other times seem bad in the moment, but in retrospect we can say it wasn’t so bad.
If most of you are like me, my initial response when bad times hit is to begin to fret and despair. Worry. Doubt. Denial. Unbelief. Anxiety. Panic. All those things do their best to take over me. That is if I let them.
Many years ago after my baby was born (by the way, he’s sixteen now), I suffered from depression. Some of it was postpartum, but most of it was because I did not get my way. I wanted to be a stay-at-home mother, but we had too much debt. I despaired at having to return to work when my twelve weeks of maternity leave ended.
It was then a colleague introduced me to the concept of praise. He suggested that I praise God. Sing songs to God. Turn up the praise and worship music in my home and sing with abandon to our Lord. And to sing to Him in spite of how I felt.
Really? I thought this guy was way out there. I didn’t know how to buy into this concept of praising God when things were not going my way. But I decided nothing else I tried had worked, so why not?
So I turned on the music. Turned it up loud. (We lived in the country so I didn’t have to worry about any complaints.) And I started singing. As I tried to get the words out, tears poured down my face. I muttered the words as I really wouldn’t call it singing as I couldn’t keep up.
I felt such a release through crying and praising. Through that release, peace followed. As I continued this practice for the days, weeks, months, and years to follow, I realized it drew me closer to the Lord. I witnessed the Lord do amazing things and as a result my trust and faith grew in Him.
Now I wish I could tell you that since I learned this concept sixteen years ago, that it has become my initial response. It isn’t. Choosing praise must be an intentional response. Therefore, I keep praise Scriptures posted in each room of the house. I must be reminded to offer a sacrifice of praise because when challenges come at me, there is a side of me that would rather have a fit, worry, despair, and feel anxious.
That is what our enemy, the devil, wants to happen to us. And sadly, after receiving the news of the government shutdown this past week and how it affects our family and watching all the depressing news of the state of our country, I fell into that snare. Only by seeking God, lifting up a voice of praise, did the heaviness lift.
So what can praising God do? It releases pent up emotions. Draws us closer to the Lord. Increases our trust and faith in Him. Causes the enemy to flee. Wards off negative emotions. Allows peace to come into our lives.
We can choose to put on the garment of praise and cast off the spirit of despair (Isaiah 61:3).
How has praising God changed you?
© 2013 Shonda Savage
Shonda Savage loves to encourage people to deepen their roots in Jesus with both spoken and written words. Speaking at conferences and retreats, Shonda connects with the audience through her personal triumphs and tribulations. Shonda writes for both print and online publications and she is the author of the Bible study, Wild Grace: Experiencing Your Spiritual Splendor.