Joy Under Pressure

 Worry implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives. Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control. | Francis Chan

Doubt crept into my life sneakily, sometime when I was looking ahead, pretending to make future life plans. If this doesn’t happen, I’ll do this. And at that moment, I accepted that God might not bring the very best into my life. He is entirely capable, that I never questioned, but He might not. I was afraid what He brought might not meet my expectations. It might not satisfy on my first taste.

Understanding this brings me up against the sinfulness and deceit of my heart.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? | Jeremiah 17:9

(I don’t know how to be subtle or mysterious about events in my life, but here goes…)

The past fourteen days has been filled with running here and zooming there and back again. The small details of events felt heavy in my hands,  my parents were away from home fulfilling ministry responsibilities (not complaining!), and right in the middle of everything, I was without a phone for four days. Survival was the theme, and after work I frequently reminded my shoulders to relax. Even if only for a week (or has it been longer than that?), the vision of purpose and God’s faithful provision faded a little into the background.

The first sign was being really tired. Then it was the quick, sharp words out of my mouth. My frustration with slow tourists was another one. Procrastinating last week’s blog post. Thinking about my own needs more. Missing optimism was the last straw.

Then it all changed with an art party where I was reminded bluntly that life has bad moments, but it’s mostly good. A refreshing breath of cool air when a dearest friend showed up in Holmes County twice in a week! The final reminder was the testimony of another dearest friend whose life has carefully and quite intimately been shaped in painful ways into the shape of a beautiful, wonderful, traceable pattern during the course of a year.

God really does do good things. And not just for others. He has done it for you, and He’ll continue doing even bigger things if you let Him.

Back to the regularly scheduled program…

Instead of giving way and giving God room to accomplish great things with my human life, I take small steps away from faith and trust in the God that performs all things for me. Then my heart gets overwhelmed at all the great decisions ‘I have to make’. These things take the light from my eyes and joy from my lips. Satan has taken ground.

In the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge … I will cry unto God Most High, unto God that performeth all things for me. | Psalm 57:1-2

Eventually I will come to the place where every decision is viewed through faith in a Faithful Lover. Eventually I will see that every step is smaller than what I thought, that big things have tiny beginnings. Eventually I will understand God’s want to give me good things.

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall ease from yielding fruit. | Jeremiah 17:7-8

[Interesting how those two verses precede the deceitful heart one.]

[Also interesting how it says ‘Blessed is the MAN’, but goes on to describe a female tree.]

I want to be that tree. (You and ) I (both)  know it will take a miracle, but, ha, don’t you know that’s what my God specializes in? It will take a lifetime (I promise), but our God is fully capable to mold you and me into obedient, trusting, consumed warriors and servants in His Kingdom.

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4 thoughts on “Joy Under Pressure

  1. wow. Diane, this is so good!! I can relate… believe me. all the questions and decisions in my life cause me to panic sometimes. Thank you so much for this timely reminder. I really love that first paragraph… explains it better than I ever thought about before.

  2. once again, just what I needed to hear right now… I have just been feeling the same way… and needed a reminder to just relax and trust… that God carries me in the hollow of his hand. Thank you for your transparency!

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