6 Ways to Praise Yourself Out of a Funk

Jessica Kastner

Published Feb 16, 2024
6 Ways to Praise Yourself Out of a Funk

Life is hard, and circumstantial seasons of loneliness, stress, sickness, and sadness are painfully unavoidable on this side of heaven. Thankfully, one of my greatest gifts from God happens to be a freakish ability to maintain joy even during what I call the "funks" of life or those prolonged seasons of "blah-ness" where nothing seems to be going right, and we feel about as inspired as a piece of charcoal. Here are some of my best practices for getting yourself out of a funk.

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Hands raising in worship

1. Praising

If worshipping was a sport, I'd be a gold medalist. I've incurred injury from dancing in the kitchen to Elevation Worship. I've been caught praising aloud in the woods while jogging and escaped a few accidents while car worshipping with a little too much abandon. Some of these times have occurred while going through a divorce, not having enough money to pay the water bill, and army-crawling through a stressful season at work. Why? Because we're not praising God for our circumstances. We're praising Him because He's all that matters. No matter where the dark rabbit hole our emotions are leading, we can praise Him because He is ours, and we are loved. We can praise the Lord because He's so irrationally good to us, even when we don't deserve it, and He's always faithful. When it's nearly impossible to feel any happiness or joy at all, we can still celebrate the fact that we've found the source of eternal life when so many around us remain lost. Even during the darkest of times, when facing a health diagnosis, money concerns, or hurtful family drama, we can still praise God because He's still one hundred percent in control. There's nothing we can do or not do that can hinder his good plans for our life, and there's nothing He's unable to get us through.

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2. Read the Psalms

2. Read the Psalms

God bless David. He had a hard season or two, running from a murderous king and feeling some deep shame and regret, but man, have his writings pulled me out of some deep, dark, hopeless chasms. The Psalms are living proof that we can still have hope and joy, even amidst extreme anxiety and depression. David made a lot of mistakes in life (murder, lust, pride), but he was the only human in recorded Scripture to be revered as "a man after God's own heart." David's almost inexplicable ability to worship during hard times was derived directly from his intimacy with the Lord. He knew God so well that not even murderous bands of enemy soldiers hindered his faith in God's goodness, provision, and sovereignty. Aside from being our protector and provider, another one of my favorite Psalms (18) says God delights in us. Something about God delighting in my ridiculous self makes it hard to remain crabby. When it feels like everyone's letting us down - even our kids, spouses, and besties - God's right there, looking for ways to redirect our thoughts and lead us back to his presence. Here are some great ones:

Psalm 18; Psalm 62-63; Psalm 91

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A man journaling, how to see God do more in your life

3. Make a Gratitude/Answered Prayer List

It's really hard to stay grouchy when feeling genuinely grateful. The problem is, it's so easy to forget all the ways God has graciously and even miraculously come through for us over the past days, weeks, months, and years. Even after "big" answered prayers and blessings, like a new home, job promotion, or healthy baby born, we're so conditioned to instantly focus on our next problem, area of improvement, or object of desire. We rarely relish and meditate daily on all we have and all he's done. I've heard it once said that God himself is the greatest gift this life can offer. All else is simply frosting on the cake of life. The ultimate funk-buster? Keep a continual list of answered prayers to keep yourself aware and appreciative of God's goodness towards you.

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A woman praying, The Joy of Loving God with 'All Your Soul'

4. Pray and Think about Others

One of the best ways to stifle self-pity and ruts is to make a list of the needs of those in your life: co-workers, family, neighbors, and church friends, and commit to prayer every day. This takes the focus off our own gripes and disappointments and reminds us of how good we have it. It's been extremely difficult to continually pout over my five-pound weight gain when continually praying for a friend battling with depression or thinking about our lonely, isolated older neighbor next door. The next best step would be joining a group or activity that actively helps/serves others. I will never forget first getting involved in a home four years ago. Just hearing their stories and feeling their desperate need for love and attention was almost too much to bear, but it still blessed me more than I can even put into words. Sadly, even when we're going through a rough patch, many others are struggling with so much more. We all have our moments, but I just refuse to be the girl God's gaze falls upon to find continually pouting over disappointments in a world full of suffering.

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5. Get Into Nature

5. Get Into Nature

Something happens in our psyches when we get alone in nature. Even unbelievers feel God here; they just don't recognize it. I think a huge portion of our Westernized anxiety is correlated to our lack of activity and not being outdoors enough. Unless you're in an urban area with zero open space, you can usually find some part of nature where it's safe to at least take a walk with the Lord and renew your mind. In Gary Thomas' book Sacred Pathways, he describes nine different ways believers connect with God. One category is "naturalists," which simply means loving God through the outdoors. I know it can be difficult for parents of young children or those with rigorous work schedules, but it's worth considering ways to add exposure to nature and the outdoors when finding yourself in a funky season.

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Man looking up

6. Remember Worship Is Warfare

Perhaps most importantly, when going through a rough patch, or even just the "blahs," remember that worship is warfare. Fear, anxiety, sadness, depression, negative thoughts, anger, shame, and regret cannot exist when our spirits are connecting with the Lord in praise. Worship changes the atmosphere around us, both physically and spiritually. When we praise the Lord, we are declaring to the enemy and over ourselves that the spirit of the Lord dwells and reigns here. In your car, in your kitchen, on the subway, in your office, at the gym. And where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And that, friends, will always be reason enough to praise.

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Jessica Kastner is an award-winning writer and author of Hiding from the Kids in My Prayer ClosetShe leads Bible studies within juvenile detention centers with Straight Ahead Ministries and offers unapologetically real encouragement for women at Jessicakastner.com.

Originally published Thursday, 22 February 2024.