A sour, depressed or dejected Christian is a sorry recommendation for the Christian faith. But many of us–myself often included–go around with dropping spirits and sour faces. We falter under the burdens of life. There has never been so many of us so depressed in all of history. Psychologist Martin Seligman recently wrote, “Americans, on average, may be more depressed, and at a younger age, than they have ever been: (We have) unprecedented psychological misery in a nation with unprecedented prosperity and material well-being.”
The reason, of course, is that despite our prosperity and material well-being, life is hard, and sometimes it just seems to get to us. Well, today I would like to speak on the subject, “Ten Ways to Lift Your Spirits.”
1. Rejoice And Be Glad
Sometimes we feel like we are similarly besieged; it seems our enemies and our problems are surrounding us like bees, like a swarm of wasps. But here in Psalm 118 the Lord had answered prayer and had intervened to deliver this nation and this head of state. The author of this Psalm wrote: I called on the Lord in distress; the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? And in that spirit he tells his people, “This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Do you have a lot of problems right now? Are you surrounded by disappointments like a man in the midst of a swarm of bees? Then you are just where this Psalmist was. But Christ is the victor and faith is the victory; therefore we can say, “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
2. Accentuate the Positive–Count Your Blessings
Second, accentuate the positive and count your blessings. I’m thinking now of Psalm 103. Here, again, was a man who was struggling to keep his head above water, and he was greatly tempted to give way to the blues. But he decided to count his blessings and to accentuate the positive. He said, Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits; who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
3. Get Proper Rest
Third, we can’t keep our spirits up emotionally if we become run down physically. There is a remarkable interplay between our spiritual, our emotional, and our physical selves. One of the reasons the disciples fell apart and deserted our Lord when he was crucified on Good Friday is that they were utterly exhausted. The arrest of Jesus came at the end of an exhausting week, and at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, they had been going for more than 24 hours without sleep. Sometimes even a brief nap can help us.
4. Do Something For Someone Else
Fourth, do something for someone else. Recently I read an article that Lois Neely of Ontario, Canada wrote. On Good Friday one year not long ago, Lois was struggling with the blues. She had expected to spend Easter with friends in Florida, but a serious illness had cancelled her plans. She was bitterly disappointed, and as she sat gazing through a frosted window at the cold, barren landscape, her thoughts went to the swimming pool and tall palm trees she was missing. Several problems confronted her, and she was worried and weary.
Finally she prayed. “Lord,” she said, “if you could gladden the hearts of those sad followers who had been walking to Emmaus, You are able to do it for me.”
Remembering that the Emmaus disciples in Luke 24 had invited a friend to dinner, she decided to do the same. The friend came, and the two women had a lovely time. Then, remembering the women who visited the tomb on Easter Sunday, she called the chaplain in her retirement center and the two began planning an Easter Sunrise service.
To her surprise, forty seniors showed up; and the whole group seemed energized to sing, Christ the Lord is Risen Today, Alleluia! That evening, Lois wrote in her diary, “A most excellent day!” –which is, after all, what Easter is supposed to be!
What made the difference? Instead of sitting around feeling sorry for herself, she decided to be proactive and do some things for others.
5. Listen To Happy Music
Music is a very emotional medium, and it is hard to keep your spirits down when you listen to bright and happy music.
When you look at the characters in the Bible, you notice that they generally kept themselves in good physical shape. Consider Elijah’s running, Jonathan’s archery, Samson’s body-building, and Daniel’s healthy diet. Apparently Christ Himself had a strong physique, able to walk long distances, work long hours, and bear great pain. Paul, too, was fit enough to tread water a day and a night in the deep. Doctors tell us that when we walk or run or exert our bodies in some way, it releases endorphins which are nature’s pep pill. Automatically we begin to feel better, not just physically but emotionally. Some people think that exercise tires them out, but our fatigue is more often caused by nervous strain than by physical exertion. Exercise provides a way of relieving our bodies of that daily stress and improving their ability to deliver and utilize oxygen.
7. Make Up Your Mind To Be Happy And Enthusiastic
Make up your mind to be happy and enthusiastic. Abraham Lincoln was absolutely right when he said, “A man is about as happy as he makes up his mind to be.”
8. Take A Little Break and Do Something For Yourself
Take a little break every day and do something your yourself. It might be a hot bath or a cold glass of tea. It might be a walk in the park or a pretzel in the mall. But treat yourself to a little break every day, and learn to enjoy being with yourself. Cultivate your own companionship.
9. Claim the Promises of God
Get into the Scripture every day and claim the promises of God remembering that if we abide in Him, we can ask what we will in His name. All promises are obtainable to everyone who lives according to God’s will.
10. Cast Your Burden on the Lord
Learn the art of casting your burdens on the Lord. Jesus clearly stated that He cares for us and wants us to cast all our cares upon Him. This was a direct invitation to lessen the load that we carry each day. We have to learn to live in the glow of the sufficiency of Christ Himself, never forgetting the Lord’s promise, “If you turn that over to Me and not worry about it, I will take care of it” What an awesome God we serve!
In conclusion, remember to:
- Rejoice in the Lord
- Accentuate the Positive and Count Your Blessings
- Get Proper Rest
- Do Something for Someone Else
- Listen to Happy Music
- Make up your Mind to be Happy & Enthusiastic
- Take a Break and Do a Little Something for Yourself Every Day
- Claim the Promises of God
- And Cast your Burden on Lord
— it will become overwhelmingly possible for you to awaken each morning and say: This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.
Inspired in part by Robert J. Morgan (“Copyright 1999 The Donelson Fellowship.”)
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