Have you ever had that feeling in life like the bottom is going to drop out? Like if one more thing goes wrong you will just crumple like a pile of yesterday’s laundry?
Some years ago I had a season like that. Everything seemed to be going wrong. Unexpected job transitions, health problems, super tight finances, and family conflict on top of trying to raise the kiddos, keep our marriage afloat and somehow not lose my mind completely.
It seemed like life wouldn’t slow down enough for me to catch my breath, let alone gather my strength. When I did catch a moment of peace, I spent it frantically writing lists, trying to plan my next move and anxiously waiting for the other shoe to drop. Again.
On top of that, I wasn’t taking good care of myself. I had completely packed my schedule, so I was always on the go and sometimes double booked myself thinking I could somehow bend time to my will. I wasn’t getting enough sleep and was constantly eating on the way to or from someplace. I found myself needing to drink coffee all day to stay sharp and try to keep all the plates spinning. Then in the evening, I was so tired, wired and anxious that I would find myself turning to a glass of wine to relax and dull the anxiety pains in my chest, hoping that my brain would let me sleep that night.
I would pray throughout the day, but it was more of a distracted cry to God to help me get from one task to the next. “Lord, give me strength.” I’d mutter under my breath as I refilled my coffee and reviewed my never ending to-do list.
One day, in the midst of this particularly messy season, I had spent the morning pouring over my planning notebook, venti coffee in hand, stressing and brainstorming how to get through another week. I knew God was just waiting for me to stop and turn to Him and really spend time with Him, but it felt like one more demand on my time that I couldn’t afford. Oh, how the devil loves to make us believe that lie when we are running on empty. The reality was that time with God was the one thing I couldn’t afford to miss!
But that morning, for some reason I remembered Jesus and how when the crowds were pressing in, and the demands on His time and resources were at a zenith, He often withdrew to lonely places to pray (Luke 5:15-16). Spending time with the Father was how Jesus recharged and realigned His perspective. I knew it was long past time to sit down with God and recharge.
I put down my planning notebook, picked up my Bible and found Psalm 62:5-8 (NLT):
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.
I sat quietly with His words in front of me, took a deep breath and said, “Hey God.”
My walls were still up, with a fierce independence in my heart. I hadn’t slowed down like this in so long, it was hard to let my guard down. I was fearful that letting Him in meant letting all of my emotions out and I wasn’t sure I could handle that.
After several minutes of silence, just sitting in His presence, I remembered who I was dealing with. This was the God who has been with me all along. He has pursued me in my darkest moments only to show me love and kindness. His very nature is love. He has set His heart on me, why shouldn’t I lay my whole heart before Him?
My shoulders started to relax, my breathing slowed down and I began to pour out my heart to Him. I sat on the floor, spilling my guts, and leaned against the edge of my bed as though they were His arms and cried. I told Him all I had been feeling and thinking, all that I needed and hoped for.
A couple of things happened in that moment, as I began to pour out my heart to the Lord.
First, my trust in Him was renewed. As I prayed, He reminded me that He was the God of all my moments, the One who has seen me through the best and worst of life. I could come to Him with anything, anytime. He would not only understand, He would hold me up and reign over every detail in my life with attention, love and kindness. He reminded me that He would provide for my every need, physical, spiritual and emotional. He would be my rock and my refuge, my redeemer and the ultimate source of my victory.
Secondly, my heart began to change. Spending time with God and praying to Him was not just an opportunity to get some things off my chest and make my requests. It was a time to renew my heart and my mind. For Him to show me where I was wrong and where I needed to change.
In His loving kindness, He brought my sins to light so that I could hand them right back to Him, asking for His forgiveness and for His help. I wanted to live in a right relationship with Him and in the abundance that He calls His children to, regardless of my circumstances.
That meant I had to trust in Him at all times. Not just when it fit into my schedule and I had the bandwidth for it, or when I had run out of other options. I had to adopt a rhythm of consistent and intentional relationship with Him. No more stubborn self-reliance and winging it on a latte and a prayer. It was time for real help and real transformation. Time to trust the One who could be trusted with everything.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, I began to make changes. I started creating margin in my schedule for rest and for God. I sought wise counsel and stopped relying on my own strength and the coping mechanisms of the world. No longer would I be ruled by my to-do lists and calendar. No longer would I be a slave to my stress and anxiety. I would trust God with all of it and allow Him to work in and around me in all situations.
While all of these changes are good things, they alone didn’t immediately alter my circumstances. The stresses would still be there for a while longer. But because of God, I had changed. My perspective had changed. My trust in God had changed. And in trusting God with my heart, I found peace that passed understanding and a strength that surpassed my own.
In God’s perfect timing, jobs eventually stabilized, family conflict resolved and relationships healed. Our marriage and kiddos thrived and we never went without anything we truly needed. Even when things worked out differently than we had imagined, God provided for us beyond all we could ask or imagine, and my faith was bolstered once again by God’s faithfulness and love.
We have all had seasons in life that felt like it brought way more than our fair share of hardship. Those times when we feel all we can do is wave the white flag and cry out to God for rescue. Sometimes there isn’t even anything in your heart that needs to change, you are just weathering what feels like an impossibly difficult season.
In these times, to hear “Pour out your heart to God and trust in Him at all times” can sound like such a platitude. But the truth is, God is faithful, yesterday, today and tomorrow. He does not fail, He sees us in our mess and is not idle. He works powerfully on behalf of His people and when we remember that we are His children, nothing can shake us! Trusting in Him will never leave us empty handed or unfulfilled. Even if things turn out differently than we imagine, we can be assured that God sees us, hears us and loves us so very much.
So be still before Him, let your guard down. With God, you are safe. He will never be careless with your heart. You can trust Him to hold you up and sustain you. Let Him lovingly show you if you are relying on anything other than Him to get by. Maybe it’s deep diving on social media or binge watching Netflix to escape. You could be leaning on staying busy (even with good things) to avoid turning to God and trusting in Him. I invite you today, instead, to ask God if there’s anything you need to change, and then step out in faith to ask for help when you need it.
We aren’t meant to navigate the struggles of life alone, and trusting in God is no different. We can encourage one another with our stories of God’s faithfulness and spur one another on to a deeper faith and trust in God. Chances are there is someone you know right now who is struggling to trust God with something and your story might just be what encourages them!
We want to be here for you as well. If you could use some prayer, encouragement or just someone to listen, drop us an email or comment and we will pray for you. God can be trusted with whatever you have going on in your life and He is there right beside you. Allow yourself to fall into His loving embrace, knowing that He will never let you down.