I told one of my friends on the phone a few weeks back that I felt like we’ve been playing whack-a-mole in our family. It’s really apparent since we’ve adopted but thinking back, it’s been true across the board. It seems like every single week there is something new to worry about.
The first week was the food and the next it was his trust of me, then it was the sibling rivalry and then it was, well, sibling rivalry never went away, but this week it is his education and medical treatment. It feels like a game of whack-a-mole where once you think you sort-of, kind-of have one issue tamped down, another pops up.
This happens with our house. You have a water leak in the bedroom, and then your van needs tires, and then there’s a hail storm and you need new siding, and then the dryer doesn’t work, and then, well, you know, it just keeps going. There is always something.
Our moles, if you will, lately have been bigger and scarier and very unknown. I don’t know which hammer to use to tamp it down and honestly, in moments it feels like they are too big to be tamped down at all.
I have been clinging to these verses in Philippians:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I don’t know about you, but I desperately need the peace of God. Guys, my hair was falling out this summer and my dentist told me this week that my gums are inflamed–probably because of the stress! He didn’t even blame it on flossing they were so bad!
What we need to understand, and what I have to preach to myself, is that not being anxious takes work. It is not a given. Scripture tells us it is only when we come to him with both petitions and thanksgiving will our heart and mind be guarded with his peace.
I don’t have this mastered, but I have been practicing prayer in a new way these past months that have helped. It’s tangible and structured and it helps me keep centered on what this Scripture asks of us. Sometimes prayer is simply a silent conversation, but sometimes I need it like this.
In my daily journal, I make a list of all the good things about the situation I’m worried about. In fact, sometimes I go further and list any good thing in my life at the moment. Even if I’m sick, I list the ability to go to the doctor and having insurance and having money for the prescriptions and having a car to drive to the doctor and the job I have to give me the insurance and money. Even in our lowest moments, we have something to be grateful for.
Sometimes I get through this step and my problem doesn’t even seem like a problem anymore! A cold? Pshh. No big deal. God was pretty smart when he told us to present our petitions and thanksgiving together! Sometimes gratefulness is all we need to whack our mole.
Other times, we are still burdened.
I write a list of things that are true next. These are truths that are particular to my situation based on Scripture. Things like:
- God is all-powerful
- We can do all things through Him
- We are more than conquerors
- God never leaves us
- God knows his plans for us
- God works all things together for our good
Then, I list my petitions. What are the moles in my life right now? I’m sick or I can’t find Jac0b a pediatrician or Lexi and Jac0b won’t quit fighting or even, I don’t know what to make for dinner. Anything that comes to mind that might be worrying me.
And then, I thank God for all those good things I listed. I tell God all the things I believe about him and then I pray and give those worries over to him–the One I just told was all powerful, all knowing, loves me so much and has good things planned for me. Sometimes I even put my hands over the words I’ve written and tell Him I’m giving it to Him and ask him to show up. I tell him I know he sees my worries and my desires and would he please show himself in the situations.
And then, his peace comes. There is some sort of inner release that He gives when I truly make an effort to give my worries to him. I sigh out a breath I didn’t even know I was holding.
If a worry begins to pop up, it’s like those good things and truths act as a shield to deflect the worry. They remind me to keep my mind on the good things and remember who is with me.
Sure, the moles rear their ugly heads the next day and I have to do it all over–and sometimes I don’t, but Jesus only ever asked for daily bread so I never expect more than that either.
I can’t imagine you don’t have your own moles right now. Something that you have going that could be causing you worry. God cannot lie and he promises if we pray with petitions and thanksgiving, that his peace will come.