Well this *was* the post I did login to write today! However, I am feeling so tired just now, at past 3 am, that I will just write a short summary (for now?)
In short, today I have been feeling morose in a highly uncharacteristic way… Here is the thing: I am genuinely always happy. I genuinely have a deep well of joy bubbling away in my heart all the time. Or at least, that is my mood for a good 95% of the time, off the top of my head. I might need to revise that figure as I think about it some more but that is a figure that occurs to me just now. This is the reason why people say I have such a radiant smile, because it is a genuine reflection of the joy within my heart.
But you know what? The way I felt today reminded me that many people are not always happy. Perhaps it is true to say that most people go around feeling a little bit sad, most of the time.
So this is what I want to tell you: You need to make time to praise God! I have made that point before about the importance of praising God for the sake of maintaining a joyful outlook.
You know, even to myself it seems somewhat mercenary to say this; of course the primary reason we praise God is for the sake of actually praising Him and extolling His majesty. I guess that when you have already made up your mind to live for God, then praising Him primes you for that and empowers you for that. So when you have already decided to live for God, then you can happily pursue the mental health benefits that come from praising Him without feeling that you are somehow using God. I mean that you can praise God not just for the sake of praising Him but even for the sake of keeping yourself joyful, knowing that it all helps you to be more effective in His service anyway.
What I have realised over the years is this: If you give God a good amount of time in praise, say minimum 30 mins a day (I typically do more than this) then that in itself creates a well of joy in you.
What i am adding here to this idea I have shared before is this: try to proactively give God thirty minutes of sincere praise every day, don’t just wait for the days when you are feeling down. And then hopefully that will help you maintain a constantly positive outlook without ever having to dip into those blue feelings.
You know, praising God lifts my spirits in a way that absolutely nothing else can.
Additionally, I am extremely prolific in various aspects of my life – I do lots. You know what powers that? Yep, that same joy! Somehow when there is joy pumping around my mind and heart I feel enthusiastic and optimistic about my various dreams and goals. I can barely wait to start and I throw myself earnestly into one project after another.
So it might seem that thirty minutes is a big investment of time. However, if you are a busy person it is more than worth it as an investment because you will be filled with all the positive energy that you need to truly apply yourself to your dreams and goals.
If you are reading this, but not sure whether you can commit to 30 mins every day, can I ask you to just try it? Why not give it a week at first, then if you like those results, increase it to a month… It is really important that you need to give God sincere praise. I sing Christian songs. However, if you don’t know any or don’t have access to any, then you could try reading aloud some praise Psalms (for instance Psalms 96 – 100).
I really want to emphasise that this works for me because I have sincerely made up my heart to live for God.
So if you are a Christian, and you have not done that, then that would be an important first step. If you are not a Christian, then honestly, this joy in itself would be worth embracing Christ for, especially if what I felt today is how most people usually feel. Please, please trust me on this! Remember, I have nothing whatsoever to gain from your coming to faith! I am not making any money from this, I never have, and never will – not even a single penny.
Honestly, this faith is 100% true, and this God is 100% real!!!
If you are feeling quite down just now:
Firstly, I would urge you to repent of anything you have done wrong that may be weighing on your conscience. This includes any unkind attitudes or thoughts that you may have been thinking on.
Then I would invite you to praise God, and keep praising Him, until you feel better. Try to be as open and honest before Him as you can be. If you know what is making you feel down, then express that to Him too.
The key here is to keep on at it until you genuinely feel better. This might take more than 30 mins. It might take more than an hour.
Sometimes what will happen is that you don’t yet feel completely back to your happy self, but you feel OK to at least continue with the rest of the day, and then perhaps later you can take some good time to really praise God.
If you are dealing with some deep-seated issues, then this might be helpful: Take a week, and give yourself a hour or two per day to praise God. I think of this as “praise medicine” – actually I’ve just made that phrase up! The phrase I genuinely have used repeatedly is “prayer medicine”, but I am realising that in this context, “praise medicine” works better! After a week of this, I imagine that that would have made a deep impact in the issue, whatever the issue is. But if you need to, keep going on, keep praising, beyond a week, a fortnight, a month if necessary, until your heart is genuinely full of joy, then it will hopefully be a much easier matter to maintain that level of joy.