Life has been nothing but stressful and overwhelming the past few months. To be honest, most of the time in my life there's always something going on that can weigh down on me. It can get discouraging and sometimes I find myself asking God, "Can I ever get a break? Can anything ever be easy?" Sometimes I can get caught up in the trap of self pity, instead of running to the Lord and finding the strength that I have because of Him.
Being torn between hope and dismay is an exhausting cycle, and just because I'm a believer in Jesus Christ doesn't mean I don't wrestle with the two. It's a battle I face most days. But instead of settling deep down into despair, I should look to the Lord - the author of my hope and my strength.
My strength is the Lord. In times of distress and panic, it's not always easy to remember this, and often times when I forget I end up burrowing myself deep into my mind, instead of taking refuge in God. I don't want to have to panic at every little (or huge) thing that goes wrong or unexpected in my life. I want the first thing I do in those times is to turn to my Strength and take shelter in my Deliverer. It takes time, but I'm learning to do this.
"I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."
- Psalm 18:1-2
I have always found comfort and encouragement in Psalm 18, and for this season of life that I'm in the first two verses in this chapter really uplift my soul. The Lord is my strength and my rock. He is the only steadfast; the only constant. When I have no where else to run, He is always waiting patiently for me to dive into His peace. He is my fortress! I can take refuge in Him and know that I am safe and protected.
HOW I AM LEARNING TO TURN TO MY STRENGTH:
Taking a Deep Breath // To most people, this would be a pretty simple thing to do when one starts to panic, but since I struggle with anxiety, it's something I always have to remind myself to do. I know it's nothing deep or super spiritual, but taking a deep breath is practical and healthy. People can over-spiritualize things and make things what they're not, when all that's really needed to be done is to take a breath or to pause.
Prayer // When I talk about prayer, I don't mean fancy words all bundled together nicely. Prayer doesn't have to be fancy because God wants us to come as we are. Let's face it - the majority of the time when we come as we are, we're usually not all put together...right? Sometimes prayer looks like a peaceful conversation and other times it's like a raging storm. It's okay to yell and cry out to God! The most refreshing prayers are always the most raw and brutally honest.
Turn From Self // As I turn to my strength; the Lord, I'm ultimately choosing to turn from self. Neglecting your flesh in such a time of anxiety seems unrealistic sometimes, I know. But it doesn't have to be that way. Once I have take a deep breath and have paused for a moment, I can begin to think more logical and start to turn my focus to the Lord in my time of trial, instead of retreating into self. To do this, I need to remember that God is for me, not against me.
These steps are not easy, by any means and sometimes I'll fail. The important thing is that I get back up and continue on. That's always worth celebrating. Remember that for yourself.
Today I am collaborating with my sweet friend Rebeca from Blend My Love. We're giving away one of these beautiful mugs! When I first saw this mug with her haiku "My Savior" printed on it, I fell in love with it. It spoke to my heart and really grabbed my soul, because of the season I'm currently in. The haiku was inspired by the scriptures: Psalm 18:2, Isaiah 42:1, and John 17:6-19. The mug reads:
You are my fortress
The One my soul delights in
Keeper of my heart
To enter, complete the tasks in the Rafflecopter below. This giveaway runs from 6/19 through 6/25, and the winner will be chosen at random and announced on Monday, 6/26. All entries will be verified before announcing the winner, so please enter fairly!