Tuesday, February 26, 2013

how to get rid of that heavy burden in your chest

Over the last few months I do believe I have been through every emotion known to man. And you know I never exaggerate. :) But it really did feel like it.

Normal life, conflict, exhaustion, sadness, joy, anger, love- it seems like you feel everything more when hormones are involved. Or it could just be that I'm a woman, and I always have. :)

Through it all, God has been so good to me.

When I had been feeling down or overwhelmed or sad, or had a desire to dwell on something that I shouldn't over the past few months, He taught me something that helped me leave those feelings behind and that has without fail, restored my joy.

Every time I think about a situation or want to dwell on something that makes sad, angry, or upset, I ask Him to help me, and here's what He tells my heart:

Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Fix your eyes on me, He says to my spirit. Set your mind on what is good- and the only thing that is truly good is Jesus Himself.

Hebrews 12:1-2
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Holy, righteous, worthy of praise, full of love and mercy, redeeming the lost and making them new.

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.

When I ask Him for help, my weighed-down spirit starts to praise Him- I start thinking about who He is, and thanking Him for what He has done. I start focusing on Jesus and giving Him praise, and the burden in my heart really starts to disappear.

Before I know it, I can only dwell on the goodness of God, and He has taken my heart's burden away.

It's completely unexplainable. It's supernatural- no amount of positive thinking will do what this does.

When I fix my eyes on Jesus, the Holy Spirit overcomes my worry, my anxiety, my anger, my sadness by setting my heart on my one true Hope. He reminds me of who is in charge of it all.

No weight in my heart or heavy burden compares to the one who is King over all creation.

There is no hope apart from Him. When I praise Him, I remember my hope is in him alone, and it gives me joy again.

Psalm 42:
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.

I remember one week a couple of months ago, when I was at the peak of the worst part of my sickness that God had been showing me this for the first time. I remember feeling like I had nothing left to give, and I told Him that.

And then God, in my weakness, took me and helped me put my eyes on Him instead of how I felt, or how much I wanted to give up. "Set your eyes on Jesus" became the phrase I couldn't get out of my head, in a good way. I had to repeat it over and over, and it gave my thoughts the right direction every time.

That very Sunday after that week, my friend Ashlee was leading worship with her husband, and the Holy Spirit led her to share what was on her heart about the song we were singing. And oh, I couldn't stop crying when I heard it.

She told us that when she was feeling down the week before, the Lord had reminded her soul to bless Him. She shared that He had showed her that it was not just a phrase that we worship or sing praise to, but a command for our soul to bless the name of the Lord, no matter what we felt like.

Psalm 103
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Oh, how I LOVE the Holy Spirit! The tears came overflowing, because it was the very thing God had been saying to me when I was feeling down that same week. She said it so perfectly, and it was so encouraging to my heart. Our God is so ALIVE!! He is moving and working!! He speaks to us in so many ways!!!

Bless the Lord, O my soul. 

Look on what the Lord has done.

Set your eyes on me, He says. I will make your burdens light.

Matthew 11
 28Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Whatever your weight may be today, I want to encourage you- give it to Jesus by looking to Him for help.

Set your eyes on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Just praise Him.

He already knows your burden, and He will make it light.

Bless Him, even when you don't feel like it. When you want to dwell on that one thing that makes your chest heavy- start to praise the Lord for who He is and what He has done.

He is the Lord God Almighty who created the very air you are breathing right now.

What can He not do with your situation?

Praise Him, even when you are sad or hurt or just plain weary. Like Ashlee said so well- command your soul to bless Him.

Pray His Word over and over if you don't know what to say. David said it so well for us:

Psalm 34:
1 I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
let the humble hear and be glad.
3 Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
9 Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.

Oh, sweet friend, taste and see that the Lord is good- blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.

It's a promise. And it's true. I can tell you.

Look to Him, and He will give you rest from these troubles and make your burdens light.

Oh, how He is merciful to our stubborn hearts! He helps us in our weakness.

Psalm 28
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.

Bless the Lord, oh my soul. Trust in Him, my strength and my shield.

He is good, and His mercy endures forever.

Will you fix your eyes and your hope on Him today?

With song, you can give thanks to Him like we did in worship on that Sunday. Did you guess what we were singing? :)

How have you seen Him working in your heart to lift your anxiety? 

Do you have a story of His goodness to you when you felt the heavy weight removed? Please share! :D You might encourage someone else's heart today!

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