Believing God for Some Serious Calm
Note to self: Today’s agenda feels crazy. Drop off all the kids. Volunteer. Meet with friend. Pick up some of the kids. Drive out of town. Drop off more kids. Go to hair appointment with two little kids. Entertain kids with laptop while stylist covers grays. Go home. Pack. Freak out a little about flying across the country tomorrow. Obsess. Try to get some sleep.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6 & 7)
Deep breathe in. Slowly exhale out.
Pray. Humbly Ask. Thanks.
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
But what things, Lord? What are all the things?
These days, if I’m honest, my mind feels like it’s everywhere on everything while simultaneously nowhere on nothing.
Basically, I think of all the things and I feel discouraged.
Do you know what I mean?
I think of the…
messy house needing to be Marie-Kondoed into tidy.
work-related tasks I have yet to finish.
financial debt we haven’t paid off.
book I want to write.
podcast I want to start.
newsletter marketing I should be doing.
children I fear I have not focused on enough.
exchange students who may come next year.
people I may have accidentally ignored.
trip I have to pack for and plan.
husband who is getting my emotional leftovers.
dinners I don’t make.
controversial topics in the news.
health symptoms I am prone to Google.
blog I promised I’d write.
rejection I sometimes wallow in.
I think of all the things and instead of rest, I feel angst.
And inwardly, my response to my never-ending list tends to just briefly focus on what I actually could do.
Instead, what consumes me is this default, defeated feeling that I’m not doing enough and must do more.
An anxiety attempts to consume me.
And to be honest, what I do to alleviate the suffering of defeat is to not just procrastinate but to start dreaming of a whole new thing to add to my never-ending list of to-dos and not-dones.
There. Now you know how I am prone to deal with anxiety and stress.
And if you wonder what I’m talking about, just ask my husband who saw me this past Sunday with my feet up, scrolling through pictures of Ukrainian orphans to possibly host this summer.
Because I need another project like I need a punch to the face.
But how does one stop focusing on what is not to or what might be to start focusing on what she can do through Christ right here and now?
Maybe I should start by taking my own motherly advice.
The other night, my nine-year-old son was talking about some fears he’s been having at night.
We talked for a little bit and then I shared a song and a verse that have helped me when I’m afraid.
A song from my youth courtesy of Psalty the singing songbook (yes, those songs are hidden in my heart), “I cast all my cares upon you. I lay all of my burdens down at your feet. And anytime, I don’t know, what to do, I will cast all my cares upon you.”
A verse that ministered to me a few years ago during my pregnancy with my youngest child, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)
Later, I emphasized the meaning of the song/verse to my children, by sharing this paraphrase, “God will keep you in perfect calm, if your mind is faithful and trusts in Him.”
Sometimes when I’m instructing my kids, I swear, God is whispering to me.
The truth is, when I have a to-do list a mile long, I get a little scared. I start focusing on the list and stop focusing on the Lord. When I get tired from looking at the list, I look to my dreams instead of looking to God. I get overwhelmed, and a bit anxious.
But what if I focused on Jesus instead? What if I trusted him to lead me each step of the way?
Over and over, throughout scripture, God commanded his people to not be afraid.
You know what, I’m just tired of doing things my way and getting the same neurotic results.
I don’t write this stuff to be some preachy know-it-all. I write it to give myself and whoever is reading this some truth to get through these crazy days.
Life is hard. Let’s trust the Word of God. God says he’ll keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in him. The Apostle Paul said that instead of being anxious, we can present our requests to God with prayer and gratitude and the peace of God will guard our hearts.
You know what? Those kind of promises sound a whole heck of a lot better than my plan of obsessing and being afraid.
If you’ve come to the end of yourself and your same tried-and-true methods at making yourself more productive, less anxious, more peace-loving, more… And you, like me, find yourself lacking?
My only piece of advice is to trust that God can be trusted. He’s proven his trustworthiness before. And I know he’ll do it again.