lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5)
Just like dragging a bunch of overweight luggage around with you all day every day, all of that baggage is going to leave you mentally and physically drained. And you’re not going to function at your best or even be able to experience simple joy. I know that I have so much to be grateful for and joyous about. Do you? The problem is we often get so bogged down with everyday reality—or our own perception of reality—that we don’t always appreciate all the good things in our lives. Or worse, we become so self-absorbed, so me-focused because of worries, that we lose sight of what is going on in the lives of our family members and friends. We miss out on opportunities to be encouragers or to make a difference in the lives of others.
Why not consider a new method of dealing with your problems this year—pass them on! When you have issues weighing on your mind, especially things that you don’t have answers for, tell the Lord your troubles, and then trust Him to deal with them. Give your problems to God. Just let them go, and quit trying to do everything on your own.
“The all important rule is not to ‘try’ but to ‘trust,’ not to depend upon your own strength but upon his.” (Sit, Walk, Stand by Watchman Nee, p. 27)
Often, what causes us to worry is a sense of helplessness or a feeling that things are out of our control, so instead of believing that you have to find a way to bring everything under control, just quit trying to do everything, be everything and solve everything. You’ve got to trust in God and submit to Him with the confidence that He is in control of your life and that He is always working out circumstances for your good and His glory (see Romans 8:28).
Notice that I didn’t say that He is always arranging things for our happiness. God knows us and He knows the lessons we need to learn and the things we need to experience to grow and become more Christ-like. Sometimes those lessons are not fun; but they are necessary. Of course, when we don’t consult Him (about anything and everything) our poor choices and bad decisions can temporarily throw His good plans off track. But you can’t outthink God and you can’t mess up so badly that He won’t forgive you. If you are truly willing to change your ways and follow Him, God will create a new route to put you back on track for the great plans He has always had in mind for you.
“I want you to learn a new habit. Try saying, ‘I trust You, Jesus’ in response to whatever happens to you. … This simple practice will help you see Me in every situation … When you view events from this perspective … fear loses its grip on you. Adverse circumstances become growth opportunities when you affirm your trust in Me no matter what.” (Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, p. 5)
I have found that doing this lately—admitting that I do not have the answers and I don’t know what to do next, but that I trust God to know what’s best and to take care of me—has been very freeing. Life has thrown Bart and I some curve balls over the last few years and at times, I have allowed stress and worry to get me down. But, lately, I’m finding that when you choose not to worry, but to let go and trust instead, you get a sense of peace and contentment … and rest.
I have a note posted on my wall at work to remind me: If you’re going to pray, why worry? And if you’re going to worry, why pray? Don’t tell God your problems and then keep praying about them over and over again impatiently waiting for the answer you desire. Trust that He has heard you and acknowledge that only He knows the best answer and the best timing. And don’t just take a breather and then snatch your troubles back out of His hands to worry over them again. You will solve nothing that way and it will not bring you contentment.
“If you keep on stating your concerns to Me, you will live in a state of tension. When you thank Me for how I am answering your prayers [long before you can discern results], your mind-set becomes much more positive.” (Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, p. 12)
Lord, help me to trust you with all my heart and to follow your will with eagerness, knowing that to do so is the surest path to peace.
Peace + Gratefulness + Blessings
Whose confidence is in Him.” (Jeremiah 17:5–7)
Check out this great link that came out in a devotional the day after I posted this blog:
An Exercise in Casting Cares