My oldest son can be rather dramatic. He only thinks in extremes. The power went off at our house. When I was explaining to him that the lights and electricity was off, he interrupted me with “FOREVER?!”. No… No, son. Not forever. If he earns himself a punishment, I have to convince him that loss of privilege is temporary. Sometimes, he feels so guilty that he will try to add on extra punishments to what we’ve already determined. Poor kid. He gets stuck, especially if it’s something unpleasant.
I can relate. I have battled that “play, rewind, play” cycle about that awful conversation in my own mind. I am guilty of letting a single unfortunate event kill my day, my joy. I have had rough weeks. Months. God, I need a break. I need some relief. It’s never gonna happen. When, God?
And what do we do? How do we push the stop button? How do I reign in the extreme feelings back down to rationality?
How do I keep from losing my joy?
There’s a plan. I like a plan. A system. A rule to follow. Order in chaos.
I think in some situations, always needing a plan can hinder me spiritually, because God is not about making sure that I always know what to expect. But. I have found that God IS a God of order. And peace. And He wants to give me this peace.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Here’s the plan. Next time you’re frustrated, overwhelmed, depressed, experiencing any emotion that tempts you to respond in an ungodly manner, acknowledge that hard thing, recognize your feelings, but here’s the weird thing. The unnatural thing. Boast about it. Be glad about it. Rejoice about it.
Why? Because in boasting about our own infirmities, we also recognize that God can take our bad days, our hard things, and dump His grace all over them. Yes, we’ve all heard of life-changing grace, but how about crappy-day-changing grace? A solution to a problem is a great start for me. Assurance that the step I take is the right step.
And here’s God’s word, telling me what I can do, what I should do, when I’m overwhelmed.
Realize, acknowledge that I am, in fact, overwhelmed. In over my head. Incapable and inadequate. On pretty much everything.
“I say to the Lord , “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” Psalms 16:2
Recognize, acknowledge that God is absolutely capable and infinitely more equipped than anything of my own efforts.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” Ephesians 3:20
Recognize, acknowledge that each hard thing is an opportunity for God to be glorified in me.
“‘… For My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
In order for a flower to grow, there must be a hole dug, soil broken, rocks and weeds cleared away.
To administer healing medicine, sometimes the skin must be pierced. A plastic tube must be placed, an irritating and uncomfortable thing that you kinda wish would go away, but it needs to be there. It has a purpose.
Is my hard day maybe a stab of pain that serves to open up my veins to receive the healing, redeeming, strengthening, joy giving, power of Your Holy Spirit?
What a reason to boast! What a reason to rejoice! “… That the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Yes, Lord. Teach me this plan. Teach me Your plan. Help me, discipline me, empower me to look at each moment of panic, each dragging week of drudgery, each wit’s end and blinding anger, each sense of anxiety as an opportunity to glorify You. To allow Your power to rest upon me. To rejoice in the grace that You have for me. To boast of You.
Let me be still. Let me come back to what I know, come back to You. Let me set aside my mood and circumstances, my tendencies to thrash around angry or sullen, and make room for Your power and grace to take over.
Let me praise You for where You put me. For the joy and inconvenience and discomfort and laughter and tears and hurt and the awful and the amazing.
To God be the glory
Great things He had done!