I often become lost in the madness of my own thoughts. I find myself worrying about what might happen tomorrow, in a week, or years from now. And then, it’s like I’m drowning in a sea of what if’s. What if I fail? What if my dad dies? What if I travel on my own and I get lost? What if someone steals my passport? What if I miss my flight? What if my mom gets sick? What if our apartment catches on fire? What if, what if, what if….
I spoke to my mom about this a few weeks ago and her response was, “what if it doesn’t? What if everything goes the right way, instead of the wrong way?” This concept sort of blew my mind for a quick second because, I naturally gravitate towards the worst possible scenario. I imagine the most horrific events and outcomes that can possibly occur and add them to my ‘lose sleep over this,’ ‘burden myself with everything that’s wrong with the world’ pile. Lately, I’ve been realizing the dangers of this practice. And I know you’re probably thinking, “what’s the big deal? They’re just thoughts….” But here’s the thing, it’s detrimental because the thoughts that were once just figments of my imagination start becoming my reality. Instead of “what if?” I start believing that, “it will,” and then I find myself stuck in a vicious cycle that goes something like this,
“What if, x,y,z?”
“Wait don’t think like that, you’re a child of God and He cares for you. God wants you to trust Him.”
“Okay, I’ll just trust Him.”
“I can do this, I’ll trust Him and it’ll be okay.”
“But God, what if x,y,z?”
“Shhh, just trust him”
“Bad things will probably happen just because I don’t want them to happen…”
“Yeah, everything will crash and burn”
*Repeats about four more times until my anxiety meter is at 199%
I know, I KNOW that “Christians aren’t supposed to think that way” because God is awesome and omnipotent, and we’re supposed to trust him. But the truth is, sometimes even the most faithful believers of Christ struggle to fully grasp the abundance of promises He’s generously given to us. Sometimes, we let our own thoughts muffle the voice of the Spirit, or we allow the enemy to spew his lies into our stream of consciousness. I’m so, so guilty of this. I love God, but most times, I fail at truly trusting him. When it comes to other people I have no doubt that God can take care of every and any situation they will ever face, and even generate the most mind-boggling breakthroughs in their lives. Believing this for myself though? That’s when the anxiety kicks in full force.
Sometime last week, after falling prey to the trap of my own thoughts, I became so overwhelmed that I had to retreat in prayer. And I don’t mean the regurgitation of words that someone threw together in some cold, lifeless prayerbook. I mean real, honest, “God I’m no good, I’m failing at this. Why can’t I be better?” prayer. I basically told God every single reason why he should just forget about me because I fail him constantly. For some reason though, I decided to crack open my bible after my rant, and this is what I read….
My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body. I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart.
Psalm 38: 4-8 (NIV)
This immediately cued the waterworks. Not only did these words fully embody how I felt, but the knowledge of who authored them left me speechless. It was David…..David! This was a man that God thought of as His faithful one. A man that God LOVED, and even promised to care for his entire lineage because of how much He favored him. This made me remember something that I’ve always known, but somewhere along the way, let slip away. It is something that is truly amazing. It is a truth that might be hard to wrap your mind around, but it has the power to completely save your life. Here it is…
Just as it was with His beloved David, God sees and knows all of the struggles of our hearts. He sees what hurts us, he sees our greatest failures, he sees our weaknesses, and most importantly, he knows our true selves. God knows us. Even the dirtiest, grimiest parts of us. Yet, he loves us. He knows, yet he patiently waits for us to come to him, so he can graciously grant us forgiveness when we screw things up. He knows, yet he offers salvation. He knows, yet he loves us unconditionally.
I don’t know about you, but the thought that the Creator, can know, love, and care for me to such an extent, baffles me.
Even David was wonderstruck by this….
And he’s absolutely right. What are we, but mere beings? Why should God care for us? Why should He love us? Why should He breathe His faithful breath into our lungs each and every day? It can’t be because He has to. I am certain that no one can coerce Him into doing such a thing. After all, He is the Creator, and He can do whatever He wants, whenever He wants. So that leaves one other option, He cares because He WANTS to, because He CHOOSES to. He cares because He loves us, and He loves us because He cares. For those of you who are still wondering what the big deal is, I’ll tell you why this matters. Since God loves us to the extent that He does, we can know that He will take care of every and any what if situation we can torture ourselves with, as well as the real, life events that make us feel like we’ll crumble to pieces. And that, my friends, is the naked, honest truth.
Reminding myself of this is the only thing powerful enough to calm my anxious heart. Trust me when I say that this can free you of all your burdens. I’m not saying that all of your worries will just vanish into thin air, unfortunately, that will always be a part of life.
What I am saying is this…STOP fearing what might happen, and believe God’s promise to be your rock, fortress, strength, refuge, comforter, healer, savior, father, friend, shepherd, and so much more! And in the moments when it’s hard for you to believe, hold on to it as if you are fighting to stay alive because trust me, this truth will save your life, over and over and over again.
I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but that’s what I’ll do. I’ll try my hardest to cling to the sweet essence of God’s promises, because I remember now that He is my everything, and it’s okay to fail sometimes. What matters is that we remain faithful and obedient to Him, confessing our failures and sin like David did, and continuing to hold on, as we wait for him to calm all of our storms. This doesn’t mean that we won’t ever doubt Him, it just means that we will persist in reminding ourselves that his promises are true, and he is so so faithful.
So, I’m making it my goal to trash each and every single one of my what if’s, because my life depends on it. Instead, I will say, “God is my strength, and He will fix it, no matter what it is, He will fix it.”
Thanks for reading! Xxx