Day Nine: Praise Challenge


Today’s Praise Challenge begins with a very important question:  who is in control of your triggers?

Every day,  we face circumstances that demand a response.  Because few people have managed to live out their years without experiencing some type of tragedy, pain or suffering, we often respond to the events of our lives from the fears and griefs we’ve stored up from our past.  More often than not, our response is automatic, unconscious, and made out of habit more than desired intention.   We are, in all honesty, somewhat of a prisoner to our past experiences.  And many times, we regret the responses we have, and end up needing to apologize, or live with the bitterness and bondage of choosing not to.

But we don’t have to continue this pattern.  I believe the Praise Challenge is an invitation to take back some control in our lives.  When hit with the hard stuff in life, we do have a choice in how we respond.  We are not powerless unless we continue to surrender our power.

Remember that it is God Himself who lives inside of us, if we have taken Christ as our Lord.  This is the same God Who raised Jesus from the dead!  What in heaven, hell, or earth could be more powerful than that?!

Yes, we may have walked through some terrible fires.  What’s worse, we may have been thrown into some of those fires.  Such memories can be painful and tormenting.  And sometimes, we live with unspoken vows, swearing we will never again allow ourselves to be placed in such a helpless or hopeless situation.

So, when we smell fire, we often react with understandable (though not always beneficial) resistance.  And the enemy of our souls loves to play games with this response.  He will put his finger on the triggers of our hearts all day, every day, if we give him the opportunity.

But if, instead, you and I decide to start giving God opportunities to touch the places in our lives that make us fearful and jumpy, we might have quite a different experience.

I am connected with quite a few young women who have been through incredibly difficult things, and are often triggered by situations that look, sound, or feel like what has wounded them.  In those moments, when their triggers are pulled, they are tempted to panic, respond with extreme fear, and find themselves powerlessly backed into a corner they cannot find their way out of.  Sometimes they retreat like victims, and sometimes they run out, guns blazing, determined to destroy whatever is close enough to hit. Neither response ends favorably.

But what we’ve begun to catch onto is that, in those moments, there is a God-appointed opportunity for some healing to take place, rather than more room given over to destruction.  As these young women learn to pause and shift their thoughts to God, essentially taking back the control of their triggers and aiming them at Heaven, their pain, fear and woundedness are received by God with tenderness and compassion.  And His comfort enters that hurt place in their hearts,  freeing them to respond with love and power, rather than fear and panic.  The result of this has been powerful, and they are beginning to taste real freedom, real hope, and real power over their pain and suffering.

Whatever your triggers are, learn them well.  And keep your finger on them, so that the enemy cannot manipulate your responses to what God sends or allows as opportunities for growth.  When the enemy comes to play with your pain, aim your trigger at Heaven and pull it quickly.  Let God receive the threats aimed at you, and let God have control over your circumstances.  Let His Word speak, so that the message you hear will be translated from one of intimidation and condemnation to one of empowering grace.

It is time to take possession of your triggers, and aim your heart straight at the heart of God, daring to believe He will help you to respond to the stuff of life differently than you’ve been able to so far.  It is time to meet adversity with faith and hope!

With God, all things are possible.  No matter how deep your pain may be, no matter how trapped and powerless you might feel in your habits or responses, God can turn it around, if you will just agree to let Him.

Take the challenge with me today!  Ready….aim….fire!  With every threat of pain, every hint of difficulty, let’s aim our praise to God and watch how He transforms our circumstances into something we can be excited about, rather than ashamed of.  He is faithful!  And we are destined for this!

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