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A Heart of Praise



From Jenny Seylar, blog editor: The holidays can be a challenging time for folks, especially when hardships threaten to consume us. Financial concerns and heatlth scares can cause sleepless nights and strains on families. Sarah Davis shares how she is able to cope with anxiety and fear not just during the holidays, but all year long.


“I just need to say this out loud to someone,” I whispered to my husband just before we drifted off into much-needed sleep. It seemed that no matter what I did to try to calm my heart, I felt ruled and tormented by fear and anxiety. Reaching the point where I could bear the heaviness of it no more, the confession was spoken.


The truth was, I had been suffering in silence for the month prior. For too long I had dismissed the racing thoughts and tightness in my chest as side effects of my family's stress. It's the kind of stress that accompanies opening of a new business, while at the same time, trying to balance work and family life. Couple that with financial worries, and the threat of a health diagnosis. And all of this happening as the holidays were approaching.


All told, it had all placed a looming cloud of worry over our lives. I felt as if my prayers over the few weeks prior had been met with silence. No matter how many Bible verses I read to encourage myself, I still felt alone and afraid.


Once the confession of carrying the weight of anxiety and fear was uttered, I felt lighter somehow. As I surrendered to exhaustion and sleep, true rest finally came. I dreamt that I was singing and worshipping the Lord. The result was the feeling of freedom from the grip I realized fear had on me.


In James 5:16 (NIV), it says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”


My confession had illuminated the realization that I had been living in fear, and in disobedience of God's word. Over and over again, scripture tells me not to fear, and yet I continue to ignore the words. My thoughts were not centered on the Father, but instead were fixated on the voice of the Enemy.


Without meaning to, I had allowed the lies of the Enemy so much attention that I was, in a sense, worshipping them. Figuratively I had placed the lies on the throne of my heart rather than worshipping the Father. After all it is God who holds who I once was, who I am, my future, and all of eternity.


The greatness of God is not dependent upon my worship of Him. Yet God is worthy of all the praise I can give Him. Worship changes me as I seek to make all my thoughts and interactions an act of worship in my daily life.


Worship seems to adjust my perspective, realigning my heart into a position of surrender and trust. Not a trust that is dependent upon outcomes or circumstances, but trust in the God who reigns over all of creation.


FOR FURTHER THOUGHT

This recent experience was not my first encounter of walking through a desolate season of faith. Many times God has felt distant, and as if my faith was hanging on by a thread. Through those unwanted seasons I have learned to walk by faith and not emotions. I have deepened my relationship with the Father, and I have learned to trust Him no matter what circumstances I am facing.


The holiday season is a good time to pause and check in with yourself and with God. The Season of Advent (a time of preparation and waiting for the coming again of the Christ-Child in Bethlehem) lends itself to the spending quiet time reflecting on what the season is all about. That time can be in corporate worship as well as your own personal worship time. Sarah offers this about worship:


Worship is an invitation to realign your perspective. To lead your heart back to focusing on the Father instead of what is threatening to overwhelm you. Worship is not just something we do when gathered with other believers on Sunday morning. It's a way of life.


In Romans 12:1 (NIV), it says, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship."


As we go about our everyday lives with an awareness of who God is, and who we are in Him, we are engaging in worship. I invite you into this kind of daily worship-filled living, especially in this holiday season.


PRAYER

Father, I acknowledge Your goodness and sovereignty. I choose to praise You today even though my circumstances aren't what I wish them to be. I choose to place my trust in You today because You are reliable and have never failed me. Guide me always. Amen.


To learn more about Sarah Davis CLICK HERE


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