The circumstances of my days can destabilize me, knock me out of balance, and leave me wavering in weakness. In my weakness I worry. In my worry I wander. Dogged by doubts and coerced by fears I can stray aimlessly down suggested side trails in the hopes that roaming will lead to a place of refuge, redemption, and renewal.
I attempt to “fix” that which feels out of control. If at first I don’t succeed, I try, try, again. And again, and again, and again. Taking this turn then that turn, followed by another and another until I am completely turned around with no sense of direction, impaired by my own impatience, and on fire with frustration.
What do we do if we are on fire? Every fire safety lesson we have had in life has given us these directions as an answer: Stop. Drop. Roll.
What do we do if we are lost, confused, impatient, and frustrated with the circumstances of lives? We need to: Stop. Stay. Pray.
“If you will humble yourselves
under the mighty hand of God,
in his good time he will lift you up.
Let him have all your worries and cares,
for he is always thinking about you and
watching everything that concerns you.”
1 Peter 5:6-7 (TLB)
Stop: Bring the wandering motions and aimless movements of your mind & body to a halt.
Being able to come to a stop comes from one of two places.
The first is a mess. We do not often stop when things are going well. Stopping most often occurs when something hurts, when something breaks, or when things are not going the way we plan.
The second is maturity. When we have acquired enough wisdom to know that action for the sake action, just to do something, do anything, is not always best.
Whether we are brought to a stop out of brokenness or choose to stop out of wisdom, we experience a humbling acknowledgement that we ourselves do not have the capacity to be in control of our circumstances.
To allow God to choose the best time to change our circumstances is to show Him reverence and respect.
To wait upon the Lord is to trust Him and to trust His timing. The Lord’s good time, due time, and His course of time. To stay is to make the choice to wait, watching the pages in the calendar pass by without resuming aimless motion and movement.
Out of these three steps – stop, stay, pray – I firmly believe this one is the hardest. It takes supernatural strength to stay.
We live in a world that tells us that movement makes progress, progress produces prosperity, prosperity provides success, success will make us happy, and happiness will endow us with fulfillment. If we believe this then staying still, or not moving, will cause us to forfeit progress, prosperity, success, happiness, and fulfillment.
To stay does not mean the same thing as to do nothing. We can be active waiters. We can stay in the Word of God reading and studying scriptures. We can continue purposefully in the last thing we know God called us to do.
“Don’t be impatient for the Lord to act!
Keep traveling steadily along his pathway and
in due season he will honor you with every blessing,
and you will see the wicked destroyed.”
Psalm 37:34 (TLB)
This is a step we will not be able to do on our own. We will require help and accountability to trust the timing and to steadfastly stay the course.
Pray: Communicate with the Lord.
Take every care, concern, worry, doubt, fear, joy, celebration, question, happy thought, and delight to the Lord.
1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” If you look up the word cast on webster.com you can find the definitions to “send forth by throwing” or to “throw off or throw away”.
When it says to “cast” our cares we are not talking about tendering placing a silver tray in front of the Lord without a sound.
We are talking about taking everything aching inside of us and vomiting it up with groans & whole body heaving. If you are anything like me, vomiting is the last thing you want to do. In fact some of you are probably wishing I had deleted this section because you are gagging just from the image the word vomit produces. But at the same time, can we admit that we feel much better once we have thrown it all up?
God cares about us so much, loves us each so deeply that He can handle all of our vomit. I believe God would rather hold our hair back as we heave out the mushy, chunky, acidic mess rotting away within us than watch us writhe in pain and agony trying to keep it all inside.
C.S. Lewis once stated, “We must lay before him what is in us, not what ought to be in us.”
We can feel like we should to bring the Lord sweet incense, fruit without blemish, the fatted calf, and best desserts a five star chef can craft. But, if a mushy, chunky, acidic mess is rotting away inside of us, that is what we need to bring before the Lord.
Sacrificial and extravagant love takes us vomit and all. It is God’s nature of love and abundant generosity that has Him watching over us constantly, tending to the details of our lives, and connecting needs with gifts & talents.
Live it Out
Are there any areas of your life where you need to STOP wandering aimlessly in your movements or in the thoughts of your mind?
Are there any circumstances in your life where you need to STAY and wait upon the Lord?
PRAY. Take a few minutes today to go to the Lord and lay before Him whatever is inside of you. Vomit up all of those cares, worries and anxieties.
Pray Through It
When we find ourselves turned around, with no sense of direction, impaired by our own impatience, and on fire with frustration as we try to “fix” our circumstances please help us to STOP, STAY, and PRAY.
Help us to bring to You all that damages us, destabilizes us, weakens us, and diminishes us. Help us to lay before You that which is good along with that which is just gross.
Lord, help us to see that it is Your mighty hand that offers us the stability, the security, and the strength that we so deeply desire in our hearts to help us overcome and find good within broken circumstances.
In the patient and steady name of Jesus, amen.