Recently Reader’s Digest carried an article entitled “17 Ways to Lift Your Spirits.” The subtitle was: “Small Changes to Put a Smile Back on Your Face.” It was a very practical article, with some points better than others. Here are some of them:
- Eat seafood twice a week.
- Play with a dog a few minutes every day.
- Take 600 milligrams of chromium picolinate.
- Eat a bowl of fortified breakfast cereal or take a multivitamin every day.
- Pull an all-nighter. (This requires a little explanation. The author claims that staying up all night once a month will lift depression by resetting your sleep clock.)
- Eat a whole wheat English muffin.
- Just bang on something.
- Sleep in a different bedroom.
- Break out of your routine today.
- Get a day of vigorous outdoor recreation.
Here’s a list that is more biblical, though we only have time for seven points rather than seventeen.
- Get Right with God (Isaiah 12:1-6). Declare Him as your Lord, confess all known sin, turn away from any besetting habits, and let Him have His way in your life. Worship Him. Praise is a great spirit-lifter.
- Get Moving (Exodus 14:15). When we feel discouragement coming over us, it often paralyses us and results in procrastination. Sometimes the best thing we can do is something.
- Get a Promise (Acts 27:21-25). Missionary E. Stanley Jones nearly collapsed from exhaustion and anxiety about a particular matter until he sensed the Lord saying to him: If you will turn that over to Me and not worry about it, I will take care of it. “Lord,” Jones said, “I close the bargain right here.” At that moment, E. Stanley Jones later said, a great peace settled into his heart and pervaded his whole being. “I knew it was done! Abundant Life had taken possession of me. I was so lifted up that I scarcely touched the road as I quietly walked home that night. Every inch was holy ground. For days after that I hardly knew I had a body. I went through the days, working far into the night, and came down to bedtime wondering why in the world I should ever go to bed at all, for there was not the slightest trace of tiredness of any kind. I seemed possessed by life and peace and rest–by Christ Himself.” Jones labored on for decades, serving over forty years in India, preaching around the world–sometimes three times a day, writing a dozen books, and becoming one of the most famous missionaries of his generation.
- Get Away (Acts 20:13). In an interesting verse, given without commentary from Luke, Paul evidently sent his companions by ship on a short trip as he went overland by himself, presumably to have some time by himself. Taking a break for others is mental therapy.
- Get Organized (Proverbs 31:15, the Message). My friend Reese Kauffman was a successful Indianapolis industrialist whose factories produced products for America’s leading companies. He told me that in the days before laptops and computers he regularly visited an IBM building in Lexington, Kentucky, and he always noticed that every desk in the entire place was clear and neat. Most of the desks had only a single sheet of paper or folder. Asking about it, he was told that the corporate executive had a rule. Each desk had to stay absolutely clear except for the specific project the person was currently working on. That way the person’s attention would be focused purely on the work at hand, and each task would be processed or finished before another begun. It proved to be a successful strategy for the company. It’s hard to work in a mess, and it’s hard to keep our spirits up when our world is disorganized.
- Get Positive (Philippians 4:4). John Maxwell talks two buckets. One was an optimist, and the other was a pessimist. “There has never been a life as disappointing as mine,” said the empty bucket as it approached the well. “I always come away from the well full, but I return empty time after time.” The full bucket said at it life the well: “There has never been such a happy life as mine. I never come to the well empty, but what I go away again full.”
- Get Lost in God’s Will (Philippians 3:12-15). I read an article by a woman Ontario, Canada wrote. On Good Friday one year, Lois Neely was struggling with the blues. She had expected to spend Easter with friends in Florida, but a serious illness had cancelled her plans. She was bitterly disappointed, and as she sat gazing through a frosted window at the cold, barren landscape, her thoughts went to the swimming pool and tall palm trees she was missing. Several problems confronted her, and she was worried and weary. Finally she prayed. “Lord,” she said, “if you could gladden the hearts of those sad followers who had been walking to Emmaus, You are able to do it for me.” Remembering that the Emmaus disciples in Luke 24 had invited a friend to dinner, she decided to do the same. The friend came, and the two women had a lovely time. Then, remembering the women who visited the tomb on Easter Sunday, she called the chaplain in her retirement center and the two began planning an Easter Sunrise service. To her surprise, forty seniors showed up; and the whole group seemed energized to sing, Christ the Lord is Risen Today, Alleluia! That evening, Lois wrote in her diary, “A most excellent day!” –which is, after all, what Easter is supposed to be!
Conclusion: The Bible says, “The cheerful heart has a continual feast” (Proverbs 15:15). As we enjoy another Springtime, let’s get some exercise by lifting our spirits.