I lie down on the couch. It’s Sunday afternoon, the younger kids are napping, the older two are playing outside. There is a slight chill in the air, so I pull up a blanket and settle in to read. I’m tired. My eyelids get heavy and I only keep reading because I know the longer I push myself into the words on the page, the better chance I will have to fall asleep. It works. Short but sweet, a little bit of sleep is granted.
I have a chronic inability to nap. Regardless of the amount of hours I didn’t get to sleep in a given week, sleep almost always escapes me when I try to take a nap. I have learned, though. If I know my body needs sleep, I need only to open a book and it won’t be long before I’ll be dreaming.
Maybe it’s the same with my soul? I don’t feel like blessing God when I’m frustrated, angry, confused and broken by what’s happening in my world. I know that I’m supposed to but it just won’t come.
So, I force myself to ponder who God is.
I make a list of the things I believe and know about God, and before long I have a page of reasons–beyond the scope of myself or my problems– to bless God.
Maybe lists aren’t your thing? Take a walk. Nature is full of the Divine. His hand is in each flower, each leaf, each tree. The heavens declare His glory.
“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made” (Romans 1:19-20)
I can’t stare at a leaf very long, especially at this time of year, without thoughts of God as Creator flooding my mind. Take those thoughts back to Him and bless Him.
We took a walk on Sunday by the water. We saw schools of fish, some being eaten by others. A female jellyfish was giving birth, leaving a trail of baby jellyfish all along the rocky shore. Birds swooped down, crashing into the water to scoop up the fish they had seen from way above the water.
“Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them” (Psalm 69:34)
A few minutes looking out over the water and my soul is turned to a Creative, all-knowing God who made the waters and the earth and called them good.
Or maybe a song of praise will give your soul the boost it needs. Turn on Pandora (my favorite stations are Chris Tomlin, Sovereign Grace, and Phil Wickham) and allow the truths that have been put to music flood your heart and uplift your soul. Sometimes I sit at the piano and play through my favorite songs. In recent years I have the added composition of eight little hands joining me, but it still turns my soul God-ward.
One of my favorite songs is 10,000 Reasons, by Matt Redman. Maybe you know this one? He wrote the words to this song based on Psalm 103; the chorus goes like this:
“Bless the Lord, oh my soul
oh my soul.
Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before,
Oh, my soul! I’ll worship your holy name.”
In an interview about this song Matt Redman said:
“The point behind the song is this…If you wake up one morning and you cannot think of a reason to bring God some kind of offering of thanks or praise, then you can be sure there’s something wrong at your end of the pipeline, and not his. We live beneath an unceasing flow of goodness, kindness, greatness, and holiness, and every day we’re given reason after reason why Jesus is so completely and utterly worthy of our highest and best devotion.” (source)
God hasn’t done anything wrong. He can’t and He won’t because it’s not in His nature. So, my lack of blessing Him is because of me.
10,000 is just a number. There are infinite reasons for which I should bless the Lord. No hardship, suffering, discomfort, irritation, shattered dream, or bad day can take away the reasons for praising God because He never changes. I might not like what He’s allowing, but He is still Creator, I the created. And as such, I must bless Him.
Just like I’ve learned what needs to happen in order for my body to succumb to the fatigue it feels, I’ve learned what my soul needs in order to well up with blessing to God.
So, for the days when I don’t feel like blessing the Lord, I ponder, I sit, I study, I sing. By engaging my mind in the beauty of the Lord my soul is able to follow with blessing His name.