How Can I Rejoice When I Don't Feel Like Rejoicing??

Have you ever heard a message like this:  "Always praise God and lift Him up, even when in the worst circumstances and problems and negative feelings.  Just keep praising God, and that that will help us focus on the truth." I have, and I think it's a good message, but...

But what do we do when we honestly don't feel like praising?  what do we do when life is pressing in so much we can barely lift our head up and survive till the next moment?  I think in my own life, I have felt shamed for the times I haven't prayed through or praised down the glory or been always rejoicing even in the midst of my problems.  I have felt guilty for not being a better Christian in those times, not being as triumphant and happy and overcoming as I was "supposed" to be.  I have felt I failed.  And yet, God says we're all winners to Him because of Jesus!   And He isn't expecting perfect behavior out of us, really has NO expectations of us, because He knows that without Him, we can do NOTHING anyway!  He always sees us perfect, because He made us perfect through the Son's work for us!  So we are free to be ourselves, with our messes and mistakes, and just let it al hang out with God!  He can handle it and won't shame us!  So we can be 'real' with Him in those hard times when we just don't feel like shouting 'hallelujah", you know?

I've found in my life that I can just admit that to God, that I don't feel like rejoicing but instead feel fearful or bitter and rotten or doubful or worried or hurt or alone (or whatever the feeling is), and I can have an honest heart to heart with Him.  We don't have to come up with anything alone on our own.  We can ask Him to fill us and take over.  His love and joy will start filling us up.  He will uplift us!  "When my cares overwhelm me, YOUR COMFORTS DELIGHT MY SOUL!"  (Ps 94) And then suddenly we feel ike praising! 

God is always accepting us.  We can bring to Him our honest thoughts and feelings.  He will never reject us.  All our feelings are valid before Him.  He truly understands us and our hurts and how we feel!  He doesn't ever minimize our feelings or wounds or say we 'shouldn't' feel or hurt!  He died for those hurts and pains, they were very real when He bore them on the cross for us!!  He's taken them away and doesn't want us to bear them a minute!  They are illegal, really!  NO negative feeling is meant to be on us!  We have been made whole and given joy and peace, and that's our rightful inheritance that He wants us to experience always.  And He will make us to experience it!  Not us, not by our work but His!

So anyway, I think these awful feelings we can feel are very real and painful yet illegal, things the enemy tries to put on us to make us miserable!  A lot of times the feelings can even be lying feelings from the enemy, trying to make us feel hurt, down, despairing, etc.  Just ask God to fill you with His Spirit and wash all that away, and tell them to go in Jesus' name!  I have had this happen to me, where I suddenly start feeling very depressed and start crying about something, and then I realize from an awareness through the Spirit, that this feeling is a lying feeling from Satan, and when I ask the Spirit to fill me and/or just send the feeling away in Jesus' name, it is just gone and I feel okay again!

Sometimes too He does amazing healing within us, bringing His healing to bear on our wounds.  I find that a lot of times, when I just share my feelings, say of anger at a friend, He shows me the deeper wound behind it all that may be triggering the anger - for example, it may be fear that my friend will reject me.  And He just soothes me with His love and shows me in a new way that HE won't ever reject me!  He just fills me with His presence and love and puts His balm of LOVE on that wound!  It isn't a painful experience but a renewing and joyful one!  I love how bringing things to light with God brings healing, not shame, pain, or even fear of being exposed or vulnerable.  We are safe with Him. He won't ever lash out at us or hurt us.  He will heal us with His love!  He won't break the wounded reed or blow out the flickering candlelight!  In His presence is fullness of joy and eternal pleasures, the very bliss of heaven blooming within our hearts!  That's how His healing touch is when He touches our wounds places - like Springtime touching the barren ground and warming it, making life spring up in beauty and brightness!

I am learning that God can always DO something, and He wants to bless us every second!  He is always ready to help and pull us up!  When our feet start slipping, He upholds us! (Ps 94)!  He is always pulling us back to look at the truth!  And our hearts want to look at the truth and they do believe the truth!  So what battle?  God already won and we just enforce the victory, by HIS power and by HIS Spirit - not be OUR might or OUR power!  It's all Him! All glory to Him!  He say that He always carries us along in triumph!  Wow, that's my Dad!

(You know, after reading through this I want to make sure that anyone reading who feels wounded, tired, hurting and defeated would not read this and feel worse, perhaps thinking, "I've tried to give it to God, tried to ask Him to fill me, tried to just rest, but I STILL have the depression, etc."  I do not want anyone to ever read this blog and come away feeling worse.  Jesus never puts burdens, shame, guilt or stress on people - He always takes them off, and I want Him to do that through my words for any reader!  So I hope noone feels that way.  I know depression is terrible, having suffered with it for a solid year after my daughter was born with her complicated heart defect.  Some days I wished I were just already in heaven, I just didn't think I could live another day with the worry and fear.  I was never able to shake it and felt like a failure.  It slowly lifted without me doing a thing, all by God's grace.  And years later, He gave me an encounter with His presence, and I suddenly realized that all along He had been there for me, with me, going through it all, crying with me, through the dark times.  He had never forsaken me, He had carried me and kept anything worse from happening!  He had continually accepted and loved me, that had never wavered no matter how oblivious I was to His care, no matter how ashamed I felt of being so worried and 'untrusting' and afraid rather than 'faith-filled."  HIS faith and trust had carried me through, not my own.  So I just send out my love to anyone going through a dark time, especially here at Christmas, and I just bless you with His love and presence in Jesus' name.  You do not have to do anything - nothing is required of you!  Jesus has taken over your case, Jesus the Great Physician is moving in your life.  No matter what, He holds you in His hands and accepts and protects you.  He has never failed.  He never will!  His love won't fail you now...With love to all, Sparrow..)
May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14