Each week, I try to spend some time in prayer and reflection in order to figure out what to write on this blog. God faithfully teaches me each week and places something on my heart that I enjoy sharing with you. It keeps me accountable because I try to carefully listen to the Lord’s voice. However, to be honest with you, I had trouble thinking of something to share today.
Last night and this morning, God brought a specific moment that occurred yesterday to my mind. I was sitting on the couch editing some essays I am going to submit to my future university soon because I am competing for scholarships. I could even earn a full ride! I am very, very thankful for this opportunity, but the stakes are very high. So, I was editing, and all of the sudden, I felt a knot in my stomach. I felt extremely anxious that I was going to fail miserably, that I wouldn’t get the scholarship, and that I wouldn’t be able to pay for college. I began spiraling out of control in all of my crazy thoughts, and let me tell you, this is certainly not the first time something like this has occurred. God has really been teaching me to trust in him.
At first, I did not like the idea of writing a post about trusting in God. There are so many sermons, books, songs, and social media posts written about this topic. I wasn’t quite sure what I had to add. How many times do we hear that phrase in response to something that we are stressed or anxious about? “Oh, you just have to trust God!” As someone who struggled with anxiety throughout school, people told me this a lot, and as bad as this sounds, I really began to resent this phrase. I began to resent verses that are meant to bring peace such as 1 Peter 5:7 and Philippians 4:6. God has really grown me in this area, and I pray that my humble and incomplete thoughts on the topic of “trusting God” can provide some encouragement to you as well.
The first thing I realized about my struggle with worry is that I wasn’t “casting all of my anxieties on God” (1 Peter 5:7), and I wasn’t “presenting my requests to God” (Philippians 4:6). I thought I was praying but I was really just bottling everything up and worrying about it even more. I would ask God to take care of whatever I was worried about, but in my heart, I still felt responsible for it. I saw a beautiful post on Instagram not to long ago, and it read:
Reality check: Who is the one who can accomplish absolutely ANYTHING? Who is the Creator, the One who made the sun to shine and the grass to grow? The great Designer, who knew and knit YOU together in your mother’s womb? Who is the master, the Provider who owns all that is contained within the universe? Who is your truest father, the One who has your greatest GOOD at heart? Who is the Giver of WISDOM, the Alpha and the Omega who knows the course of all things, from the beginning of existence to the far reaches of eternity? Who is the Lord of Hosts, the One who commands the armies of Heaven to march into battle on your behalf? Who is the Sacrificial Lamb, who loves you so much that he laid down his life for your freedom? If you have not been living a life of PRAYER, drenched and directed by the realities above then REPENT! Stop complaining, worrying, doubting, and quitting. Take it to the Lord in prayer.
– Naomi Vacaro
This really hit me. How silly was I to think that I could take care of my problems? How silly was I not to speak to the creator of the universe, who so loves to hear from me and wants to help me? How silly was I to try to control my life? I heard another quote on instagram that said, “Stress and anxiety are signs of self-reliance,” and I know this to be very true. When I feel anxious about something, it is because I am grasping it with all of my might, trying to make things happen the way I want them to. I decided it was about time I truly handed things over to the Lord. I wanted to BE STILL or stop fighting (Psalm 46:10), and place it all in the Lord’s hands. As this song by Lauren Daigle says “I’ve tried to win this war, I confess,” but I wanted to stop trying because the Lord has it all under control.
So, I brought this specific and intense worry about college to the Lord in prayer. I laid it all out, writing in my cute little prayer journal, sharing my thoughts with the Lord, and low and behold… the Lord gave me peace. He gave me the peace he promises in his word. He gave me the peace he promises us when we stop trying to take control, acknowledge that he is 100% in charge of our lives, and trust in him, having full confidence that he will take care of everything for us.
While I would like to say that all of my problems were solved the day I truly offered my worries up to the Lord in prayer, that is not at all the case. Those of us affected by anxiety know it likes to creep up again and again and again. I live in a sinful and fallen world, and I know that I will probably deal with this struggle until the day I go home to be with the Lord. But that is okay. That is okay because I can joyfully bring these worries to the Lord again and again and again. He never tires of hearing from me.
God has also been teaching me a lot about persistence in prayer. I think I told you about the study on prayer I did by Cynthia Heald, and it contains a chapter about this very topic. It talks about how presenting the same requests to God over and over allows him to grow us many ways. That daily choice to rely on him changes our hearts. It causes us to rely on him completely, not attempting to take care of anything ourselves. I have even become thankful for my struggle with anxiety because it pushes me so much closer to God. I am more quick to pray when I feel that knot in my stomach, and God always gives peace.
Thank you for sticking with me through this long post!! 🙂 Lastly, I would like to share a quote by Andrew Murray with you:
The blessing of such persevering prayer is unspeakable. There is nothing so heart-searching as the prayer of faith. It teaches you to discover and confess, and give up everything that hinders the coming of the blessing; everything there may be not in accordance with the father’s will. It leads to closer fellowship with Him who alone can teach to pray, to a more entire surrender to draw nigh under no covering but that of the blood, and the Spirit. It calls you to a closer and more simple abiding in Christ alone. Christian! Give God time. He will perfect that which concerneth you.
What an awesome God we serve! I will put my trust in him, having full confidence that he knows what is best for me and has planned out my life way better than I ever could!