A Heart Full of Hope and Presence of Praise

Have you ever been forced to do something you didn't want to do? I think about the youth I work with who lack autonomy in so many spaces. So much of their lives is not optional. Sometimes when we find ourselves in a space that is "mandatory" but not where we want to be, it is more than difficult to participate with any enthusiasm.

My guess is most of us have been here. Whether it's a class for school, an unsatisfying job that helps pay the bills, or a doctor's appointment. We might enter these spaces with the intention of just getting done what needs to happen and getting out of there as fast as possible.

In contrast, there's nothing like those spaces or those people that you count down your time to spend time with. When we get to do the things we like with people who are meaningful to us, we can let loose in a way that can be difficult to do in other spaces. Suddenly, even the way we speak and express ourselves changes because we are safe and can be open without fear of repercussions or misunderstanding. We are doing what we want to do and we are happy about it. This is a pretty incredible feeling!

When I read Psalm 146, this is the mood I pick up on. This psalmist is not offering praise because anyone made them. In that moment, their heart is completely in it and there's nothing that could stop them from giving praise to God; not the Persian Empire, not anything. This week, we'll explore Psalm 146 and what it means and feels like to live out our faith and our feelings fully and authentically.

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