Set Fire to Fear with PRAISE
The day God began teaching me about living daily was the day I discovered a deep fear. I was sitting on a hot bus and traveling at a snail’s pace in the heart of Guangzhou, China. I sat beside the window looking at the people below on the streets. They were cooking in the open air, standing in doorways of shops, and walking along the sidewalks. Children were bundled in three layers, even in 80-degree weather. I glanced at my husband next to me holding our daughter. She was still withdrawing, still grieving. Fear began to creep over me, making it hard to breathe. What would her future be? What would my future be? Would the future be predictable at all anymore?
So many unanswered questions, some still unanswered a year and a half later, but I remember the ride and the tears underneath the surface. Tears from exhaustion. Tears from physically missing my other little ones. Mostly I had tears from fear—a fear of the future. Fear threatened to ruin the day of shopping and fun planned for us. I decided to shove down the fear, swallow my tears, and walk through the oasis of Shamain Island—the Spanish moss and the architecture that resembled what I pictured Savannah, Georgia, to be like. We moved in and out of the streets. I decided to soak in that day, ignoring the fear and continuing to move forward—even if it was just for that one day.
After coming home from China, we suffered through the fog of jet lag and began putting our family together again piece by piece. It wasn’t the same as before, and the fear returned. I pushed it down again and again until the fear of the future overwhelmed me like a flood. Suddenly, I was in the middle of an ocean of adoption blues and desperate for relief.
In the middle of my ocean of fear, I couldn’t praise Him. One day I might praise you, God, but not today, I prayed. I held out my hands, empty of praise, and found Him. Ready to reach for me. Ready to wait for me. Ready to change my heart when I wasn’t even seeking the growth—I wanted to just survive.
I’m still learning this messy thing of daily praise. I write to you from a place of broken praise. I see now I never had it together. I see now I never was just a “good girl” needing a little grace. The Lord revealed the depths of my sin. My God has allowed the darkness to seep in to reveal how brilliantly His light shines—and that praise doesn’t have to wait.
One day at a time, I’m learning to praise Him. Praise Him when my heart just isn’t feeling it. Praise Him when my life feels so out of control. Praise Him for the good. Praise Him for the hard. Praise Him for who He is. As my eyes turn away from my own desperation, I see the fullness of Christ and the steadfast love and daily mercy available to me. The more I praise Him, the more I see Him.
I’ve also stood up singing on a Sunday morning weighed down with heartache and grief, unable to utter a single word or even read the words on the screen. During the time of praise, my heart is bent low in deep sorrow, not even able to see the goodness of Him. In those moments, the Holy Spirit slides into the seat next to me and lets me praise God with unspoken words. The Spirit speaks for me, interceding before the Father, voicing the needs I cannot.
Praise isn’t about joy. Praise isn’t an emotion or something we have but something we do. Praise isn’t about singing the songs on Sunday morning. Praise is what we lift to the Father, no matter the outward position. It is an act of the will. It is the response of the heart. It is both together. Praise is something God has called us to do during our season of growth. Praise is the first step we can take toward growth. Look up.
How do we set fire to fear? How do we kick fear from our hearts and kindle courage?
Praise is the Perfect Place to Find God’s Presence
1. We can trust Him, even when the world crumbles.
2. God is bigger than our past or future or present.
3. A personal God is powerful and a powerful God is personal and we can praise Him.
To set a fire, we must strike a match. We must begin the flames. Setting fire to fear will maybe take time, but today you can “strike the match” with PRAISING
1. How does fear keep us from praising?
2. What can I praise God for today?
3. What step can I take to praise God in my day – everyday?
PRAISE will provide a place for peace.