I remember waking up one Thursday morning and feeling like the air around me was a thick, heavy, fog. It felt dark, despite the sunshine; I felt fatigued, despite a good night’s sleep. Before I could even rise completely out of the bed, it’s as if someone threw a cloak of unhappiness on me that shrouded me from head to toe. My brain is always thinking, and today, my thoughts were centered on only negativity.
“You’ll never get over your past.”
“You’ll never be good enough.”
“Your prayers haven’t changed a thing.”
“You talk of God’s promises, but look at how you’re still struggling, hoping for restoration.”
The accusation and condemnation couldn’t come fast enough. Admittedly, I listened to that voice for far too long, that day, and as I listened, I sunk even further into a pit of despair. But then I remembered my Father’s voice. I recalled how He speaks to me, how He takes great delight in me, quiets me with His love, and rejoices over me with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). Instantly, I knew: this was not Him! I sat at the edge of my bed and began to worship God and rebuke every negative thought that reared its head. I opened my mouth and said, “I WILL bless the lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear thereof and be glad.” As I said that aloud, I was impressed to read further from His Word, so I opened my bible to Psalm 34 and continued along to verse 3: “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.” I stopped there and immediately recognized this as a call to corporate worship. I sent some text messages off to a few friends who called me back and worshiped God WITH me (praise God for His obedient servants). In no time, that heavy spirit was lifted and I was sharing with others how God picked me up out of the darkness. By the time I had recited verses 1-2 then read and obeyed verse 3, verse 4 was manifested in my life: “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” Isaiah 61:1-4 is one of my favorite passages, for it encapsulates much of the vision I believe God has placed within me. One exchange offered there, is a “garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness,” and I believe it is up to us to make that exchange. When you’re feeling down, when that spirit of heaviness is cloaked about you, make the exchange. Don a spirit of praise, instead. You will have no choice but to feel God’s presence, for His Word declares that He inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3 KJV). He’s daring us to praise Him and see if He won’t show up and dwell among us. I’ve proven His Word to be true. I put on that garment of praise and the heavy spirit had to flee, for there was no room for darkness in His light! I’ll leave you with this prayer a friend recently shared with me:
“May His still, small voice become the loudest voice you hear.”