We can rejoice all ways

Anxiety, in the greek: to be in pieces; coming apart. Do you every have times in your life when it feels like things are coming apart – or when it feels like something or everything is in pieces and something or everything is falling apart?

“We are broken people in a broken world, looking for the Creator to restore.” Walt Mueller
 
1 Thessalonians 5:16 “rejoice always”

When we’re stuck in anxious thoughts or in the midst of a significant challenge, likely the last thing we want to do, and the most difficult thing to do is – rejoice.

What does “rejoice” actually mean? The Greek definition of that word is: to be cheerful; calmly happy or well-off; as a salutation, be well: farewell, be glad, God speed, greeting, rejoice.

Nehemiah 8:10 “…for the joy of the Lord is your strength”

Ways to Rejoice

  1. Read the Word “God’s Word is the only thing that can put human anxiety into perspective” Walt Mueller
  2. Meditate upon the teachings of Jesus – Go over the teachings of Jesus again and again
  3. Spend time with other Christians
  4. Lead others to Christ, for they will be a great source of joy – especially in the midst of tough times
  5. Sing praises to God
Psalm 100:1-5: Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

“The amygdala of the limbic system is the area typically linked to negative emotions such as fear and is normally inhibited when listening to music.” (Livestrong)

And I would add that positive and upbeat music will have a great impact. And music that is Christ-centered and helps us to rejoice in the Lord is likely the best medicine. 

Fear is normally inhibited when listening to music – Maybe this is why music has such a unique role in sports. When players are in the dressing room, they listen to music. When they’re on the court for pre-game – they listen to music. I’m a bit of a snowboarder and when I think of the Olympics, I’ve always found it cool and interesting that, just before they head down the pipe, they take a moment to get their song on and then they head out the shoot. There are probably a variety of reasons they do this, but whether they realize it or not – music inhibits fear.

As Christians, we’ve know this for thousands of years! And now more than every, we have instant access to high quality Christian music! What are you listening to? Maybe it’s time for a new playlist or app.

When fear starts to creep into your life – turn up the music, sing and rejoice. 

When you’re in your car – you can sing God’s praises. When you’re getting supper ready, when you’re at work, when you’re going for a walk, when your relaxing – we can sing praises to God – you don’t even know how to play a piano or guitar! So when we gather to worship together – we sing God’s praises. We were created to worship!

Even if you find yourself being a prison singer – you know, behind a few bars – you can sing to God!

Fear: a distressing emotion aroused by impeding danger, evil, pain, etc. whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.

Anxiety: distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune

The difference between fear and anxiety is fear is derived from danger or a threat and it can lead to anxiety – distress or uneasiness of the mind. 

Happiness and fear are both processed in the amygdala – fear is processed quicker and bypasses the prefrontal cortex. But happiness, thankfulness, gratefulness, joy, love are all processed in the amygdala and can overpower fear – it just takes a few hundred milliseconds to process.

While I was studying this on Thursday, I was listening to K-Love Christian Radio and then I heard their tag line “If you’re feeling stressed – Positive Encouraging K-Love” That statement is actually scientifically true!
 
This post is part I of a sermon called Rejoice, Pray & Give Thanks