I learned something about myself recently. You may wonder, considering I am creeping up on the big 4-0 very soon, "what else can you learn about yourself after 40 years?" I have always been a worrier. I told myself it was just my nature. Maybe to some degree that is true. I know I am not alone. If the Bible has so many verses on worry and anxiety, it must be a problem for at least a few other people. I have found myself lying in bed awake well into the early morning hours, mulling over possible situational outcomes and considering aspects of different situations in the past and possibly in the future.
Lots of things have culminated in helping me see the truth. Until now, I feel like I have been in a fog. Fearful, overwhelmed, surrounded. I have been focusing in on one small piece of a 1000 piece puzzle, losing sight of the whole. One thing that made it all "click" - I went to the ocean. (For a midwestern landlocked girl, this is a big deal!) When I was standing on that beach, staring into the vast, beautiful, powerful ocean, I thought of MY God. I thought of the Creator who created this powerful and vast ocean. I thought of the powerful God that can work all things together for good (Romans 8:28). I contemplated how trivial some of my "worries" are when faced with the eternal. I was awestruck by how much I had lost sight of how BIG God is, how nothing is beyond his reach. I could hear in my mind,
"When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul."
Do you know the story of "It is Well?" The Hymnist, Horatio Spafford had sent his wife and four daughters on a sea voyage, hoping to join them later. The ship his family was on collided with another vessel and his four daughters did not survive. On his voyage to join his wife, he penned this hymn while sailing the area of the ocean where his offspring had perished.
I was sent into introspection standing on that beach with the cool water lapping my ankles. When "trouble" comes, how do I react? (My definition of trouble is a whole different subject for another time.) Do I run to my Father, confident in His care, provision and concern? Do I bemoan my troubles to others, on Facebook or in real life to garner sympathy? Can I say, "It is well with my soul"?
The other song that reverberated in my heart while wiggling my toes in the sand?
"When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You above the storm
Father you are King over the flood
I will be still, know You are God."
Sometimes we need to be still, rest in his peace and KNOW, He is God.
Do you need a dose of perspective like I did? Be encouraged!
"Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders—
he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out.
He’ll never let good people
topple into ruin." PS 55:22 MSG
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid." John 14:27 NLT
"So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:6-8 NLT
Don't let Satan or circumstances snatch your peace. I returned from my trip, this wonderful time with my husband and my God on flights that were less than perfect (by far), to raw sewage in my basement and ill children. It would have been easy to fall back into my old patterns of worry, fear and despair. But I fought for joy and peace. You can too. Rely on God. Stand firm and hold on.