December 8, Tuesday

Psalm 43:3-5 (NRSV)

O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.

I walk into the house of God every Sunday morning with my head buzzing with dozens of questions on my mind. “Have I done everything I’m supposed to?” “Am I going to be able to pay that bill?” “Is she mad at me?” “Is my life headed in the right direction?” Sometimes, a heavy heart accompanies this buzzing mind full of questions, and it makes it hard to focus on anything outside of myself. Like the Psalmist, I often find myself asking, “Why are you cast down, O my soul?”

I imagine that I’m not the only one who feels this way. The pressures and anxieties of life have a way of burying deep into our minds and weighing us down. This can create tension in our interpersonal relationships, but it can also stand between God and us. When we’re so focused on our own stress, we’re unable to look outside of ourselves and connect with God.

Fortunately, there is a way out of this cycle of anxiety and self-focus: praise. It may seem like the most unnatural thing in the world to do when one is feeling downcast, but praise moves our focus outside of ourselves and our own problems and onto our loving, gracious God who is our help in times of stress. Before we can truly be the presence of Christ in the world for others, we must first overcome our own anxieties by entering God’s presence and praising him with all we have. It can happen in various places and in various ways, but when we choose to praise God, we can feel our anxieties melting away as we bask in who he is.

What can you do today to praise God and take your mind off of your anxieties and fears?

God of light and truth, draw me to you this day. Help me to look outside of myself as I choose instead to praise you, and allow my burdens to become lightened in your holy presence. Amen.

By Devon Dundee, 2015 Logue Scholarship recipient
George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Waco, Texas


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