Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Train your Brain to Praise His Name

I have shared often how much I enjoy hearing God speak to me when I am struggling with something and He goes to great lengths to get my attention.  He usually uses people, books, music, phone calls, etc throughout a matter of days/weeks to help me understand something He is trying to teach me.  

For awhile now I have been working on Praising the Lord not just when things are good, or when he answers a prayer, or for blessings, but to do this when it is the last thing I want to do.  It isn't easy.  A few months ago I found myself coming to Him in prayer more and feeling my relationship blossom, but realizing that I need to Praise the Lord for the tough stuff too. 

I think this change of heart and new way of thinking has been fruit of losing Grace and the inability to get pregnant since.  I have been really focusing on training my brain to do what is least natural for me when I am frustrated, depressed, sad, angry, or just having a bad day.  When all I want to do is scream at the top of my lungs, cry, run away, or hide from whatever isn't desirable at the time instead I Praise His Name.  

Like I said before, it isn't easy.  It has been a struggle to say the least, but God is good.  I have fallen to my knees in my darkest hours and instead of  questioning my Savior or my situation, I thank Him.  This has transformed from major issues I struggle with to daily struggles.  So as I Praise His Name for my child in heaven and empty womb I am also Praising Him for rough days with toddlers, road rage, burnt dinner, being late because I had to change a poopy diaper as we were walking out the door, sleepless nights, and much more.  

As I train my brain to do what is so hard, I find my first reaction is often Praising the Lord in these situations instead of cursing under my breath or clenching my jaw.  I haven't perfected this yet and I am sure I never will, but every day is a new day and every day is another chance to try this new way of thinking.  Each day the Lord is making this easier for me. Of course there are times where it just feels good to let out a scream, have a good cry, or vent to a great friend too.

How has God been letting me know I am on the right track?  He has used Jonah, who I did briefly discuss this with awhile ago.  I told him I was working on saying thank you to Jesus for days that are hard or things that make me sad because He is always there and will help me feel better.  Jonah has reminded me a time or two when my first reaction isn't to Praise. I also bought a devotional for mom's a few weeks ago and guess what yesterday's devotional was about? Yep, praising the Lord when it's the last thing you want to do. I also heard Him in the car the other day when I had initially turned the radio off for my ride home from work and turned it on just minutes before pulling into the driveway.  I was feeling sorry for myself and frustrated, but decided to praise the Lord for the situation rather than be angry at it.  After some praising I turned the radio on and heard Casting Crowns' Praise You In this Storm. (I listened to this song a lot after my miscarriage and found comfort from it.  It also came on the radio the day we found out the Kochan family had lost Avery tragically last May.) 

Not until that moment did I truly realize what the Lord had been trying to teach me since.  (If you aren't familiar with that song it is in my playlist at the bottom of this blog.)  The chorus is what hits home and causes me to tear up every time:

And I'll praise you in this storm
        and I will lift my hands
        for You are who You are
        no matter where I am
        and every tear I've cried
        You hold in your hand
        You never left my side
        and though my heart is torn
        I will praise You in this storm

Will you join me and Train Your Brain to Praise His Name? Let me know if you're up for the challenge so I can pray for you too!


sweetander said...

I will definitely join the challenge with you! I started reading Calvary Road last night and WOW is it convicting! It said that anything that springs from self is sin: self-pity during trials, self-indulgence in one's spare time, resentment, worry, fear, and on and on. Instead of having a pity party when things aren't going the way I want them to I can praise God and he will fill my cup to overflowing!!! Thanks for the encouragement!

Cindy and company said...

"Let no unwholesome words come out of your mouth but only what is necessary for buidling others up according to their needs" and then you will "be transformed by the renewing of your mind". Isn't easy stuff, but oh so freeing! I heard someone on the radio a while back say that you can't complain and praise the Lord at the same time. I took that to heart and have been working on it for quite some time now. It's hard work! I am with you sister! Isn't it funny how the kids remind us to respond the way we should? Honestly, sometimes I just want to stick my tongue out at them, but then I remember....

Prachar family said...

You know I am there. A lesson I could grow a lot from. Thanks again for sharing your heart and helping me see an area I need to grow in. I read a book by Rick Johnson called "The Man Whisperer" that totally opened my eyes to what my complaining was doing to my husband. The words that were so profound were along these lines: when you (the wife) complain, he feels like a failure and may respond in anger. This boggled my mind, I was just "venting", not complaining...right? NO, I was complaining and it was bringing my husband down as well as my spiritual life. I love the verses Cindy quoted too!