I’m an obsessive Thinker. I can get stuck in my own head for weeks at a time. But I’m also a textbook Feeler. I feel everything far too intensely.
So when God is carving convictions into my soul, when His hand is at work preparing and impassioning me to do something uncomfortable and risky, or to love others at great cost, I tend to over-think and over-feel the whole process. What He is doing in power, for infinite good and glory, isn’t improved by me trying to work it all out in my head and heart.
But I want to make sure I make the RIGHT decision. I want God’s very best. What if I misunderstood Him? What if this isn’t the right trajectory? What if I fail? What if I hurt or offend people I dearly love?
It’s a little like watching a master carpenter build a beautiful house while the future resident keeps dropping by, anxious to see that every nail and board is placed just so. He loses sleep over the stucco and wonders whether the neighbors will mind the daring design.
Have you been there? Have you wasted thoughts and feelings and energies on trying to improve designs God has already perfectly planned out?
Psalm 127 is a familiar Bible passage, but its truths can seem elusive to me if I don’t press myself into them to believe them:
“Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil,
for He gives to His beloved sleep.”
Yes, there is a time and a place for me to wrestle deeply with issues and questions and ramifications. But there is also a time when God says, “Colleen, be still and know that I am God.”
Sometimes being still and believing is the hardest work I can do. Isn’t that crazy? I have to work so hard at quieting my heart before God and trusting Him. When He’s calling me to walk forward by faith to places I’ve never walked before, where neither past experiences nor present pragmatism can offer safety or guarantees, I need a ginormous view of God to hold me steady and press me forward.
A prayer from The Valley of Vision cared for me so tangibly over the course of this past week:
“Grant that I may never trust my heart,
depend upon any past experiences,
magnify any present resolutions,
but be strong in the grace of Jesus.”
Dear one, Christ understands how nerve-wracking obedient faith can be. (Remember the Garden of Gethsemane?) He is intimately acquainted with our weaknesses; He meets us with His compassion where we are tender, fearful, tired, or anxious. He stands ready with resurrection power to strengthen us for the task at hand. We don’t have to strive and stew over the plans He has for us (nor over what others think of those plans.) Rather, we learn to echo the psalmist’s words:
“O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.”
May God grant us the grace to quiet ourselves before Him today, to hush our insatiable thoughts and feelings in His love. “The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.”
In what area of your life is God calling you to walk by radical faith? What is one way you can quiet yourself and trust the Lord today?
References: The Valley of Vision, ed. Arthur Bennett; Proverbs 3:5,6; 1 Peter 3:4; Psalm 131; 1 Thessalonians 5:24