Sometimes my life feels like an emotional roller coaster. The climb to the top is slow, the time at the peak is brief, and the descend to the bottom makes me scream and hold on for dear life. When the ride is over, I am shaken, breathless, and wobbly.

This past weekend was a perfect example of the unstable scenario. I climbed to the top (click-click-click) preparing original material to present as the hostess of a spring event. I sat for a moment at the top looking out over an at-capacity group that had registered to attend. Then I felt my stomach drop as the necessary shelter-in-place order pulled me down from that high place where the view was so gorgeous.

As I considered my options, I had low moments of grief, anger, and fear. I also had high moments of calm, optimism, and trust. I could feel in my spirit that the Lord wasn’t finished with the event yet. He encouraged me to lean into the work we had already done together, remember that the unfolding of social distancing guidelines didn’t take Him by surprise, and move forward in faith to offer the experience virtually.

Even during the weekend, I had roller coaster moments. After the first evening, I sat in a dark bathroom crying on the phone to a friend. I confessed wishing I hadn’t offered the event and taken the risk to share creative content that could potentially be rejected. I told her I didn’t want to do the next day. And with the next breath, I also admitted that I knew I was exactly where the Lord wanted me to be. Whoosh.

The following day, I began to see that what we were studying was opening hearts and minds. I watched people connect with Jesus and each other. We began to find life application in words of scripture through a fresh, new way of studying. It felt exciting and encouraging. Click. Click. Click.

When the weekend was over and I sat in my bedroom listening to worship music and offering the experience back to God, I felt Him speak to my heart with an important reminder. He called me to set my face towards His love and remember that He was pleased with me. For my work, obedience, and willingness to battle the demon of emotions that threaten to sweep me away, He was pleased. I had fought the good fight and already won, regardless of any outcome or response. Moments like that of connecting with God and feeling His pleasure – top of the highest peak.

Truth? I love roller coasters. I love it when someone walks by to verify that my lap bar is securely locked. It means it’s going to be a wild ride. I love the clicks of the slow climb. The moment at the top is spectacular. I love the twists, turns, and the wind in my face. I even love knowing that I’m not the one in control. I love it all – even the second-guessing my sanity as I wait for the train to take off.

We are told in the Bible to have an attitude of praise. In all things, we are to praise the Lord. In the work. In the unexpected rolls. In the steep drops that feel like they’ll never end. We can raise our arms in surrender and shout His praises. Because when the ride is over, we will be stronger for having been brave enough to board.

Peace.

This post is chapter 6/6 on Spiritual Habits (Praise)