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Wednesday

Now, Faith...


I have a sensitive heart.

I worry about dogs wandering the side of the road, butterflies in traffic, and kids who seem sad.

I carry these things with me--all the time--until, after a while, they get heavier, and heavier, and I break down. I give them to God, and I lay them down. And then when I'm feeling strong enough, suddenly I find myself in a new day, picking up new burdens like little packages that need my care. And I start to worry more and more that if I don't tend to them, no one else will care.

This is a problem in my life.

This might be my biggest struggle against God.

I have a hard time letting go because I care so much. Recently, a mockingbird made a nest in our maple tree, and I started using leashes when I took the dogs outside because I was just sure they were going to get the birds. I fretted and fretted and prayed and prayed and prayed, and one day I went out there and found the nest on the ground. This was very upsetting to me. Just three mockingbird eggs, but they had life. And I feel this ever-present responsibility to care for life.

Have you been there? Maybe your circumstances are different, but do you pick up little burdens throughout your days and hold on to them as if they won't inevitably bring you down? As if they somehow need your care to be okay?

God has been teaching me two things lately. Letting go, and that little acts of faith matter. Let me explain.

What is faith if we cannot, at the end of it all, simply let go to God? 

Many times, when we feel this urge to tend to things, it comes from a good heart. I am passionate about creation and want to care for it the best I can. Praying about these things is good. Praying as a vehicle for control is not. There's this fine line where we step back and realize that our attempts to please God are nothing and that He simply wants us. Not that we shouldn't bring our concerns, our hearts to God, but rather, if we pick them right back up afterwards, what good has it done?

And then the other thing--how little acts of faith matter. I don't know about you, but I live under this constant feeling of not being good enough. I don't know where this came from. I was never in an environment that perpetuated this tendency, so the only conclusion I can draw is that it must've come from somewhere deep within. I am a perfectionist. I like things well-done, but I am rarely satisfied. And so when I am filling my figurative backpack with all these heavy rocks, they begin to weigh on me. I inevitably try to tackle the problems myself, all at once. And I always, always fail. Oh, it may look like a great success to the outside eye. But I know where I could've done better. And this makes me tired.

But is this the life God has called us to? Has He not given us a framework for laying these burdens down, once and for all? Has He not offered us peace instead of the worry that comes when we become overly invested in solving our own problems?

Last night, God led me to Hebrews 11 before bed. Speaking of which--daily quiet times, there's a great example of a situation where I always feel like I'm dropping the ball. Can you relate? I wish I had space to copy the whole chapter here, so instead, I'm going to give this link: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+11&version=NIV

"Now faith," it says, "is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for."


The rest of the chapter goes on to outline some of the giants of the faith and all of a sudden, you come to see the Old Testament is this beautiful outline of people who believed God, and it was counted to them as "righteousness." Moses is one of the examples given, and I'm always amazed by that, because really, it would seem Moses lost his faith in God's promise, would it not? But he still gets a shout-out. Which is so encouraging, isn't it, to know our faith doesn't have to be perfect in order for it to count.

I hope you're encouraged today to know God loves you right where you are. And as well all strive to be better, to do things well as we run around throughout the day, may we also remember the reason behind it all.

8 comments:

  1. Oh, yes. I can so relate to this. "I don't know about you, but I live under this constant feeling of not being good enough." I think I struggled with this the most when I was in my twenties. The last few years, I've been learning that I really don't have anything to prove. I was clinging so tight to my dreams and plans, I wasn't opening my hands to receive God's blessings for my life. And boy, His blessings are so much bigger than anything I could have ever dreamed up by myself.

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    1. Isn't that amazing, Julie? How when we finally just let go, we realize God had something bigger planned for us all along? Thanks for sharing!

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  2. You know what? When deciding what I wanted to do with my career, I seriously considered being a counselor. I'm a good listener (so I've been told). People like to confide in me.

    But I knew that if I became a counselor, I would take every single sad thing home with me, think about it constantly. And I couldn't do it.

    I love what you said here: Praying about these things is good. Praying as a vehicle for control is not.

    How often do I pray in order to get what I want? How often do I not remember to pray, but worry instead?

    I definitely think worry is my biggest struggle. I even worry about worrying too much. ;)

    Thanks for the reminder that God knows all of that and loves me anyway. He is greater than my worry.

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    1. I do the same thing, LIndsay! I'm realizing that so often, my prayers spawn more worry, and I think think that's how prayer is supposed to operate... it shows me that I'm not really giving these things to God. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

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  3. Yes, I know what you're talking about! I'm a worrier. So when I pick up these burdens, they stay with me, in my mind all day long and into the night, taking over. I still have so much to learn and I'm grateful God is patient and teaching me lessons every day in order to be a better person for Him and the people around me.

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    1. They do take over after a while, don't they, Cindy? I feel that way too. It's like I can handle fretting about a few things for a little while (or at least, I feel like I can), but then before long, they start getting heavier and heavier the longer I carry them. So true!

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  4. Oh, Ash! I worry about lots of stuff. This is why I can't watch the news. Something inside me wants to fix everyone's problems, and when it comes to big issues, I just can't help but feel helpless and weighted with doom that all is lost. I need to remember your analogy of the backpack and the rocks. God HAS created a wonderful plan for us to lay down our burdens so we aren't handicapped to do His work. It's so difficult to do, but it is so freeing in the end.

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    1. I feel that way about the news too, Angie. Sometimes it weighs to heavily on me that I feel like I can't escape the wight of it. And it also gives me a distorted view of the world because I forget all the good things that are going on at the same time.

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