Updated: Aug 5, 2021
Sometime a few years back my dad offered a kind word of wisdom when he said, “Kimberly, be careful what you give airtime to…” I had been going through a difficult season and had settled into the habit of speaking, “just the facts ma’am”. I cannot say that it was even a heart of complaining, (although I can go there too!), but rather a reiteration of the circumstantial facts over and over and over again…
Facts are facts and even Abram faced the facts when he acknowledged that his wife’s womb was as good as dead, and yet, in faith, he believed the word of promise spoken to him that he would become a father of nations!
We will all face hardships this side of heaven, and I don’t think my dad’s advice was to deny the hardships in life, but to choose instead to be careful how we process them, and more importantly, how we speak about them.
The other day, I read Proverbs 12:25:
Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.
That resonated. Facing facts without calculating faith in the Father always leaves me weighed down. When I looked up the Greek word that was used for, “worry”, I learned that it means:
To bow down
and wait for it…..to worship!!!!! Can you even believe that worry is a form of worship? Ay yi yi!
Every time I choose to reiterate the facts without faith in the Father, my words give creative license to letting the worrisome circumstance become an idol in my life that I figuratively bow down to just like an idol!
The second part of the Proverb, however, says that an encouraging word cheers a person up! The word “encouraging” as it is used here means beautiful, pleasant, agreeable, a good report. It is in these sifting seasons of life, the hard things that are beyond our capacity, that we have the wonderful opportunity to lay the facts before our Father, entrusting them to Him and then choosing instead to give airtime to His praise with a heart of deep-felt gratitude as we remember who He is and of what He is capable!
Yesterday morning, as I was preparing for a full day of meetings, I read Psalm 81. The psalmist writes,
Now I heard an unknown voice say, ‘I will take the load from your shoulders.
I will free your hands from their heavy tasks. You cried to me in trouble and I saved you.
I answered you out of the thundercloud and tested your faith when there was no water…
Oh my stars, how the Psalmist captured by state of my heart in those few sentences. In these overload-bearing moments of life, the Lord promises to take the load from our shoulders. In the moments when our faith is tested because there is no “water”, He reminds us that He will answer and He will save. So even though I awakened with what felt like a cazillion facts, figures and tasks swirling about in my brain, I could spread them out like water before the Father, and bow before Him instead of the facts. It is at this humble and bowed down place of trust that I can then offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise. I like to call this, “The Great Exchange”.
This is the place where we exchange worry, fear, and anxiety for praise. This is the place where our Father bends down to lighten our load by exchanging beauty for our ashes, joy for mourning and praise for despair. It is in this place that we fix our gaze above the facts to our Father, remembering that He IS God and then praising Him that we are not! Yes, it is here, in the moment when we choose to give airtime to praise and thanksgiving for the goodness of God that the enemy is defeated! (See 2 Chron 20:21 for an amazing story of God’s faithfulness!)
At this very moment of typing this post, Spotify just began playing, “Its Your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise…” I mean, come on! What a God-wink! Yes, great are You, Lord!
Psalm 145 is an amazing passage of praise – the entire chapter! And it is just the perfect Word to pray (and give airtime to) in order to step into, “The Great Exchange”…
Oh, Father God,
Our heart explodes with praise to You! Now and forever may our hearts bow in worship to You, our King and our God!
Every day we will lift up our praise to your name with praises that will last throughout eternity.
Lord, You are great and worthy of the highest praise! For there is no end to the discovery of the greatness that surrounds You.
Generation after generation will declare more of your greatness and declare more of your glory.
Father, may your magnificent splendor and the miracles of your majesty become our constant meditation. Your awe-inspiring acts of power have everyone talking! We will tell people everywhere about your excellent greatness!
Yes, our hearts bubble over as we celebrate the fame of your marvelous beauty, bringing bliss to our hearts. We shout with ecstatic joy over your breakthrough for us.
You are kind and tenderhearted to those who don’t deserve it and very patient with people who fail you. Your love is like a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness. God, everyone sees your goodness, for your tender love is blended into everything you do.
Everything You have made will praise You, fulfilling its purpose.May we, your godly lovers, be found bowing before You alone rather than facts that cause worry. May we tell the world of the lavish splendor of your kingdom and preach about your limitless power!
We will demonstrate for all to see your miracles of might and reveal the glorious majesty of your kingdom.
You are the Lord who reigns over your never-ending kingdom through all the ages of time and eternity! You are faithful to fulfill every promise you’ve made. You manifest yourself as kindness in all you do.
You help us when we are fallen and lift us when we are bent beneath our load. You have captured our attention. You give what we hunger for at just the right time. When You open your generous hand, it’s full of blessings,satisfying the longings of every living thing. You are fair and righteous in everything you do, and your love is wrapped into all your works.
You draw near to those who call out to you, listening closely, especially when their hearts are true. We call out to You, Father. Every one of your godly lovers receives even more than what they ask for. For You hear what their hearts really long for and You bring them your saving strength.
God, we trust You. You watch carefully over us like a bodyguard! We praise you this day and may we ever remember to enter The Great Exchange with You, giving airtime only to your praise. Yes, we choose to praise the beautiful Lord of holiness from now through eternity! In Jesus’ name we pray, amen!
Bethel Music Moment: Great Are You Lord - Amanda Cook