1 Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. 2 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds. 3 Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the LORD. 4 Search for the LORD and for his strength; continually seek him. 5 Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given, 6 you children of his servant Abraham, you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones.
Psalm 105:1-6 (NLT)

We can never be reminded enough to give thanks to the Lord, proclaim His greatness, tell of His wonderful deeds, and seek Him. The world bombards me with information to process and issues to deal with. It holds innumerable bright shiny objects that catch my attention. It is so easy to go for hours without giving thanks, proclaiming God’s greatness, telling of His wonderful deeds or seeking Him. I don’t think it’s meant to be that way!

Lord, let all that comes into my life be a catalyst for turning to You!

I want to turn to Him when I’m frustrated. I want to turn to Him when I’m rejoicing. I want to turn to Him when I experience sadness. I want to turn to Him when I experience love.

How do you do it? What prompts you to turn to the Lord? I’ve found two mainstays that keep me returning to Him: habit and triggers.

Habits are not bad things – when the habits are good ones. Aristotle said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” I want to be in the habit of turning to God in all circumstances. To develop and strengthen the habit, I must repeat it regularly. That’s where triggers come in.

My computer hasn’t been acting quite like as peppy as it should lately. Today I growled at it as I took the monitor in both hands and mimicked shaking it! Just about that time, one of my very favorite worship songs played in my Pandora playlist. (Thank You, Lord.) I immediately went from frustration to worship. As I type the previous sentence, I first typed “I immediately transitioned from frustration to worship.” Nope. There was no transition. I simply let go of my monitor and raised my arms in praise (while in the back of my mind wondering what my employee must be thinking of such inconsistent behavior). Needless to say, worship music is a trigger that causes me to praise God.

What makes you turn to praise? It might be a picture, a person, a piece of jewelry, a sound, a knickknack, a sensation – anything that breaks you free from focusing on the world’s agenda to focusing on God’s.

Let’s brainstorm some unlikely triggers. It might take a little work for you to develop these circumstances into triggers that cause you to praise God, but I know it can be done.

  • Your child – especially when he or she is coming to you with the hundredth challenge of the day. Can you learn to thank God for your child – and the wonderful things God’s done in your life through that child – each time he or she comes to you throughout the day? What kind of difference would that make in your life? Even more important, what kind of difference would that make in your child’s life?
  • Pain – I shattered my elbow about twenty years ago. God did a miraculous work putting it back together. Yet after working on a computer an average of ten hours a day since the accident, I’ve begun to have pain more regularly than I’d like. Can I learn to remember God’s tremendous goodness to me each time my elbow twinges? I believe I can. I just need a little reminding from time to time.
  • Frustration – I am guessing that your weeks are filled with regular frustration – situations that repeat themselves daily or weekly that cause you frustration. Can you find the good in the situation and praise God for it? As I age, there are a number of things that frustrate me that never hit my radar when I was younger. Either they didn’t exist or they were so minor they didn’t bother me (or dare I say that my tolerance of some things seems to diminish as I grown older). I try to turn those things around. My husband and I frequently look at each other and say “we’re achieving our lifelong goal!” What we’re referring to is that when we were young we regularly told one another that we wanted to grow old together. Lord – You have done great things in my life. Thank you for allowing me to grow old with my husband. (OK, let me set the record straight…I’m not old yet…but I sure seem to be getting there faster than I used to!)
  • BillsThank You Lord, that you have provided in my life so faithfully. Business has had its ups and downs, but You have been faithful. The various bills we have are a direct result of God providing abundantly. My mortgage payment comes from owning a home (OK, buying a home – I don’t own it yet). Having electric bills means I have electricity. My telephone bills are the result of living in a time when I can immediately contact loved ones and friends.
  • Taxes – While we don’t enjoy paying taxes, Phil and I have always said that paying more in taxes means we made more money last year. Thank You, Lord. And thank You for the protection and services that are provided to me by my government.
  • Interruptions – Are you convinced the Lord is in control of your day? He has allowed the interruption – what do you think His purpose for it is? I can’t answer that question, but I do know it isn’t to cause us to grumble and complain!

These may be unlikely triggers, but when we learn to use them as reminders to praise God – to tell ourselves and others about His wonderful deeds, to sing His praises and exult His Name – our lives will be transformed and our God will be honored. A Psalm comes to mind:

 Teach us how short our lives really are so that we may be wise.
Psalm 90:12 (NCV)

Our lives are too short to let the frustrations of life pull us from the goodness of God and the life He’s given us. What negative triggers are you going to turn into praise this week?

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