But those who wait for Yahweh’s grace will experience divine strength.They will rise up on soaring wings and fly like eagles, run their race without growing weary, and walk through life without giving up. Isaiah 40:31 TPT
I am sitting here recovering from a mild meltdown on the inside…as I have been the proverbial graceful swan above the surface, but paddling like mad underneath. Like so many of us, I am having trouble adjusting to my new normal. In a few short months I have gone from a long season of peace and quiet, with lots of empty hours to fill with studying the Word, reading inspiring books, worshipping to my hearts content and generally just hanging out with the Lord and my own thoughts to being busy and occupied with many things.
I feel like I have fallen headlong into chaos and to be honest, I have trouble adjusting. I am feeling overwhelmed by chores, to-do lists and my guilty conscience. Often times we feel out of control when our circumstances change, whether it’s the arrival of a new baby, the challenge of a new job or city or a myriad of things that vie for our attention. There are so many voices crying out for attention and the loudest of all is the voice of the accuser, telling us we are not enough…not doing enough, not giving enough, not serving enough, not Christian enough…just not enough.
Another thing that’s bothering me is the fear that if I am not vigilant, soon I will become accustomed to life as it is now and not having or spending the time in worship, or reading the Word or even praying wouldn’t matter much anymore.
Therefor I find myself in need of preaching to my own soul. Like David said to his soul, I say to mine “Take courage. Remember when you used to be right out front leading the procession of praise when the great crowd of worshipers gathered to go into the presence of the Lord? You shouted with joy as the sound of passionate celebration filled the air and the joyous multitude of lovers honored the festival of the Lord!” “So then, my soul, why would you be depressed? Why would you sink into despair? Just keep hoping and waiting on God, your Savior. For no matter what, I will still sing with praise, living before his face is my saving grace! (Psalm 42:4, 5 TP)
I love the mystical element of our faith. There is so much of God, and of the way He works and moves, that is incomprehensible and I am very happy not to know everything. I am comfortable to put some things in my “God knows” box but I also realise that sometimes we need to get practical…so I am formulating a plan. I hope by sharing mine, this will be helpful to someone who is also feeling totally overwhelmed right now.
Step 1: Give up control.
This seems so elementary but I realise feeling overwhelmed is the manifestation of my need to control the situation I find myself in. I can’t control when people return my phone calls, do their bit on the projects we are collaborating on or even when the letting agent is going to call regarding the house we applied for. I have to practice patience. When my emotions boil over, I acknowledge them, I use them as a barometer of how much I am doing in my own strength and then I turn them over to the Lord.
Step 2: Wait well.
While I am waiting on people, I can wait well by turning my attention away from the emotions I feel and focus on the Lord for a few minutes. Something as simple as sitting down, closing my eyes and just turning my attention inward, to where Holy Spirit dwells, can return peace and calm to my soul, therefor I give myself permission to just be for a while.
Step 3: Worship
Often times, when I feel emotionally frayed, I find sound disturbing and I tend not to fill the atmosphere around me with music, which is a mistake. When gentle worship music fills the atmosphere, my inner atmosphere changes too. Remember Saul and David? David’s soothing music calmed Saul’s disturbed soul. We can also tap into soothing, healing music to help us focus our attention on the goodness of the Lord.
Step 4: Ask for more grace
The Lord promised that when we ask for bread, He won’t give us stones. When we are stretched beyond what we think we can endure, crying out for grace is the best thing we can do. Understanding that grace is the power given by God to help us overcome obstacles, deal with temptation and the divine energy we need to sustain our life of prayer and worship, why would He not give it when we ask?
Let’s take a moment…Abba Father, I ask for grace upon grace. Give me the strength to endure, empower me to overcome my frayed emotions and help my spirit to stay sweet, kind and gentle in the midst of frustration. Stir up in me the desire to pray, worship and enjoy fellowship with You. Let Your deep call to the deep in me.
Step 5: Find community
I am sure I am not the only person to self-isolate when I feel overwhelmed and stretched but the Lord puts us in families for a reason. There’s an old proverb “sorrow shared, is sorrow halved” and it’s especially true for us as Christians. We are to be our brother’s keeper and I feel that it is particularly unkind to people who love us when we deny them the opportunity to show us love and care. I know I feel terrible when I hear that someone has been going through a situation where I could have been of help, had I only known. I for one, am going to lay down my pride (let’s call it what it is) and ask for help when I need it.
Friends always show their love. What are relatives for if not to share trouble? Proverbs 17:17 GNT
I’ll sign off with one last greeting…shalom shalom. May the peace of the Lord be with you, and also with me.