A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a woman at church and casually asked her how she’d been. Her response, though simple and common, struck a chord with me. “Can’t complain,” she said smiling. I’ve heard this answer often so why did it haunt me for days this time around?
When I look at a painting very often I see the negative space first before the actual picture. In my bedroom hangs a large picture depicting a tropical scene. At the front of the scene is a boardwalk lined with palm trees leading out to the water. At night when the lights are out and I lay there staring at it trying to sleep, I don’t see the palm trees or the sky or the boardwalk. Instead, the palm fronds resemble the feathers of a fancy calligraphy pen which are the hair of a female figure hovering above the water. Quite frankly, it creeps me out. I literally have to sit there and concentrate on picking out the various aspects of the picture that I know are there but can’t see as clearly.
This is how life is for those of us who see everything through a half-empty glass. Never mind what’s left in the glass. All we see is what’s gone! One of the things that God really challenged me with last month was to pick out the good in my life despite my situation. It sounds elementary, but hey some of us are so simple-minded. What choice does He have but to start with the simple things? So with that in mind, I’m starting what I’m calling The Praise Project: 365 Days of Praise.
Here are the details:
1). Every week, starting with this one, you will get seven things I’m praising God for all on one day. Originally, I thought I would post one thing everyday, but for those of you who are subscribers. Getting a post from me everyday in your inbox, even if it is only one sentence, is akin to getting a notice from the local grocery store everyday about a different item that’s on sale . It’s great information, but for heaven’s sake, can’t they just put it all in one ad? Then, if you’re not interested in reading you can push delete once a week instead of every day of the week. You can thank me later.
2). While being thankful is great, praising God is better. What do I mean? “I’m thankful for…” concentrates more on the object of thanks rather than the One who provided that which you’re thankful for. “I’m praising God for…” forces me to recognize who it is that is the giver of all good gifts, and that He is good no matter what I’m going through. This is a big one for me as I tend to run down the rabbit trail leading to thoughts that God is out to get me and make my life miserable.
3). These posts will be short sweet and to the point and will not take the place of my usual (albeit sporadic) posts.
4). If you saved a dollar a day everyday for a year, you’d have $365. Not a lot of money, but you’d be shocked at what I could do with $365! In the same way, praising God for something different everyday for a year is like setting up a spiritual savings account. At the end, you can go back and see the faithfulness of God, the goodness of God and recognize just how rich you are because of what He has given you.
5). There will be no repeats. Some of the things I list will be big, some small. But they will all be different.
6). I really hope you will join me. Leave a comment of what you’re praising God for, or don’t. At least write it down and tell someone everyday what God has done. Let’s be like the Wave at a football game that ripples around the stadium in one beautiful synchronized movement. If ever we needed to be more in tune to the goodness of God and His active involvement in our lives, it’s now!
This week I’m praising God for:
- Time off from the daily grind
- A furnace that works
- Living close to the local hospital/ER department
- My daughter’s recovery from being so sick
- My job
- The freedom I have to share Christ on the internet via social media.
- A husband who is willing to drive me to and from work on his snow day because he “wants to be in charge of my safety.”
There you have it. Week one of The Praise Project. Look back over your week. What are you praising God for?
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise-the fruit of lips that confess his name” (Hebrews 13:15, NIV).