How to Turn Around a Downhill Day
“The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the LORD will praise him — may your hearts live forever!” Psalm 22:26 (NIV)
When was the last time you had one of those days?
Sometimes, that downhill day teaches us a lesson that sticks with us forever. For me, a pivotal day like that happened a few years ago. I walked into the post office mid-morning with my preschooler. It wasn’t the holidays, so I expected to get in and out quickly.
It turned out lots of people must’ve had the same thought because the post office was packed. The line was to the door and moving slowly. Two post office clerks worked as swiftly as they could, but there were just too many people.
“Did you bring a snack?” my little Lucy asked immediately.
Usually, I was stocked like a well-appointed pantry for long outings, but I thought the post office would be a quick errand. I didn’t have a cracker to my name.
Lucy whined, “I’m hungry, Mommy!”
A few minutes turned into 25. Lucy and I were both unhappy campers. My day’s schedule was thrown out of balance. Later in the day, it was time for Lucy’s afternoon nap. She is usually great about taking her naps. But of course, on this non-perfect post office kind of day, she resisted. Protested. Fought. Struggled.
Finally, Lucy was sleeping soundly.
I work from home, but there was not any work getting done that day. Once Lucy was asleep, I turned toward the kitchen to prepare dinner.
I’m not really a cook; I’m more of a food assembler. But on this particular day, I had planned to make a casserole. Standing at my kitchen counter, chopping up pieces of chicken, I again realized why I don’t cook complex recipes (read here: things with more than five items). They take too much time!
I felt incredibly irritated about my wasted day.
My husband James was in the next room practicing his guitar. He’s a beginner, so insert creaky chords here. He was learning a praise song, and without even thinking about it, I began to sing along.
Within just a few minutes of singing praises to God (I’m still chopping chicken), my whole demeanor changed.
The unfulfilled to-do lists and the burdens of the day lifted off my shoulders.
I was filled with gratitude instead of grumbling.
My irritation disappeared.
Instantly, I was at peace. All my striving could not produce happiness, but when I looked to Jesus and sang praises to Him, all of a sudden, everything was made right.
I was satisfied just like the key verse says, “The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the LORD will praise him” (Psalm 22:26a).
When you praise God for who He is, even when the day has left your soul poor and hungry, you turn that downhill day around. God has given us the gift of song to praise Him. Our key verse of praise from Psalm 22 is sung even when everything is going wrong in the writer David’s life.
Psalm 22:1 opens the chapter with painful words that will be quoted by Jesus on the cross, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?” (NIV)
But the perspective shifts in verse 3, “Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises.” (NIV)
“Yet you …”
Let those two little words grab a hold of your heart today. You may be working in a dead-end job. You may be in a cloud of sadness. You may feel stuck in the kitchen or a crazed post office line: “Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One” (Psalm 22:3a, NIV).
Jesus Christ is worthy of all praise. The first verse of Psalm 22 speaks of despair. But the last verse, Psalm 22:31, speaks of praise and victory: “They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!” (NIV)
That day at my kitchen counter, I learned praise was the key to turning a downhill day around. Don’t use your circumstances to measure your days. Instead, turn your eyes upon Jesus Christ.
When you praise Him, no matter what’s happening in your life, He will give you divine perspective. Peace. Calm. Joy. Even when you’re chopping chicken.
Dear Jesus, I worship You because You are worthy of praise. You have defeated death, and You can turn around my downhill days. Dominion, power, glory and blessing belong to You alone. Set my soul free from anxiety as I praise. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 7:17, “I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.” (NIV)
Psalm 100:4 “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.” (NASB)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What’s your normal response when the day doesn’t turn out as planned? Make a mental note to sing a praise song when this happens next.
What are a few of your favorite praise songs? Sing them to Jesus in worship today.