I have a problem… Now, don’t roll your eyes and tell me that I have a thousand problems—I’m quite aware of that fact! What I’m talking about is one specific personality problem that’s REALLY getting on my nerves. I’ve analyzed myself, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I am a “faith waverer.”
Sometimes, I do GREAT when it comes to having faith. I’m calm, cool, and collected. I breeze through my days feeling the peace of God. But other days, it’s as if I’m on high alert. All of my gazillion nerve endings are standing at attention, and they’re ready to fly into panic mode. And do you know what? That really bothers me. It bothers me BIG time. I’ve been a Christian for decades. I’ve seen God take care of my needs over and over and over and over again. Why on earth do I spend so much time stuck in the worry cycle??? Why do I allow my faith to be stolen every time I get an unexpected piece of news or when things don’t happen exactly as I expect???
Friends, you know me by now. And you know that when I start asking questions like these, I keep at it until I find a logical answer. And I think that I’ve finally found one. My problem is simple. I don’t have a settled mind.
Psalm 112:7-8a says, “He does not fear bad news, nor live in dread of what may happen. For he is SETTLED in his mind that Jehovah will take care of him. That is why he is not afraid.”
I desperately WANT to have faith like the man in Psalm 112. I long for that type of peace. But how do I get there?
I’ve just looked up “settled” in the dictionary, and it means, “Come to rest. Sink gradually. Become established. Adjust or arrange. Calm. Decide or agree on.” In my way of thinking, that means I need to firmly establish one specific thought in my mind—God is in charge, and He is smart enough to make everything in my life work out okay.
If I was a GREAT woman of faith that’s where this article would end. But between you and me, even though I know God is in charge and that He will make everything work out okay in the end, I’m not always convinced that I’m going to enjoy the process. After all, I was sick and in quarantine for many years, and I’m still struggling with some health issues. God did deliver me from death, and He’s had His protecting hand on me, but what I went through wasn’t exactly easy. And I really, really, REALLY don’t want to walk through something like that again. I think that’s why I’m always on high alert waiting for the ax to fall and for the next disaster to strike. I’m not just guarding myself against problems—I’m guarding myself against God’s way of taking me through those problems.
There you have it. Wow! What a great example of faith, I am!
I’ve had people say that they enjoy my blog because I’m honest, but honesty can be scary. It’s hard for me to admit that I’m not a white-garbed saint who has everything figured out when it comes to faith. It’s hard to admit that I’m scared about how my life is going to turn out. But I believe there’s something powerful in admitting our fear and being real with our feelings. I don’t think a person can have a settled mind unless they’re willing to strip away the “Christian mask” and look their feelings square in the face.
That’s what I’m doing today. I’m being honest. Life doesn’t always work out the way we want it to. God doesn’t always deliver us from problems—sometimes, He takes is right through the middle of them. Knowing that—and acknowledging that—am I STILL willing to FIRMLY make up my mind that whatever this life of mine holds, I’m going to view it with peace? Am I STILL going to trust God and believe with my WHOLE heart and my WHOLE mind that God is in charge, that He is loving and kind, and that everything will ultimately work out for my good?
With seven years of quarantine beneath my belt, that’s scary for me. But I’m coming to the conclusion that living in a constant state of turmoil is even scarier yet. I don’t like feeling stressed and afraid. I don’t like waking up in the middle of the night worrying. It will be so freeing just to drop my burdens on Jesus’s shoulders and decide to live in trust. But can I actually do it??
The answer is simple—No, I can’t.
I’m human. I can’t carry my worry, but neither do I have the strength of mind to live a worry-free life. I should know—I’ve been trying to live stress free for a long time now. Unfortunately, the only thing I’ve accomplished is creating a new thing to stress about. Today, after all of my hard-learned stress management techniques, I haven’t obtained peace—I literally worry because I feel that I am worrying too much.
So what do I do?
I surrender. I admit to God that I can’t do this anymore. I’m sick of living inside my own tortured brain and being run ragged by stress. Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
It’s time for me to become settled in my mind that God WILL take care of me. It’s time for me to become a willing ox. For years now, rather than being a willing ox, I’m the ox that has tried to climb up into the wagon and wrestle the reins away from God. What I need to do is stand still and let God put His yoke on me. It’s time to stop trying to wrestle the reins away. It’s time to let God lead me without putting up a fight. It’s time to stop viewing every moment of my life with suspicion and fear. It’s time to say, “God, I trust you with my health, my finances, my family, and my life. I belong to you completely. Take me where you want me to go. Give me what you want me to have. Take away what I shouldn’t have. I’m willing to go through what you want me to go through. Just let my life bring you glory.” And just like the man in Mark 9:24, it’s time that I pray, “Lord, I believe. Please, help my unbelief.”
“I have learned in whatever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:11b-13
If Paul learned this lesson—surely, I can too.