“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” Proverbs 12:25 (NIV)
I’ve been speaking about how last year at this time our family was hit with a big whammy. I think I spent the first week in shock and panic. I would worry, feel guilty for worrying, confess that worry, worry about something different related to the same whammy, feel guilty for worrying, confess that worry… I think you get the idea. When I wasn’t worrying, I was taking control in the form of trying to figure out what steps I needed to take in order to make sure God did what He needed to do. I stupidly thought He needed my help (and input) to accomplish His goals for our lives.
I did a few things right too, though. First of all, I had a willing heart. I wanted God in charge. I didn’t want to fix this problem alone (even though I had a hard time remembering that He didn’t need my help to move things along faster). I fasted before doing anything else – asking God for direction. My husband and I asked for prayer from our church and a few close friends, and I made the decision to trust God even though my mind immediately went to “worse case scenarios.” I went back and forth between trusting that God would give me a new job by February 1st to “we’re going to lose our house.” I realize now looking back how fear still had a strong grip on my life. I was listening to the enemy’s lies more than standing on God’s Word. I’m so thankful I had so many godly people in my life who continued to patiently (and I do mean patiently) remind me of the Truth – God’s Truth – when the enemy’s voice would grow too loud.
This year, it’s day three after being hit with the potential of two whammies. The first day I vacillated between fear and faith… but before I went to bed, I can honestly say faith was winning. Day two (yesterday) I actually had PEACE because I was focusing on the PERSON, despite the fact the circumstances haven’t changed. God used a devotional to bring peace about one whammy and a person to remind me of His Truth about the other. Day three (today) as I’m writing this, I not only have PEACE still, but I can honestly say I have JOY as well. I am able to live my life, moving forward, continuing to accomplish the areas in life God has already assigned me while waiting to see what more He might be calling me to, or what He might be taking away.
I realized something through all the different feelings. I realized the reason why I have PEACE this year versus the absence of it last year. This year instead of trying to control the situation, I’ve completely submitted it to Him. He has big arms – they are big enough to handle everything I’ve put in them this week. Not just the two whammies but I added all my other “concerns” to the growing pile… and then I did something different from last year. I walked away and instead of focusing on how I can help God fix things, I’m actively listening for His voice. Last year taught me three very important lessons: God wants to take care of me. God doesn’t need my help. God will show me what the next step when He’s ready. Until then, I don’t have to waste time and energy running around. Instead, I can rest in His arms, accomplishing what He wants me to do just for today, while I listen intently for my next assignment.
Which do I like better – worrying last year while exhausting myself trying to help God fix our whammy… or resting peacefully in His arms, only accomplishing the assignments He has already given, listening for His voice to tell me when/what He wants me to do next? Worrying or listening… both require energy, both require focus. One brings peace, one brings exhaustion. I know which one I’m choosing because I can honestly say I feel peace.
We may still get hit with one or both whammies this year. I realize that, but worrying ahead of time isn’t going to help. Worrying if they do hit won’t help either. I realized through our whammy last year that God does bring us through. Our best doesn’t look like I thought it would – and I’m glad because His best (while not completely realized yet – we’re still walking toward it) is far better than anything I could have imagined anyway.
© Cheri Swalwell 2016