Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Battling Discouragement

What aspects in life are most difficult for you to trust God with?  Your health?  Your children?  Your family and their rejection of Christianity?  Marriage?  Singleness?  Work?  School?  Friends?  Beauty (or feeling less than)?  Your weight?  Your current circumstances?  The future? ...

There are so many situations and parts of life that we all struggle not trusting God with.  The above list is only a fraction of the heartaches and worries we may have on a regular basis, and then there is always that dreadful word:  Fear.

Fear of the future.  Fear of losing your job.  Fear of getting Cancer.  Fear of dying before you desire.  Fear of never getting married.  Fear of losing your "rights".

So much causes us anxiety, worry, stress, and fear.

With this in mind, how are we to deal with these difficult and often debilitating thoughts or life circumstances?

I wrestle with this myself and have realized that the only solid and unchanging Rock that never changes, always stays the same, isn't in a bad mood one day and a kind mood the next, and always has our BEST interest in mind, is God.  By reading and studying God's word, we learn about Him and by praying to the Lord from an honest heart we keep the lines of communication open between us.  We need to lay our burdens, worries, stresses, and fears at His feet...and leave them at His feet.  I know this sounds so cliché, but it is true.  There is no magic way of getting to know God quickly other than regularly reading and studying His word, going to a Bible-believing church that expounds God's word in an accurate way (with the added blessing of becoming friends with likeminded believers who can pray for you and keep you accountable), worshipping God for the beauty and majesty of who He is (as explained in His word, the Bible), and spending quality time in prayer...daily.

The issue of surrender is one I believe many struggle with.  Surrender in marriage, surrender at work, and the scariest thought yet; surrender to God.  Isn't it quite ironic that we will put our all into trying to fix everything by our own strength and resources, we will rush to our friends or family when we need someone to talk to, or we try to medicate our pain through yummy food and entertainment like music, movies, or our favorite sitcom, and yet we so rarely run to God?  He is the only One with a perfect track record.  He is the only One who is fully trustworthy, perfectly reliable, 100% good and faithful.  God is wise, all knowing, and as the perfect parent (we become His children through the salvation God's Son, Jesus Christ, accomplished on behalf of sinners and our acceptance of it and thereby daily commitment to the Lord), He always wants what is BEST for us.

And sometimes what is best isn't easy.  It's most often difficult actually.  As a dear friend of mine has said before, "Change the radio station of your mind when your mind starts to wander."

Here's an example:  Getting your college degree isn't easy.  It takes time, money, and the sacrifice of hours studying and working on homework instead of having a fun time with your friends.  Yet the result of your labor and commitment is golden!  Your college degree!  It was difficult to have so much homework and have to attend classes when you would rather be at home resting.  It was difficult having to say no to spending time with your friends or family because of having to study for exams.  Though, here you can see that what was once thought of as, "Painful" in the midst of it is now seen as "Treasured" because the result was beneficial, the "Lessons learned" were valuable...and now you're more prepared for living; you have a good career to pursue and have built the discipline of having to say "no" and stick with a schedule.  You have learned to better manage your time and have made strides with practicing perseverance.

Sometimes difficulty and unfavorable situations and circumstances and what we learn from them and the ways our character is built is a good thing!  Wouldn't you agree?

I love thinking of athletes who have to follow a strict diet, exercise often, give up certain foods they enjoy, possibly take vitamins, and get a lot of rest.  The saying, "No pain, no gain" should actually be a comfort to us!

The saying, "Worrying will not change the outcome" is quite true.  Will worrying prevent something from happening?  No.  But the good news is that SO much of what we think is going to happen, WON'T.  You know how I am confident of this?  Because our minds run away with us and we so often conjure up ideas in our minds that bring us fear simply because we let our minds run away with us and dwell on "What if?" questions.

Dear friends, "What if?" those awful thoughts you fear won't ever happen?  What if God will only answer for your best interest; seeking your growth and benefit?


A few questions to ponder:

What is causing you the most stress lately?
What worries and burdens have you been dwelling on and clinging to instead of laying all of that at God's feet and surrendering your anxieties to God?
What are you not trusting God with lately?
What causes you to believe that God isn't trustworthy?


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