Because We Can’t Hit Rewind

DSC01912Our words.
Once they’ve left our mouth, they’re out there.
We can’t pull them back in. There’s no rewind button.

So what can we do?
We can take care of our heart. The place from which our words come.

Every instance of pain we experience, God sees.
Disrespect. Defeat. Discouragement. Rejection. Harsh words.

He sees the wearing down.
Fatigue. Sickness. Lack of sleep. Talk back. Fighting.

He sees the effect to our heart.

DSC01914Long before words emerge, He knows what’s building within.

He can help. More than help. He can heal. Comfort. Pour grace.
Restore. Strengthen. Transform.

O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
     you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
     and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
     behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.” (Psalm 139.1-4)

All-knowing God,
Help me bring my experiences and thoughts to You.
To be cleansed, humbled and healed.
I want my words to go through the sieve of Your grace, power and love.
BEFORE THEY LEAVE MY MOUTH.
Amen.

worry

DSC02303“Her grades are slipping.”
“He’s been sick for 2 weeks.”
“Her friends have all dropped her.”
“Some of the boys he’s hanging out with aren’t good influences.”
“All we seem to do is fight.”
“She was supposed to be home an hour ago.”

We love our children.  We want the best for them.  And we worry.

As soon as I catch myself, I try to turn my worry into prayer. I say ‘try’ because it’s an effort.  It’s truly hard to not worry.  After all, we’ve developed this pattern over a lifetime. God knows this about us.  He can lead us out of this exhausting pattern.

Identifying our fear and surrendering it to God is a great first step. The more detail we unload to God the better:

“Lord, her grades are really slipping and I don’t know how else to help her.  I’m afraid she might fail the class. I give this fear to You. Please fill me with your peace and show me Your way.”

“Father, I don’t have a good feeling about his new friends. I give you my fear that they are bad influences. Please show me how to walk through this.”

DSC02291When we rely on what we think, see or hear, it’s easy to imagine a grim picture, which leads to worry. As we turn to rely on God, He receives our burden while comforting us and grows our faith.

God does not want us to be shaken.  Worrying fuels wobbling.  He desires that we are strengthened, in and through Him.

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12.28)

Worshipping God shifts our focus to the One who can, and will, do what is best at the time that He knows is best.  Thanking Him for how He has been and continues to be faithful to us refresh our soul.

Lord God, lead us from the prison of worry to the freedom of faith.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11.1)

Discouragement

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Ps. 27.14)

My kids don’t listen to me.  Our child is being bullied.  We can’t agree on anything…  Our son has stopped communicating with us.  Our daughter is depressed.  They fight all the time.  I think she has an eating disorder.  He’s failing 3 subjects.  She has no friends.  He’s making so many bad decisions…

Discouragement.   It’s the enemy of courage and confidence.

“Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!” (Ps. 31.24)

First, there’s a minor incident but we ignore it or try to convince ourselves that we’re making something out of nothing.  Or there’s a major issue, but we think, “I’m not going to let this get me down…”  Perhaps we pray about the circumstance, that it will change.  Then the issue begins to increase, or there’s no change for the better.  We grow more discouraged and, as a result, heavy of heart.

Hard circumstances can really pack a punch.  The good news is God is sovereign over ALL of them.  If it happens, He knows.  He knows before hand. This is hard to get our minds around, especially as trials drag on.

God faithfully counsels us.  He tells us to take courage, to let our heart take courage.  His courage. He gives it to us for our journey.

God is with us and wants to tend our heart – if we’ll let Him in.  Too often when I’m discouraged, I don’t remember this right away.  As a result, I dump onto my husband by taking it out on him, whine to a friend, or take on a complaining attitude about … well, everything.

The wise way to deal with discouragement … take it to the Lord.  I’ve taught this to our kids, too.  First, I ask the Lord to show me ALL that I’m discouraged about, every detail, because I want to EMPTY this closet!  Next, I pray, “Lord, I give you ….”, naming every single detail.  I imagine Him taking these into His hands or onto an altar.  Then I invite the Lord to fill me, “Lord, fill me with Your Holy Spirit.  I need Your encouragment.”  As we invite the Lord to walk with us – unloading our feelings, the circumstances, the people – He meets us with HIs comfort and peace.

Jesus prepares His disciples that difficult times are ahead, while at the same time comforting and exhorting them, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16.33)

We’re not to bear up and be strong on our own.

Trusting God to be faithful, depending on Him to meet us where we are, as we share our heart with Him … He enables us to be strong, to take courage and place our confidence in Him.