You know the ones. Everyone and everything is trying the Jesus in you. I’m there today, friend. One of the kids bombed the first unit math test. So, as a homeschooling mom, I’m feeling the weight of fear of failure as a teacher. My patience was thin, like a big old bubblegum bubble that’s stretched to massive proportions. It bursts. It gets everywhere! In your hair, alllll over your face…well you get the picture. It’s a big old mess.
The entire house is a wreck. The laundry pile is not massive, but the clean clothes are piled as high as my 4 year old. I thought I’d lost him in it for a bit, but we’re good now. As much as I’d love to be neat and tidy, I’m not. I mean I am, or was before living with 4 other folks. However, I am actively trying to become more diligent in that area, but it is still a struggle.
Maybe you’re there, too. Maybe you have tried your dead level best to be organized and it just gets destroyed minutes later. Maybe your to the point of packing it in and giving up because the frustration and anger are threatening to erupt like a volcano. Or maybe you don’t understand these thoughts at all. Praise the Lord for that! I’m pretty sure, however, that we all know someone that has been in this season.
I’ll be honest, I was starting to lose it. Not using kind tones when responding to innocent questions. Hyper-critical over every little thing not done exactly how I wanted it. I went to the bathroom and thought that’s it, I’m done! Have you ever seen Mom’s Night Out? It’s great. I highly recommend it. Anyway, the scene where the mom is hiding in her closet, eating chocolate, babbling about the new baby birds hatching…that speaks to my soul today.
My mind was swirling with all the grievances I had against my family and myself. The anger began to build more and more, and then…
I heard a still small voice in my heart saying, “Amanda, you have a choice. One is foolish and leads to sin, the other is wise and leads to Me.” “God, I am so angry! Nothing ever changes,” I said through sobs. “That’s not true. What is true?”, the Lord probed. “Well, it’s true that our family has been more joyful these last few months, and I’ve had less physical pain since You provided the opportunity to swim every day. But I’m still so overwhelmed that I don’t know where to start!” I cried out. The Holy Spirit convicted me, “You’ve talked to the kids about Peter’s lack of focus on Me. Have you focused on me today? Or have your eyes been looking to the left and right?” I hung my head and sighed knowing that God already knew the answer and so did I. “My eyes have been on my circumstances and not You, Lord.” God lovingly reminded me that I had a choice. “Which will you choose, Amanda? To give in to despair, crawl into the fetal position and wallow in self-pity, or will you seek Me in this moment?”
Let me pause there for a moment. Friend, the Lord is holy and righteous. He will point out your sin. Its ugly. It does not feel good to see ourselves in light of that sin. To be honest, its more like a punch in the gut. But you know what? No matter what God doesn’t force you to do anything. Its all your choice. The Christian life is not one without trials or heartaches. It is one of sacrifice of self, submitting our stubborn willful sin nature to the cross on which Jesus died for all mankind. But, ya’ll, it is so worth it.
I chose the later today. You might be thinking, “Oh, Amanda, its so easy for you! You’re smiling all the time!” Friend, I’ve chosen the former path and it led to some of the darkest times in my life.
Don’t choose your own way. Choose Jesus. It really is simple. As I blasted the Christian station on Pandora and read the Bible. God gave me a direction – fold the laundry. I’m sure you’ve heard before to fold the laundry and it will help give you a heart of gratefulness. It’s true, it can help. However, if we skip that first step of going to God first, then we are missing out of the power of God’s Word. His Word is what illuminates the deep seeded sin in our hearts. For me, it was selfishness, pride, anger, and perfectionism. Also, I’ll not for the ones who do not struggle with this, but for many (like myself) just going directly to the task only feeds that bitterness and anger. Why? Because the first and most important step has been left out – seeking Jesus.
When, not if, you have “one of those days”, let me encourage you to do the following:
- Retreat to a quiet place and cry out to God. Seek His wisdom over the situation.
- Read the Bible. Read passages that speak to the situation. (If you don’t have a concordance in your Bible, then go to http://www.biblestudytools.com & search for verses on [insert issue]. You’re simply looking for verse recommendations, not commentaries.) Stay in that moment with God for however long you need to, friend.
- Ask God to show you the sin hidden in your heart. For me it was recognizing that I hadn’t been patient, kind or gentle with my family. That was a direct result of focusing on the circumstances instead of my Savior. Maybe, like me, your reaction to the issues weren’t God-honoring. Maybe you were parenting from the world’s perspective, rather than God’s. Maybe your single or married without kids and you’ve been taking things out on your friends or spouse. We all face stress and deal with sin no matter what life stage we are in.
- Seek forgiveness. From God and any that you have wronged…yes, that includes your children and/or spouse if you have sinned against them.
- Turn on some Christian praise music & fold that laundry. At this point, your heart should feel the freedom of forgiveness and your eyes focused on the blessings of the task. If not, go back to the beginning. Go back to God & His word. Stay there all day if you need to. We must stay humbled at His feet in order to see more clearly the sin we struggle with and how to combat it. It might not be easy or pretty, but it’s worth it.
Friend, have a plan of action because those days will come. When they come, let the first thing we do be go to Jesus.
“Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (HCSB)
By His grace,