Blog,  Faith,  Hope,  Prayer,  Stress

Distress Calls

It has been a rough few weeks. I mean exhausting, kids won’t nap, laundry is piling up, we are running out of food in the pantry but I can’t find time to grocery shop, and my husband has been working so many hours I don’t have the energy to hold down the fort on my own much longer kind of rough. Some days, I feel like I’m waving the white flag, but somehow, it’s not working, and more and more just gets piled on. Does anyone else relate to this?! I would imagine at least a few of you. This is something I would definitely label as being in distress, and I am sure you are able to recall some form of this scenario in your life. That brings me to ask you a question that I’m sure you’ve asked yourself while desperately waving the flag with no visible help on the horizon: “What do I do to get through?” Is your first thought to be your own hero, to try to fix the situation yourself? You may think things are so bad that no one will understand, or it will be too humiliating to share that you have been living in that valley for so long. So, you buck up, try putting on another pair of big girl pants, and keep pressing on. But inside, you can feel you are going to break.   Or, maybe you are okay with opening up to a close friend or loved one to get their take on the situation. That person tells you that you have got this! You can handle anything because you are amazing and strong, and God wouldn’t give you something you couldn’t handle. You leave the pep talk feeling empowered, but after a day or two, you are right back to where you started—feeling overwhelmed and helpless. Or, perhaps, you just share something cryptic on social media and then get flooded with random responses, none of which are really helpful because you don’t want things to get that personal, so the root issue of your distress isn’t resolved. Sweet Brothers and Sisters, is the last thing you think of turning to the Lord and crying out? If it is, you aren’t alone. I find myself time and again exhausting other avenues of help before finally coming to the only One who can actually give relief. You would think that after years and years of going through this process, I would finally get it and be able to move on from that lesson. But, I’m grateful for the Lord’s patience and steadfast love as He continues to teach me about my dependability on Him. The Lord continues to impress on me the importance of crying out to Him. One of my favorite passages for this is Psalm 86. King David declares his distress to the Lord and calls out to Him:
                       “Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, For I am poor and needy. Preserve my life, for I am godly; Save your servant, who trusts in you— You are my God. Be gracious to me, O Lord, For to you do I cry out all the day. Gladden the soul of your servant, For to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, Abounding in steadfast love to all who call Upon you. Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; Listen to my plea for grace. In the day of my trouble I call upon you, For you answer me.” Psalm 86:1-7  
In this same way, we need to cry out to the Lord. This is the only way we will get the help that we truly need because we are removing ourselves out of the solution and putting the focus back onto the Lord. You see, what we are typically seeking during those times of distress is RELIEF from the situation, and we go every which way trying to get it. However, the Lord’s primary interest is always our hearts and how we can GROW into Christ-likeness from the situation, which can only be done when He is the authority. We need to stop trying to push through or get pep talks until that season is over and start calling out to the Lord for His help in the midst of it. David goes on to say:
                        “There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, Nor are there any works like yours…. For you are great and do wondrous things; You alone are God. Teach me your way, O Lord, That I may walk in your truth; Unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, With my whole heart, And I will glorify your name forever.” Psalm 86:8,10-12
His entire focus shifts from his distress in the current situation to glorifying and praising the Lord for who He is and what He has done. Again, David’s focus has shifted from himself back to God as the authority in his life. When we put the Lord back into His rightful place in our hearts, we have realigned ourselves with Him and His purposes. We aren’t concerned anymore with what we are experiencing; rather, we desire to be taught what the Lord wants us to learn from the situation, and we do it while giving thanks and singing His praise. This is part of the heart change the Lord is after, and this process is the only way to truly achieve His peace, which surpasses all understanding. So, the next time you are experiencing distress of any kind, remember to call out to the Lord first. He has something for you to learn in the midst of that situation, and it will always be for your good. The peace that He is able to provide for you will be exactly everything you need, even while you are working through whatever it is He is teaching you, and you can know without a shadow of a doubt that when you come out the other side, you will look a little more like Christ. Much love, Sweet Brothers and Sisters.

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