Why Praise God? (Part 2 – our mind and emotions)
This time, let’s look at how praising God for all things affects our minds and our emotions.
In Proverbs 23:7 in the KJV it states, “As a man thinks, so is he.” Both biblical and secular scholars have acknowledged the power of our thoughts and the effects they wield on both our bodies and emotions. Scientists have proven that we can calm or increase our heart rate by the scenes we visualize mentally. Everyone is aware of the damaging effects of stress – the tension that builds when we feel overwhelmed, worry about things beyond our control, or imagine horrible outcomes based on present circumstances. These scenarios deplete our energy, leave us feeling hopeless and eventually take us to despair and a depressed state. This is definitely a downward spiral.
Many years ago I was challenged to track the thoughts that led me into depression or despair and I made an amazing discovery. In almost every case the thoughts that led to this state started out with the question, “What if…?” I would play out some horrible scenario that may happen as a result of a mistake I made or some circumstance I was worried about. That 1st “What if ..” led to a darker scenario which led to another “What if…” that literally dumped me into an emotional pit. Within a relatively short period of time I could go from mildly concerned to outright depressed; and it all started with an innocent “What if…?” I could feel the darkness closing in on me! What was I doing? I was MAGNIFYING the problem. The more I considered it, the bigger and more ominous it became until it seemed insurmountable. So I learned from this, and when I heard those words pop into my brain I determined to go down a different path of thinking.
One day several years ago I was living hand to mouth basically and totally dependent on God for all my provision. I was in the process of building a business and one day after thinking I had hit a very major goal and turning point, everything appeared to crumble around me. Several people seemed to be backing out of their commitments and mentally I started the dark hole of “what ifs” in the negative direction. Before I knew it, by late that afternoon I was depressed. I was so ecstatic just a few days before, thanking God for helping me hit this major goal and shared my praise report with anyone who would listen. Now I didn’t dare call any friends for help as I was sinking into the mire of my own depressing thoughts, because I felt like it would make God look bad and me a fool! I already knew about the power of praise but I was so overwhelmed, it hadn’t even occurred to me to thank Him for any of it.
I was in my car and feeling at the end of my rope when I turned on the radio and at that instant, I heard someone say “and they put the devil under their foot” and it was if a clap of thunder boomed within my car. Immediately, I realized that I was under attack! I had been lured into the snare of doubt and fear and “what ifs” and it had darkened my mind, depressed my emotions and stimulated a bunch of other negative thoughts. But God showed up in that one line on the radio and the hair stood up on the back of my neck as I realized I was in a battle! I wasn’t going to go down without a fight!
I immediately sat up straight in my car, narrowed my eyes and went to war. In a loud and determined voice I started praising God for every detail of the current circumstances. I thanked Him that He allowed all of it to happen. I acknowledged that He was in control and none of this could even take place if it wasn’t designed to make me stronger. I thanked Him that He was going to bring great good out of whatever ended up happening and I totally trusted Him for that. I thanked him that people quit and backed out. I even praised Him for how I had fallen for the enemies lies and gone into victim mode. I thanked Him for every nuance of the experience I could think of.
The atmosphere in my car changed instantly and now it was crackling with energy and power. The presence of God was real and electrifying. My emotions went from the pit to the heavens within moments, why?
- Now I was MAGNIFYING God and His abilities
- I was focused on solutions and not on the problems
- I was depending on God’s ability to perform and not on my ability (or lack thereof) to “fix.”
- When you bring God, who is light, into your thinking, the darkness must flee. It’ like turning on a light in a darkened room.
- My emotions immediately followed my thoughts and my faith started to rise. This once again started the upward cycle.
I challenge you this week to track some of your thoughts. When you find yourself “down”, examine the thoughts that brought you there. Notice how they affected your emotions, then turn to your loving Heavenly Father, the Creator of the Universe who breathes stars into existence and start thanking Him for His sovereignty and promise to work “even this” for good.
I can’t wait to hear about your experiences….