Updated: Jan 11, 2020
This post is more of a response to the last three months than something that I have been studying or mediating on.
I'm currently walking through some difficult things. Some of these things were unexpected and some have been difficult for a while. I've been tense. I've found it harder to smile and be positive, I sigh and rub my temples a lot without even thinking, and I am always tired. I'm not surprised by life's difficulty. I have been through many difficult things of my own and, quite honestly, I can count some of those times as some of the best. Hearing my newborn baby laugh after several nights of no sleep, watching Josh take his first steps on prosthetics after dozens of failed attempts, and solving big problems at work have created great confidence boosting moments in my memory. Though difficult at the time, I can look back on those days and remind myself of everything I have already overcome. However, my mind hasn't been eased like it used to. My issues today frustrate me because even though they pale in comparison to taking care of a newborn or a severely wounded spouse, they just don't seem like they have a clear cut solution.
Time is of the essence when it comes to problems in life. I knew that the newborn stage would wear off and I would eventually sleep again. I knew that if Josh had survived his injury he would learn to walk. At work, even the most persistent problems won't last forever. The trials I'm facing now don't seem that way. In fact, the longer they go on the more anxious and confused I get...
Maybe this is my life and I need to just get used to it?
Maybe I need to do something?
Maybe I need to talk to someone?
Maybe I need to just pray on it for a while and not tell anyone?
Maybe I'm making a big deal over nothing?
Maybe it's a huge deal and I need to act?
Then I feel God saying "be still." Being still doesn't mean God doesn't like (or require) some action. What it does command is that I quiet my mind. When my thoughts are not bouncing off the walls of my brain, I can feel the stillness that will clear the fog.
Being still is also a discipline, which is what I'm applying to my life now. I can't be still in prayer and in posture one time and get all the answers. In fact, I'm convinced that God is purposefully making this chapter longer because he has more things to show me. In recent prayer, I realized that for the rest of my life I will not be able to figure anything out without going through something first. Life isn't like simple math--one solution per question. Sometimes God will show you how to solve a problem by giving you more problems. I wasn't too concerned with my babies not sleeping at night the first time they got sick. I didn't really care about how quickly Josh would start walking when he got an infection that almost took his life. Here is my point... at the end of the day, we are humans that have no idea how to scale problems. The ones that seem big and urgent are often distractions meant to frustrate us. The more frustrated we are, the more attention the problem gets; until, a real issue comes along. It's a blessing to have things put back into perspective, even if it's through a dilemma.
If you're in a dilemma right now, ask yourself this question:
Can this ground me in truth?
Is your compass calibrated to true North? Do you suddenly know what is important (or not) to you? Has the truth about your feelings, judgments, and God surfaced in a crisis?
What is the truth?
He goes before us...
"The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed."
"I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars.
Now exhale. He stands at the finish line of all of this. Therefore, we should thank Him for what He is going to do. Allowing our gratitude to slip on the priority list is how our problems grow out of proportion in the first place. He is not in a hurry, I am. When I allow myself to think things should be a certain way by a certain time, I don't have a thankful mind anymore. I have the restless mind that tries to fit the Almighty God within the confines of my human understanding. Let's all hope He is a little more expansive than that.
So if He is not only ahead of the problem, but He also holds the solution, what's left for us to do?
2. Have Faith
Trust that there is some step or experience that you need before you obtain the thing you've been praying for. Second we must have faith. Everyone says that, but let me say it like this: walk and talk like you know God has the solution and He's just getting YOU ready for it. Don't spend time in your prayer life trying to convince God that you're ready. He knows more about you than you do. Trust that you're being polished and prepped for it. When Isaiah says "I will make the rough places smooth," sometimes we are the rough place.
Ephesians 1:18 "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people," My prayer from now on will be that my heart will be enlightened to the hope. Hope that lies in the midst of waiting, wandering, and even weeping. It's all smoothing the rough places.