~ Are you your own worst enemy? ~

cartoon-fire

It is pretty much spring here in Tennessee. By the time we say goodbye to March, the school year seems to be winding down; just two months until graduation for this year’s high school seniors. Amazing, isn’t it? Time marches on, and as day turns into day and year turns into year, we may get the feeling that things are out of control or are not as in our control as we would like them to be.

“In our control” is an interesting prepositional phrase. We as moms feel the need to control our environment, which is totally natural. Of course we must manage what we have been given to manage. You no doubt are an amazing mom, capable of taking large blocks of time and turning them into learning opportunities for your children. You do what many people are paid to do professionally – you have accepted the challenge of educating your children.

If you are a homeschooling mom, you are an amazing combination of mother and educator. While neatly organizing your children’s educational timelines, you also manage your physical household, which undoubtedly requires much thought and energy in order to keep things running smoothly. While most days you may not feel amazing, I want to look you right in the eye and tell you, remind you, that you are amazing.

I am willing to bet that you would not admit that. I am willing to bet that you don’t realize how truly valuable you are to those around you; moreover, I suspect that you may be just a little weary from carrying burdens day after day after day. Perhaps things have gotten more than a little out of control in your life right now.

Generally, in this space I present you with a strategy for de-pressurizing your homeschool world. This time, I would like to share with you a very personal tip that has the power to de-pressurize your life.

To begin, let me ask you a question: do you reverently fear the Lord, listen carefully to His voice and aim to obey day after day, yet the cares of life steal your sense of well-being on a regular basis? Do you sometimes find yourself overwhelmed with inertia, unable to move beyond the nagging burdens facing you at the moment? Funny, but Isaiah asked this same question of the folks in his day.

“Who is among you who reverently fears the Lord, who obeys the voice of His servant, yet who walks with darkness and deep trouble and has no shining splendor in his heart?” (Isaiah 50:10a)

Some time ago, I stumbled upon this verse, and I confess that it hit me hard. Isaiah is saying, “Do you love the Lord, spend time with Him, yet turn right around and get sucked into worry and fear the minute after you say ‘Amen’”? In other words, do your children see a somber-spirited mom who is distracted with concerns and cares? Is your normal demeanor lacking an internal flame of peace? Are you often occupied with frustration, anger, doubt, and other agitating emotions?

If you answered yes to any of the above, there is a seemingly simple solution given in the second part of verse 10: “Let him rely on, trust in, and be confident in the name of the Lord, and let him lean upon and be supported by his God.”

The solution is found in the verbs rely, trust, lean, and be confident. We can escape the vicious cycle of acknowledging God with our heads, but denying Him in our hearts and by our actions. Rely, trust, lean on and be confident. How does one demonstrate trust and confidence? The elusive answer is by resting. The evidence of faith is rest.

Quite frankly, Isaiah is telling godly folks that if they claim to be members of God’s household yet fail to rely on the Lord to care for them, then something is wrong. There is a disconnect somewhere in the wiring of our hearts if we say we love the Lord, yet we don’t display a “shining splendor” that comes from within.

In order to understand how great your God is, you have to grasp the fact that He is concerned with every detail of your life, and He wants you to be able to recline in His arms, rested, unworried, unburdened, and full of faith in His ability to meet your needs.

If we truly understood that He is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond what we can ask or think, then we wouldn’t be frustrated or anxious or worried or frightened or unduly concerned about what is facing us today. Think about it; what is keeping you from feeling peaceful right this moment? Hold that thought.

Let’s move on to verse 11 of Isaiah 50, as it may just illustrate further the state in which we so often find ourselves.

“Look, all you enemies of your own selves who attempt to kindle your own fires and work out your own plans of salvation, who surround and gird yourselves with momentary sparks that you set aflame! Walk by the light of your self-made fire and of the sparks that you have kindled for yourself if you will. But this shall you have from My hand: you shall lie down in grief and in torment.”

Wow! Scripture says that we are our own enemy if we try to make things work on our own, expending our precious time and energy doing things our own way instead of honoring God by simply laying down our burdens. We can work our own deliverance, but the end result will be less than desirable. Who in their right mind would choose grief and torment over rest? We do ourselves a favor when we rest in the Lord.

After I read the verses in Isaiah and truly comprehended the magnitude of what he was saying, I realized that I was missing out on the unstressed life that was mine in Jesus, and my mindset needed to change. It needed to change because I was trying to control my life instead of trusting the Lord to do what He wanted to do. I thought that I could handle whatever came my way by praying about it and then doing what I thought best.

The problem was that I would indeed pray about a situation, but then I would worry about it, constantly look at it from a bazillion angles and worry some more – usually worrying about the “what-ifs.” In case you don’t already know, “what-ifs” will cause you to lie down in grief and torment.

cartoon_fire

Experience is often the very best teacher. Have you ever been in a situation where you have had no one but God to rely upon? The problem is that too many of us work out our own deliverance in order to avoid the position of needing God absolutely. Quite frankly, we are afraid to rest ourselves fully on God. It is our human nature that loudly calls to us to start our own fires, to knock rocks together in order to get a tiny spark that we can then fan into flame, expending great time and energy on something that we don’t need to be doing in the first place.

Worry, fear, depression, anxiety: there is nothing new under the sun. Isaiah was addressing the faithful ones of his day who obviously feared the Lord, but who obviously were still living in darkness and fear. People haven’t changed; we still choose fear and darkness when we could embrace rest and peace. Stop the craziness!

Here is a practical suggestion for how to break the cycle of fear and doubt and worry: Get a journal. Decide for one month that you are going to take God at His word. Commit your worries and concerns to the pages of your journal each day for 30 days. Also, read Isaiah 50:10 and 11 each day.

After you have laid out your cares in the journal, in your mind’s eye picture yourself leaning against the Lord, resting on Him and refusing to pick those burdens back up just for that day. Before you leave the solitude of your room or wherever you are writing, determine that you are not going to worry just for that day.

What you will find is when you refuse to fall into the old patterns of working things out yourself, the Lord is going to meet your needs in ways you couldn’t imagine. God will make a way where there seems to be no way. When He meets those needs, and as you see how He walks with you through the day, record that in your journal the next day.

Leave a trail of answered prayers that you can look back on and reread when your faith falters. Give the Lord an opportunity to be the one in control just for today.

Eventually, even after just one month, you will be living within the parameters of a new mindset! You will be more joyful and relaxed which will carry over to the homeschool realm most certainly. Moreover, the Lord will do things His way, which is what we truly want, isn’t it?

As we learn how to walk each day in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, our minds will be renewed, and we will be empowered to be the parents we are called to be, the home educators we are called to be, and so on.

When we cease trying to light our own fires and struggling to make things happen in our own strength, we illustrate to our children that the Lord is God and can be trusted in all matters; we have experienced Him and found Him to be faithful.

Truly this is one of the most valuable lessons we could possibly hope to pass on to the next generation.

All scripture quoted from The Amplified Bible.

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2 Responses to ~ Are you your own worst enemy? ~

  1. hi-d says:

    Thanks Joanne! This is just what I needed!! And I know I couldn’t do this without God in my life. He keeps urging me on and telling me that HE will pick up the slack on each of my boys.
    Thanks… and hope you are feeling better.

    • urthemom says:

      Amen! I don’t know why I keep forgetting that it is not ME who has to make stuff happen. Trusting God and doing the next thing is all we need to do, but the waiting seems to trip us up. It seems so easy, but it is quite difficult in reality. Thanks for walking with me on this journey. 🙂

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