What kills trust? Perhaps there are many things but the one that came to mind today is this —- rehearsing the negative. As one blogger put it – meditating on the mess.
Recently, Dave and I spent a few weeks apart. He was in Florida for one week but then returned to Indiana alone while I finished things up in Florida. He amazed me learning to cook for himself, do laundry and keeping the house tidy.
When I walked into the house after six weeks I was pleasantly surprised. The dishes were washed, the counters wiped, no shoes accumulated in front of the recliner. Win, win, win!!
Upon closer inspection over the next few days, I found myself noticing the “mess,” the things that were not finished or cleaned up. It was easy to point out these areas of mess to him, except that didn’t set well with him and it didn’t honor all the ways he worked to maintain a tidy space.
The danger is when I focus on the “mess.” I may not say it out loud, but if I rehearse it in my mind, I’m still focusing on the mess. When I focus on the mess, I lose confidence in him.
All analogies fall apart at some point. Some sooner than others. When I focus on the mess of my life, God doesn’t lose confidence in me. I lose my trust in him. As I rehearse all the ways life disappoints me, I remain in a state of disappointment. When I turn that around and magnify all that is good and right around me, those areas begin to explode and the mess doesn’t hold me captive in the same way.
There is a simple song emphasizing the importance of praise to chase away a spirit of despair. It was written by David Ingles and popularized in the charismatic movement in the 70’s and 80’s. It seems to me it is based loosely on Isaiah 61.
1The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.Isaiah 61:1-3
Later, Robin Mark from Belfast, Ireland. popularized a similar song. If despair is your companion, I invite you to take a trip down memory lane and listen to the song below. It might not be sung in our churches today, but it has a timeless message for anyone willing to listen!