Day Twenty-Four: Praise Challenge


There have been many seasons in my life when I couldn’t summon the strength or energy to deal with what I was confronted with.  Inevitably, my choices, then, were few. And my favored response was retreat.  A backward glance at years of shrinking into willful avoidance brings a stinging regret for the mark they’ve left in my life.  Old habits are hard to change.

But change we must.

I am learning how to rise up.  It isn’t easy, and it isn’t fun.  And I don’t always do it with the kind of courage that roars.  Nevertheless, I am learning.  With this praise challenge, I am gaining a momentum that carries me into every new day with the intention to try again.  And I’m discovering that it’s becoming more of a natural response than a real effort, to respond to what confronts me with boldness and faith rather than timidity and fear.

I woke up yesterday to a fierce darkness, a presence that carried no good intentions toward me.  I’ve encountered this presence before, and I’ve avoided the fight it was looking for by pulling the covers back over my head and retreating into the false security of more rest.  The consequences of that have never yielded anything good…which is probably why I am still being confronted by it!

This time, however, I was delighted to discover a force within me that propelled me out of bed, ready for the fight.  Almost before I was fully conscious, I found myself in my living room, on my knees, worshiping God – declaring His greatness and calling upon His Name.  Almost without any willfulness on my part, I found myself smack in the middle of a scuffle with darkness, and winning!

I believe this is because I’ve spent the last 23 days willfully choosing to praise God in the face of every trouble, and the cumulative effect of that daily choice has yielded a new, life-changing habit.  Though some days the effort has been more strained and difficult – even more clumsy – than others, day by day I have been transformed.

Becoming the person we were always meant to be happens like that – one day at a time. God, in His gracious wisdom, has made it that simple.  Choice by choice, hour by hour, day by day, we build momentum.  Until suddenly we find that it is natural more than unnatural, and easy more than strenuous.

I hope you are discovering your own transformation through this praise challenge.  And I do hope you will choose to hold onto this new habit that you are cultivating.  I believe the results will be life-altering for you and I, and inspiring and contagious to the world around us!

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