On a Thursday morning prior to the start of my workday, I was blasting Today’s Christian Radio Hits on my Alexa that I had strategically placed near my classroom door. Was the good news of Jesus traveling out into the hallway? Oops, I didn’t realize it was that loud. (Insert wide, innocent eyes here.)
I had my back turned to the door, tending to the young flowers growing along the windowsill that my high school students and I had planted earlier in the spring when my principal walked in unexpectedly to talk about testing.
“What are you doing?” she asked cheerfully over my music.
“Just watering,” I said, wishing Alexa was a little more company conscious.
After we finished our conversation, I was once again alone in my classroom as my mind began to swirl with the new information and testing responsibilities I was just given. But, instead of drowning in discouragement, I was buoyed by the praise music filling my room with hope and inspiration.
Experiences like this have changed the way I view praise. I once thought that the Lord only wanted our praise for His sake—to feel honored by His people. But, while our joyful noises and heartfelt sentiments are, no doubt, music to our Father’s ears, I am beginning to understand that praise is also designed to change and reshape us.
I have learned that praise…
- Puts us in our proper place in relation to the One who created all things
- Renews our minds and declutters our hearts
- Brings joy, strength, and inspiration to our weary souls
- Shows us opportunities where we once saw problems
- Removes limits on our thoughts and plans
As educators, it may seem like our opportunities to praise the Lord during our busy days are limited. However, we can incorporate praise into our daily routines by:
- Worshipping on our commutes to and from work. When we lift our praise to the Lord before we enter our schools and homes, we set the tone and direct our mindsets toward positive, eternal purposes.
- Listening to praise music during our planning time. This can serve as a reminder of Whom we serve during our workday, inspiring us as we minister to our students.
- Praying before we eat our lunches. We can pause at lunchtime to thank the Lord for the ways He’s already carried us through the first half of our day and praise Him because He has the other half in His hands too.
- Playing quiet instrumental praise music while our students work silently. We will be uplifted (and so will our Christian students) as our hearts add the lyrics to the music. For other students, the music will simply be calming and beautiful notes creating space for productivity.
- Talking with the Lord throughout the day. Our quick trips to the copy room or office are perfect times for us to connect with the Lord, telling Him how much we love Him.
And the best part about praise—it costs nothing, it is always available, and it has endless benefits!
Kristi Shanenko teaches at Valley City High School in eastern North Dakota. She loves her teenagers at school and at home and feels grateful that God chooses to work through His children in small but eternal ways.
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