Have you ever had those days where not much goes right, or you receive startling news, or well, you’re just having a bad day?
It’s during those times that we’re supposed to have faith, trust God, face things with a smile on your face, right? Yeah, well…(insert eye roll here). I’m failing miserably at facing things with a smile.
I’ve had a tough couple of days and I’ve let out my frustration with anger and fear. Not being prayerful, not even calming down enough to take a breath and get a handle on the situation.
That’s not like me. As my husband and kids will tell you, I’m not one to yell. I don’t like arguments. If I’m upset about something, it’s best to leave me alone for a few minutes, until I can settle down and we can talk things through calmly. I don’t like harsh words spoken that we can’t retract.
As someone who has been writing about having hope and staying positive, well, I’ve done neither of those this past week. That makes me feel like a hypocrite and a fraud.
But I’m not. I’ve had a few bad days. I was thrown a curve ball and didn’t handle it well, but that doesn’t have to blow everything for me. It doesn’t mean God isn’t still working. And it doesn’t mean that I will continue to have bad days. It does mean, however, that I need to take a breath, calm myself, and dive right back into my faith, into Scripture and try to right myself.
We are living in uncertain times and I don’t know what the days or months ahead are going to look like. I have moments of trepidation for what the future holds for me. However, I don’t have to spiral down into a pit of despair, anger and frustration. I’m a flawed human being, and have emotions that get the best of me sometimes. But I’m not a fraud. I’m just human. And I can right the ship, take a breath and start all over again.
How about you? Do you have times where you don’t handle things well? How do you get back on track? I’d love to hear from you.
It’s not easy to live a fearless life – but isn’t that something we all long to do — live fearlessly?
I’m reading through Psalms right now, and I can’t stop thinking about Psalm 112, particularly verses 7-8 (NLT): “They do not fear bad news, they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.”
We all want to have a life without fear, but that doesn’t seem possible, especially in the year 2020. With a pandemic, anger, a lack of respect or kindness for one another…how can we not be afraid?
It’s almost automatic to get caught up in the “what if” game. What if I get Covid? What if the pandemic gets worse instead of better? What if we never see an end to this pandemic? What if I express my thoughts about the unrest in the United States right now? What if I stay silent? What if everyone stays angry? What if this is the new normal? What if I never feel safe again?
These questions swirl in our minds, with no quick answers forthcoming. This leads to worry, even panic, and to letting fear win.
As I mentioned last week, I’ve had to shut off the news and turn to my Bible. Despite the craziness of the world right now, one thing stays the same: the Word of God. He’s still here, rock steady, like the highest mountain. It may be hard to feel His presence, but He’s here.
I’m reminded to put my focus on Him, to have faith. Those who have faith can do what Psalm 112 says – we can confidently trust the Lord, and be confident and fearless.
I’m the first to admit that his is much easier said than done. But in taking daily quiet times, and focusing on the unchanging word of God, then I can face today with confidence. I know He walks with me, even if I can’t feel Him.
I have no words these days. And for a writer, that’s not a good state to be in. If I had to dig for words, and face these words head on, I can think of two: anger and uncertainty.
For the past few months, we’ve been living in an uncertain world. The pandemic left us all in a state of limbo and fear, with our worlds turned upside down.
Now, we have this terrible video of the death of George Floyd. And our nation seems to have erupted with anger. Yes, we should be angry and upset and disheartened that the actions of a few have now tarnished the entire police force. And there is anger over racism that should have long been eradicated in this country. There are some serious and very difficult issues to face with our nation, and that feeds into our anger and into our uncertainty.
The media is continually showing us the worst side of the protests, which turned into rioting and looting. Rioting is not protesting. Looting doesn’t belong in this equation. Violence, especially started by outside, not local, paid organizations, is criminal.
Protesting for a change of attitude, to fight for needed changes of behavior and change of heart and professionalism are warranted.
Now, I’m a Caucasian Christian woman who lives in the suburbs of a major American city. And because of that, I feel like there are no words I could say that would not be misunderstood, or that would make matters worse. I’ve already seen a blanket condemnation of caucasians, that we don’t understand. And that’s true. But that doesn’t mean I’m not compassionate, or feeling, or sick to my stomach at what’s happening in the world.
We shouldn’t condemn the entire police force with a single brush, or think that all people of color are criminals, or that all white people are privileged.
Right now, I’m angry, hurt, fearful and uncertain. As a Christian, I turn to my faith and prayer. As an American, I’m not sure what other action to take, but don’t take my temporary inaction as not caring. I want to take helpful steps, not fuel the fires of anger and hate. I will be cautious.
Finally, I’m the proud daughter of a military officer. I’m a supporter of the police (NOT the bad apples), but the police men and women who care about the citizens of their cities. Anyone who condemns the police in general, needs to go on a ride along with them on one of their shifts. I’m not sure they do ride-alongs anymore, but I was able to go on one for a college paper. And it changed my world forever. That was many years ago, so I can’t imagine what the police face today.
I guess I’m saying there needs to be respect, on all sides of the table. There needs to be forgiveness. If you can’t forgive the four former police officers in Minneapolis, then forgive the rest of the police force, no matter where you live. Don’t taint them all with the same brush. Just like you don’t like being tainted with the same false brush.
The media needs to show more and more of the positive things that are happening. People of the United States of America, no matter what skin color, need to unite for change. Respect where we come from, what our points of view are, then find the common ground. I bet there’s more common ground than we realize.
It’s funny, right now, I’m thinking of something my dad always says. A lot of folks are interested in tracing their ancestry, where they come from. My dad doesn’t understand that. He keeps it simple and says, “I’m American. I was born here. This is where I come from.”
If you are a citizen of these great United States, you are an American. We need to find a way to be united. We need to find a way to have differing opinions, but not condemn others for having a differing opinion. We can learn from each other by listening to each other.
So, besides the words anger and uncertainty, maybe the greater word we need to remember right now is LISTEN. Let’s listen to ALL sides. Let’s learn from each other. The continuing anger won’t solve anything. We’re all heartbroken over the death of George Floyd. So, there’s common ground right there. We’re all outraged. But now, let’s come together to fight the systemic issue of racism. We can respect each other’s backgrounds and cultures, and celebrate those. But we also need to remember, we’re citizens of the same country. We need to prove that we are what our name says: United States. We need to be a united people.
The division among us doesn’t solve problems. Maybe listening to each other, with the attitude of respect and the expectation of learning from each other will help us unite for a better America.
I’m re-reading a book I read a couple of years ago, “Fierce Faith” by Alli Worthington. I rarely re-read books (yet I’ll watch movies again and again – go figure!). But I spotted this book on the shelf by my chair in the living room and remembered how well I liked it. In this crazy, uncertain time, it seemed like the time for “Fierce Faith” again.
When I first read it two years ago, I was in caregiver mode. My parents had various health issues, and my brother was recovering from intense cancer treatment. At one point, I thought we were going to lose him. With all of that, my writing career was nowhere, as well. (I am happy to report that my parents and brother are all doing very well now, thankfully).
As I’m rediscovering this book, it’s interesting to see what jumps out at me today, now that we’re in the midst of this pandemic, as opposed to a couple of years ago. For example, from page 22, this speaks to me: “Fear freezes our faith. But when we fight, our faith frees us from fear.”
I’m the first one to admit, I am one who can “freeze” when I’m fearful or overwhelmed. Lately, I’ve been absorbed in puzzles. And of course, crochet is very therapeutic. All of that is okay to do, but not if I’m hiding from fear or from an overwhelming task. I need to remind myself to be prayerful, and have faith. In that way, I can move forward for a day, or even a single moment, at a time.
We have to trust that God is in control. I don’t say this flippantly – it’s hard to do at times. Especially when our circumstances may not change (COVID-19 isn’t going to disappear tomorrow!). We can KNOW that God is in control, but when our problems are still there, it’s difficult to hang on to that trust and faith.
However, it’s essential to do. Pour out your worry in prayer, cling to God’s word, listen to worship music. Do what you need to do to find peace. God’s got this. Don’t let fear freeze your faith. Philippians 4:6 starts with “Do not be anxious about anything…” Every day, we need to hang on to that, pray and worship, and truly believe God is still here.
All of your problems may not be solved with a single cry-out to God, but you will find the strength to keep pushing ahead. In time, you will know and be able to see that our faith really can free us from fear!
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