January is known as the month to reorganize (as you can see by the covers of many women’s magazines). For some reason, this is just what we want to do. All of us! It’s time to clean out the closets, toss out the old and replace it with the new. It’s time to turn over the new leaf, set some new goals, start some new projects, and get a fresh start. There is something so promising about a new year. We feel hopeful and eager to try again, this time with better results.
But January can also be a time when some can start to feel a little down and discouraged. This may come from the big let down after the excitement of Christmas (or by the extra pounds from the fudge). If you have allowed yourself to become too elevated with all the excitement, your body and soul have to make an adjustment to get you back to normal. But sometimes an over-correction can send your spirits into the tank.
Or, if you don’t live in a sunny climate, you may feel a little low or cooped up because of the wet, gray weather. A little case of the blues can be brought on by many different bugs, kind of like the common cold. The point is not to track down the source. The point here is to find the cure and apply it. Nobody wants to drag around with a case of the post-Christmas doldrums, whatever the cause. It’s like having a spiritual case of the runny nose.
And you may think I am jumping the gun; after all, you may not have even taken the tree down yet. But an ounce of prevention is a blessed thing. So that’s why I’m hitting the topic of January blues while it is still 2008.
The sursum corda is an ancient element of Christian worship (and no, I haven’t changed the subject). At our worship service, the minister says to the congregation, “Lift up your hearts.” And we reply, “We lift them up to the Lord.” It struck me today when we were saying these words that we are doing the lifting. We are not sitting and waiting for the Lord to lift us up. In other words, we have a responsibility to lift up our hearts.
Psalm 25:1 says, “To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.”
Psalm 86:4-5 says, “Rejoice the soul of Your servant, for to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.”
Psalm 143:8 says, “Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You.”
And Lamentations 3:41: “Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven.”
My point here is that we do not sit and wait for God to suddenly cheer us up, to lift our souls and our hearts for us. We are to act in faith and lift them up to the Lord. We lift our hands, our hearts, our souls. And in doing so we are presenting our whole selves to our King. He is abundant in mercy, and mercy is just what we need.
When you feel tempted to be blue or lonely or sad or discouraged, lift up your heart to the Lord. Present yourself to Him. Worship the Lord your God. And then you can walk through the month by faith, with rejoicing in your heart, saturated with His mercy. So don’t panic when you feel tempted. Seize the opportunity to lift up your heart. Do this by faith, not because you feel like it. This is mortifying the flesh, because there is a certain aspect of feeling blue that we like (otherwise, we would not do it).
There. Put that in your medicine cabinet.