“Lean on God.” It sounds simple. It’s easy to lean on physical objects, but a little more complicated to lean on someone you can’t see. Over the last few months our family has had some very stressful things. A broken bone, a move, remodeling a fixer upper. I’ve met plumbers, a worker for the gas company, spilled sweat and tears. Everything just sort of piled up all the sudden, it’s just plain been a stinky week.
When I think of the core words that describe my identity; mom, homemaker, homeschooler, etc. not one core area of my life was in my control during this move. I couldn’t make healthy meals, I couldn’t clean my house. Our house was in so much chaos that our whole family couldn’t even sit in the same room to eat during some weeks. It was easy to feel that things would never get settled.
I don’t want this to come across as me saying I have this down. I’m so thankful that Psalms records all the times that psalmists cried out to God and basically whined about their situation, because I have done a lot of whining this year.
Set Aside the Emotions
First, just go ahead and stop beating yourself up for your emotions. Emotions aren’t facts. God is in control whether you feel like he is or isn’t. What matters is that you say (out loud if you need to) “God’s got this.”
My emotions rarely lined up with what I picture when I imagine Paul and Silas singing praises to God in the Philippi prison. Consciously give your emotions to God. Acknowledge that they don’t reflect the faith you want to have in him in this situation, and give it to him.
Go Ahead and Cry
Read some Psalms. Job is a great book for walking through dark times, but don’t skip the Psalms. I have marked every time in the Psalms that the word cry appears. Breaking down doesn’t mean you failed to trust God. It just means that life is overwhelming. Will you stay in that state of breaking down, or will you pray in your stress that God will help you?
Turn to Scripture
I have a few Scripture passages that I turn to when I am struggling. When I feel anxious I read Matthew 6. If things feel out of control I turn to Psalm 121. A stressful day with the kids means I think of Psalm 127. Notice I let my feelings drive me to Scripture, not away from it. I’m going to have emotions, it’s what I do with them that shape my stressful weeks.
What I love about these Scriptures is that they are not only concrete statements that don’t change, they take me back to other times that God delivered me. When I had a period of overwhelming migraines, I would stand at my window and look at the mountains while I said Psalm 121. Now when I say the Psalm, I remember that God delivered me from those, and that this problem is not bigger than he is either.
Find A Heart Song
Go ahead and start to shape a playlist wherever you listen to music that is specifically for these weeks. A short playlist that I use contains these songs:
- Worn- Tenth Avenue North
- Once and For All- Lauren Daigle
- Living Hope- Phil Wickham
- The Eye of the Storm- Ryan Stevenson
- Blessed Assurance- Fanny Crosby
- Praise the Name- Hillsong
- Be Thou My Vision- Rend Collective
- Rescuer- Rend Collective
Fill your heart with music that points you to God. Let an encouraging song get stuck on repeat in your head as you go about your day. Going to these Scriptures and listening to or singing these songs are intentional, concrete things that I can do whether my emotions line up with their message or not. I can pray that God will make my heart line up with what honors him.
Go to Church
An exhausting week can tempt me to stay in my jammies and just veg at home. Don’t do it! Don’t take away that opportunity for God to speak to your heart through worship or sermon.
In the big scheme of life, not having a stove for a couple weeks is a small problem. When I go to church it reminds me as I pray for my fellow believers, that there are so many, much bigger problems. Let others pray for you and share with them. Also, take time to get out of your world to share in another believer’s needs.
Talk to Other Believers
Be honest when someone asks you how things are going. I shared my frustration when our remodel meant that we didn’t have a working stove for a few weeks. A friend at church lent me her instapot. If I hadn’t shared that burden, those weeks would have been so much more frustrating. Also, I would have taken that opportunity from her to be a blessing. Think of how you enjoyed blessing someone in the past and let someone have the chance to do that for you.
The ladies at my church who prayed for me blessed me over and over with their prayers. We rejoiced together each time something new came together to relieve my stress. Also, since we were all sharing, we rejoiced at their victories at the same time and prayed over new concerns.
Lean on God
Whether you do some or all of these things or whether you have a different list, consider your heart motives. In Mark chapter nine, a boy’s father approaches Jesus for healing for his son. The father is fearful that his boy will be killed by the spirit that torments him. He has lived with this evil presence and the fear it brought for years. He has come to Jesus because he has nowhere else to turn. In 9:24, he cries “I believe; help my unbelief!”
My emotions lie to me daily. They say that God is not enough, that he doesn’t see me and much more. When I ignore and set aside my feelings of distrust, I am crying to God “help my unbelief!” I’m so thankful that he doesn’t take my emotions as the only facts either, that he stands ready to rescue me.
I want to hear from you! comment below with your strategies for dealing with the bad days.