Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Spirit of Heaviness vs. the Garment of Praise

"Put on the garment of praise
for the spirit of heaviness"

It's a praise and worship song often sung in our church, but that "spirit of heaviness" part has never made sense to me .. should it be heaven-ness, or what? This morning, I (who HATE to admit not knowing anything) finally asked my friend, sitting next to me, what she thought it meant. She kindly explained that it's like having a heavy heart .. a spirit of heavy-ness.

Oh. That's very different. Now I get it. Exchange praise for heavy-heartedness. As the Bible promises, and Rebecca St. James (I think and hope!) sang, God gives us beauty for ashes, gladness for mourning and peace for despair.

So this song encourages me to replace this spirit of heaviness with a garment of praise. Sounds like a fair trade. For lately, the spirit of heaviness has been with me. It's not a familiar spirit, or state of being. I don't like it. I don't intend to keep it. So I'm purposing in my heart .. when I recognize that dreaded spirit, I will trade it for a garment of praise. Even though I don't FEEL like praising at that time, I will be obedient, and I will cloak myself in praising God. Though my inside may feel heavy with dread, my outside will be covered in praise. It will squeeze out dread, and provide a protective covering that will keep heaviness away.

Today I read my friend Nana's post (see There's so much unknown in many lives today. Too many who sense a hand reaching for the edge of the rug on which we're standing, knowing that a yank on that rug is heading our way, but not knowing where we'll land .. will we jump in time? tumble? skid? bruise? sprain? break? land on another soft rug? hop to our feet and rejoice at our new location?

Who knows? Like Nana, I know this: God knows. As Jeremiah said, and another of my favorite worship songs paraphrases: "I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, declares the Lord.Plans to prosper you, plans never to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future, these are the plans I have for you."

Lord, my life is in your hand. The hand that yanks my rug cannot harm me, no matter what the intent. For Your Hand is all-mighty, all-powerful. You will catch me and place me where I belong.

I pray as Jabez did: "Lord, would that you would bless me indeed, and expand my boundaries. Put your hand upon me, and keep me from evil, so that I would not cause pain."

I think my boundaries are changing. I'm ready. As long as I follow God's Will, I will succeed.


  1. You expanded wonderfully on my short post Jan! I most definitely need to trade that heaviness for a garment of praise (and who doesn't like a new garment??)

    I think we'll hop to our feet, rejoice at the new location and maybe, most of all, get used to having God's wonderous grass under our feet instead of a rug that comes at a price!

  2. I'm with you. There are the times I just have to choose to praise God - He's definitely worthy!

  3. Don't forget the shoes to go with your new garment! You need good shoes so you can land solid and take off running. You will be great.

    Thanks for the blog and I'm looking forward to many more!

    PS: I think it was Helen Thayer that went to the North Pole? But it's been a while..... I need to re-read that one again!

  4. Thank you all so much! I appreciate the support, and Laura's oh-so-gentle correction .. that's what I get for trying to go on memory!