I sat outside my office, leaning against the wall, just trying to catch my breath. I felt like the weight of the world was crashing in on me. Wave after wave after wave of doubt and fear engulfed me.
My heart sunk into my chest and gripped my ribs so hard I thought I would pass out as I thought about all of the bills and worries piling up. Student loans, credit card payments, rent, electric, gas, groceries, friends not speaking to me, I’m not eating enough, I’m eating too much, I’m failing at my job…I felt stuck, immobile.
You know that feeling when you’re so overwhelmed with life that all you want to do is take a nap? You know when that feeling becomes like an old, crusty, familiar friend that comes day after day after day after day after day? Your mind starts to race with all the things that you’ve done wrong. It’s really quite funny how the mind works, isn’t it? One moment we can be thinking about what’s for lunch and the next moment our brain rabbit trails down a never ending road where we end up in prison because we didn’t pay our bills on time and all of our plants and dreams are dead.
Stop. Stop right there.
We’ve all been there. We’ve all been down this never ending negativity train where our mind gets the best of us. It’s incredibly tempting to allow this snowball effect to take root, and, if I’m being honest, it’s pretty easy for me to fall into this place. You might be thinking, “woah this girl is emotional.” You might be right, but if there’s one thing that I’ve learned this year, though, it’s that emotions are neither “good” or “bad.” Emotions are merely indicators that there’s a bigger issue that we need to deal with. I stumbled across this Psalm over the past few days that has really shifted my perspective. Psalm 116:7, “I tell myself, You can be at peace again, because the Lord has been good to you.” Wow, right?
Emotions are merely indicators that there’s a bigger issue that we need to deal with.
There was a song that came out recently by Housefires called, “Good Good Father,” which you may or may not have heard by now ;). It proclaims in an anthemic cry, “you’re a good good Father, it’s who You are.” But how many times do we actually put that into play? When we’re in the midst of the storm, when we’re in the midst of trials, when we’re in the middle of panic, how many times do we start to proclaim, “You’re so good!” It’s hard, and I am absolutely guilty of not offering up that truth enough. But look how the Psalmist commands his circumstances into truth. “I tell myself, You can be at peace again, because the Lord has been good to you.” So I started to ask myself, how has He been good to me?
Well, He has restored countless friendships and relationships. He has miraculously provided finances for me to pay my bills. He has given me sweet friends who have, on numerous occasions, paid for my groceries. He gave me breath. He made the stars, which I find such beauty in! There are so many things that remind me that He really is good. The scriptures also say that those who put their trust in the Lord will not be put to shame (Romans 10:11, Psalms 25:3, Isaiah 54:4).
When I’m allowing my circumstances to dictate how I feel, how I act, the trajectory of my thoughts, then I’m not placing my trust in the right place. If I’m placing my trust in the Lord, but I’m still feeling overwhelmed or caught in the shame trap, I need to adjust my perspective. Where am I placing my hope? Where am I placing my trust? Am I placing it in my ability to make money to make ends meet, or trusting my friends or job to fulfill my desires? Either way, I’m placing my trust in the wrong things.
Psalm 116:7, “I tell myself, You can be at peace again, because the Lord has been good to you.”
These feelings of insecurity, doubt, fear, worry, they’re not bad. In fact, they lead me to the deeper issue. I trusted my fears more than I trusted my Savior. My pain and doubt had become so prevalent and so familiar in my life that I started trusting in those feelings as truth more that I trusted in the truth of who God is. God is good.
I challenge you today to look at your life, past the circumstances of what you’re dealing with, and ask yourself, how has He been good to me? Maybe a stranger paid for your Starbucks, maybe your bills were miraculously paid, maybe you got the job you wanted, or maybe you simply got a hug from a friend.
If you’re in a place of rejoicing, I challenge you to write down and keep writing down the things that remind you of His goodness for you! That way when you are facing challenging circumstances again, you can lift your head tall and declare with confidence, “Quiet down heart, you can be at peace again because He has been good to me, and here’s how!”