“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” – Isaiah 55:12

I went for a hike this evening after work. It’s been a very stressful couple of days and I was trying to figure out some healthier coping mechanisms for dealing with the work-related environmental stress.

See, where I work is also where I currently live. Although I’m making a lateral move in the organization, receiving the same pay and still considered an intern, they are requiring me to move to a horrible dorm/community style staff building instead of remaining in the private apartment space I’ve been living in for the past 9 months. It’s unsettling, and it also isn’t fair.

I’ve felt very wronged by the upper management of the organization. I’ve tried to have meetings, but my voice hasn’t been heard here for quite some time. I’m moving into a department that does hear my voice though. This department is the heart behind the organization, the “mission” side of things that works directly with people, so all my supervisors and co-workers in that department are “people” people and relational focused… not business/operation focused.

It’s hard not to get offended or upset when my living space that I thought I’d be in for 2 years is being prematurely ripped out from under me, right in the middle of the transition to a new department. It makes me question whether the organization I’m working for is worth working in when they treat me and other staff in this manner. I’ve taken it personally to be sure and been very offended on a number of levels for a number of different things.

Therefore, when I received the news two days ago that I have to move sooner than expected (and mind you, this living situation has not been discussed with me since December),  within 2 weeks, I was thrown into chaos. I couldn’t sleep and was stressed to my max. I have to balance this while working my full time hours and still working partially in one of my initial departments till they get my replacement in. I was fighting mad yesterday. I texted some friends to pray for me hard because I was so confused, hurt, and offended.

He answered their prayers because I have felt more at-peace today… which is very rare lately because my job has been stress after stress with no work/life balance, being mistreated left and right and neglected, so I’ve allowed my environment and the organization to slowly crush my spirit. It’s been difficult to keep looking up when all of that keeps happening around me.

On my hike this evening, something broke… I was thinking about my situation and trying to come up with a solution. Then I just stopped and surrendered. This was all while I was listening to worship music. I was gradually overcome with peace and joy for no seemingly “obvious” reason. My situation hasn’t changed, but my attitude and my heart was altered by God as I let go and stepped out of the way.

I just started clapping and singing. Mind you, I have headphones in too, so I couldn’t hear how I sounded, but I didn’t care. I stopped by a stream and a little waterfall to take in and overflow with the worship song I was listening to… then I was hit with something beautiful… I was surrounded by rocks…

There were so many! And God recalled a verse to my spirit.

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” – Luke 19:40

I was struck with an overwhelming sense to sing louder. I haven’t praised the Lord in so long, and it felt like He was reminding me how much the stones had been praising Him because I had forgotten or neglected to. It was a healthy competition then, I didn’t want them to cry out louder than me! Yet it was as if I was also singing in unison with the stones… so I praised my heart and lungs out! At one point I just started dancing on the trail as I sang.

I learned many different lessons today and there are tons of take-aways from this. But the main thing I wanted to focus on is this… if we don’t praise Him, something will. Then in the end we will be devastated if it isn’t us. So no matter your circumstance, praise His name – He alone is worthy.

Its easier said than done, I know. I have been through the worst year of my life and had distanced myself from God and everyone else. I was reminded today, in the cold woods, that regardless of what I’m going through, I do still have a choice to praise Him or not.

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” – Revelation 5:13