I travel often by airplane. On every trip I hear the same message: “In the event of an emergency, an oxygen mask will drop down before you. Put it over your nose and pull the elastic strap around the back of your head and then tighten. Oxygen will then flow.”
I’m dealing with two situations that loom large before me: knowing how to respond to my sister’s critical health situation, and preparing 15 hours of curriculum that I’ll teach at a missionary training center in an undisclosed Middle Eastern country this fall.
I’m pulling double-duty on the latter. Besides writing this material for a mixed audience of three different cultures, I’m mentally tweaking as I go, considering how to adapt it to make it relevant to North American women, thus shaping my next book. This is a huge task, one on which I’ve spent many hours in the past week. In the end, I scrapped everything I’d already written and started afresh.
By Saturday evening, I was gasping for air.
On Sunday morning, the oxygen mask fell before my face.
A visiting pastor to our church presented the best sermon I’ve ever heard on the topic of praising God in the midst of life’s tough stuff. I strongly encourage you to do so—it will change your life.
I know about the power of praise and how it changes our perspective. I even teach about it, but yesterday’s message was a timely reminder for me to practice what I preach. When the sermon ended and the prayer team moved into place at the front of the sanctuary, I followed. The pastor had exhorted us to praise our way through our current challenges, and so praise I did.
I praised my way through the afternoon, and again in the evening when I took a walk as the sunset spread red across the sky. I praised God before I rolled from bed this morning, and again as I spent quiet time in His presence. Every time anxious thoughts creep in today, I intend to use them as a reminder to praise God for His wisdom, His power, His sovereignty.
“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O LORD, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things” (1 Chronicles 29:11 NLT).
This morning, I face the same two concerns. But I’m not gasping for air anymore. I’ve donned the mask. All will be well.
Breathe in the Spirit’s presence. Breathe out anxiety. Oxygen flows.