Stop Waiting to Praise

The other day, I found myself thinking ahead to next year. Next May, to be exact. In the Lord’s will, my husband will graduate with his PhD in approximately 12 months.

(Not that anyone is counting, of course. BUT WE ALL ARE.)

As I thought about what an incredible time that will be, I imagined myself giving such praise to God for bringing us through the 4 years of PhD hard. Giving the courage and wisdom to begin. Giving the strength, mental fortitude, and financial resources to make it through all 4 years. I can already imagine it.

But God revealed something to me during my imaginary praise session. I’ll share three verses with you and I bet you’ll figure it out faster than I did:

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Psalm 34:1

In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever.
Psalm 44:8

I will thank you forever, because you have done it.
I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.
Psalm 52:9

Too often, I wait to praise God until the end. I want to see how it all turns out to make sure I get the result I wanted in the first place. So hey, God, you do your thing, and if I like it, I’ll praise you when this is all over, okay?

That attitude doesn’t quite align with those verses above, now does it?

So here’s a new idea: Instead of me imagining giving thanks to God next year, what if I go ahead and praise Him right now when we’re 75% through?

God, thank you for all you have done to bring us to this place in our lives.
You know better than we do what a struggle it was to get to this place because you’re the One Who brought us here!
I praise you for your faithful work, unfailing love, and constant goodness.
I praise you because no matter the outcome, YOU ARE GOOD.
Help me to stop waiting until the end to praise you, but to praise you the whole time!

I’m so thankful God is teaching me this lesson before we’re done with this PhD journey. I want to praise Him throughout the entire process. He is good and deserves praise through it all, not just at the end!

How about you? Is there an area of your life in which you’re waiting to praise God?
Join me in praising Him now?

I Can Do It All

I can do it all.

And if you read my post entitled “I Can’t Do It All,” you can now be assured that I’ve completely lost my mind.

Allow me to explain.

I’ve had these posts planned (in my head, at least) for months. And I wanted to do them back to back. In fact, I originally intended to write them both during the same week. As it is, they’ll be posted several months apart. (If you wonder why, refer to this post.)

Previously, I explained that not only am I unable to do everything, I shouldn’t try to do everything. Instead, with the aid of God’s Word, prayer, and counsel from people He’s placed in my life (namely, my husband), I must focus on what is most important for me during each particular season of life. Then strive to do those most important things to the very best of my ability and leave other items untouched for the present time.

Why, then, do I come back with the most confusing post title of “I Can Do It All,” you ask? Why indeed.

It is because of this:

While I can’t do it all –
(“all” being defined as pursuing every single activity in the entire world.
Or every single thing my neighbor, friend, relative, fellow church member, or anonymous internet person is doing)
I can do it all.
(“all” being defined as everything God wants me to do.)

I can’t do it all. But I can do all that God wants me to do. So, in essence, I can do it all.

How do you discern what God wants you to do? It is vital to step back and take a look at the things (and people) God has providentially placed in your life during this current season. Consider your responsibilities, desires, and resources. Pray. Talk with your spouse and/or other wise counselors He has placed in your life. Are you focusing on the most important things for this current season of life? Is there something you’re neglecting that you should be doing? Is there something you’re doing that is really not important for this season? Should you increase or decrease your time in any activity?

Once you have prayerfully considered and answered these questions for your season, then take that list of responsibilities and desires and run with them! Do those tasks with joy, knowing you are fulfilling what God has for you to do during your season. When you see another person doing something you wish you could do, pray about it. Give that desire to God. Maybe He’s going to grow that desire and have you pursue that interest during a future season of your life. Or maybe He wants you to be a cheerleader for your friend as she fulfills the task God has given her. Either way, leave the future to God and stay focused on what He has for you now. Learn to take joy in the tasks God has graciously allowed you to complete.

There is no room for defeat when you are doing what God wants you to do!

Related:
I Can’t Do It All

 

One Daily Habit That’s Changing My Perspective

I’ve started a daily habit that is totally changing my perspective.

It takes less than 5 minutes and I do it twice a day – as soon as I wake and before I fall asleep.

Wanna know what it is?

I thank God.

In the morning, I thank Him for the night – sometimes quite eventful with 4 small children. I thank Him for allowing me to sleep. For waking me up. For giving me a new day to serve Him.

And in the evening, I thank Him for everything that happened during the day – the good, bad, and ugly.

Sometimes these morning and evening thankfulness sessions look like me saying thank you without really feeling thankful. But I’ve learned those are some of the most important times to thank God – even when I don’t understand.

So here’s a challenge…

This week, try it with me. Start and end each day this week by thanking God for everything that happened in the preceding 12 hours.
You can’t do it without gaining a changed perspective. I promise.

When You Despise Your Season

SEASON:
a time characterized by a particular circumstance or feature

Our seasons of life are constantly changing based on the personal, relational, spiritual and work-related details of our lives. Some days, I absolutely love my current season of life. Other times, it can feel like the longest season ever. I’ll venture to say –

The longest season is always the one in which you don’t want to be.

It’s true, isn’t it? Whenever we love our current season, it never seems to last quite long enough. But when we despise it – well, it seems like it’s never going to come to an end.

DESPISE:
to look down on with contempt or aversion
to regard as negligible, worthless, or distasteful

So, what do you do when you realize you despise your season? Here’s what I’ve been doing lately:

Remember the Timing

You know why it’s called a season, right? Because it is limited by time. Seasons – no matter how long they are – don’t last forever. In fact, in view of eternity, our entire life is just a season. Whatever season of life you find yourself in, remember that it’s not forever. This season will end; a new one will begin. And chances are, you may even forget about some of the difficulty associated with your current season of life.

When I’m in a difficult season of life that seems larger than life, it’s helpful for me to think about eternity. The only things that are eternal are God, His Word, and the souls of people. Everything else pales in significance. Even the season of life we’re struggling through right now.

Remember the Blessings

Because God is love, remember that there is no season devoid of His loving care. There are always unique blessings associated with particular seasons of life. I admit, sometimes it takes a bit of eye rubbing and soul scrubbing to see those blessings. Personally, I’ve found that the times when it is hardest for me to see any blessings in my current situation are when my eyes are so gripped by this life and what I want instead of focusing on God and His glory. But when I can lift my eyes off my self and on to Christ, He kindly opens my eyes to see the blessings that have been there all along.

I love these truths from Psalm 84:

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!

 

Remember the Giver

God – the giver of those blessings we just talked about – is also the Giver of your current season. Oh friend, this is the most important part to grasp:

When I’m fighting against the limitations of my current season,
I’m actually fighting the One Who gave them to me.

God is the giver of everything I have, even the very events that took place this morning. Remember God is the Giver of your season and you will find the key to resting in His perfect sovereignty instead of fighting and hating every minute of it. When I remember God is the Giver – of every joy, blessing, and trial – it enables me to live gratefully through my seasons instead of despising them.

So today: if you find yourself despising your current season, give your cares to the One Who placed you in this season. Rest in His timing, love, and the very gifts He’s given you today.

 

Related:
The Most Generous Thing God Can Do for You

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