Perhaps you are in a very hard and troubling place and there is pressure coming from all sides. You just don’t see any way out and so goes your sinking heart. What if I told you there is a way out, but it’s not what you think. It’s the way that Jesus wants to take all of us, yet I am afraid to say, so very few can grasp His directions. You will get His peace, you will find rest for your soul and even answers to what it is you need to do, but it comes with a cost. This cost is what most are not willing to invest. Read on and see if you are up to the challenge! The key is to no longer look at the troubles, the mess, the source of worry or any of what has a grip upon your life as the problem. For in truth, these are only the symptoms of the actual problem. The point is- always Jesus- in the lives for all believers and we run into many troubles when we take our eyes and hearts off of Him. When I say this I don’t mean merely looking and thinking of Jesus but more about determining to immerse ourselves – all we know how, into Him so that He becomes our all in all. From experience I know that when faced with difficult and challenging times, there is no better time than to set out on such a journey, in discovering Jesus Christ like never before! We must understand and get it into our brains that this journey is not about fixing the problem, though we do find resolution through the process. Instead, it is one about adjusting ourselves so we may navigate through the situation with God. I guarantee you, that if you follow through in what I am saying, you will never be the same and will learn a great and valuable truth in dealing with this thing called life.
To begin, there must be a change of mindset, in that all the energy that you have in thought, word and deed you will invest it in seeking Jesus determining to not stop so that you will find Him. Your success will depend upon a true heart that desires to know God. It will fall flat if you still have a motive (above this) that just wants to find escape from your troubles. If this is true, then this will not work for you and you will not have the stamina to persevere. This change is what is also called repentance. Repentance is when we turn from the natural way of thinking, doing and being that involves our senses which are always ‘me’ orientated and to turn to God and His way of truth.
Think of your life as a table, and on top of this table is full and heaped of clutter – which represents your issues, troubles, stress etc. Some of it is smelling horribly! Some of it is spilling onto the floor for the sheer volume and you can’t make sense of it anymore for there is just too much to sort through! Now take your arm and sweep off the table to remove all the clutter that is upon it right now in mental assent. You are telling yourself that no longer are you going to let the clutter dictate and dominate you. Then, place the Bible upon your table, the posture of prayer, a notebook and get ready to begin! Reserve time in your day where you will pray, don’t be dogmatic about it, but instead find the time and make the time where you would have normally given elsewhere, to seek God, to sit with Him. In your prayers, do not ask for resolution. Do not seek God at all for any of what has gripped you. Seek Him like you actually want to get to know Him, if you don’t have that desire, ask Him to give you the desire. The desire to love Him like He desires us to, to seek Him like He desires us to and the desire to learn of who He is. Ask Him who He is. Tell Him that you want to learn more about Him. Dive into the bible to read it like it is His love letter just for you. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you as you read and what He wants you to learn. Be ready to write things down as you read. Maybe questions you may have or certain scriptures that have especially touched you. I believe that as Christians our downfall is when we do not consider our pursuit of God as importantly as it is, and is deeply neglected or worse yet non-existent. Jesus spoke about this when Martha was so very troubled (stressed out) over the issues of life and said that to sit at His feet to listen to His Words is the better and needed thing in our lives, see Luke 10:39-42.
OK, this sounds all good but there still remains the unpaid bills, the bullying and abuse being experienced, the depression that looms, the cancer being faced and all the rest of the stresses of life. We are not denying these things, we are just disciplining ourselves to put them in the right order and perspective. So now think of your clutter, that you have swept off of the table as with each sweep you are committing ALL of it to God. You are resigning from the position of CEO on all of your affairs and now giving the position to God and He is in charge of it all. In this, you ready yourself for your new position and that is to take His orders in what He wants you to do (and not do). Let’s stop here and really think about this one. If it is no longer your problem, and now is God’s there must be a mind shift and this is going to take the act of your will. You will have to stop your normal reactions and thoughts and submit to God. Okay a clear visual of this would be say you get slapped in the face every day, and every day, you slap the person back and a fight is ensued. You both are battered and bruised and hate each other more then the day before. This time when you are slapped you stop and submit to God, by not reacting as per usual. There may not be any bells and whistles going off or any miracles from above except one thing, you say in your mind and heart, ‘Lord, I give this to you, I will submit to you so I may do as you tell me.’ The Spirit of God is upon you, and the situation because you submitted to Him, it is under His authority, because you gave it to Him. At the same time you are actually resisting the devil, for he wants you to choose violence, so in this the devil has to flee from the situation that means the power (over you) he has had normally is no longer there. Though you do not see with your eyes, great things are being done because of your obedience, see James 4:6-8. God works powerfully when we are humble and surrender to Him. James 4:10 1 Peter 5:5. Too many times I think we as Christians go off on the path to be vindicated and it looks justifiable and even noble, but is not what God asks. Being right, or restoring rights is not for us to be about doing. Seeking God is. There are many examples in the bible where God’s own people were terribly treated by clearly evil hands. And for a good portion of them they were there because God was desiring to accomplish something and used the evil for His purpose. We can never know what God is doing, look at Job he never found out the conversation God had with Satan and the higher purpose God had reserved for his torment. Job 1. Joseph understood that his suffering was for a great purpose. Gen 50:19-20. If we really look at our situations as being God’s problem then we no longer need to get angry, worry and fear right? This is where the work that gets hard for yes, we no longer pick those up to be part of our process. We literally put faith in that God is in charge and He has seen and sees all things that are happening to us and He will handle it according to His way, and that He gives us all what we are in need of as we first seek Him; Matt 6:33. When we submit the wrongdoing to Him- every part, we make our ear and heart ready to hear what He says, and will direct us to do part of which means we look for what God says in the bible regarding the matter. I remember when I set out on this journey for the first time, in handling a situation that just seemed to never go away. I was quite surprised in what God told me to do. He told me to forgive. I thought to myself, ‘what?’ because I honestly thought that the person needed to be the one who God needed to deal with. After a bit of back and forth, I did forgive. Then, as time went on, the same thing again in the same situation, God tells me to forgive! So I did. Nothing seemed to be changing in my circumstance, and lo and behold I am yet hit again, and God tells me to forgive. I did. Each time my heart was broke but chose not to let my heart determine anything to do as God wanted. It was there that there was something that broke in the spirit and I felt a true release and freedom I had never had in this place. I was no longer bound, and the situation that seemed to be a plague all my life, lifted from me – yet in an odd way, nothing really changed! Well, it was me that changed. And that thing that seem to have its grip upon me, does not bother me no matter how much it continues as it always has. I learned in the midst of this that it was I that needed to repent (to turn from how I always thought and reacted) and look to God. Though I was not at fault I realized the importance of being humble and He showed me where I had some adjustments that were needed as well as the removal of distorted mindsets. I have learned and am still learning that no matter what it is we are facing be it trials, torments, and tribulation are never to be what we set our heart, mind or spirit upon. And that the good and right place is to run to God, seeking Him for all our needs. Though it is important to never allow our needs to become our preoccupation, I believe that we must be specific in how we ask God in certain circumstances and that to seek in the right order – otherwise we ask amiss as James refers to in: James 4:2-4. I also think that when we search to know Jesus with no other motive, then we begin to learn and understand that Jesus Christ IS our need and ‘our needs’ become less and less. May Jesus be our world, for He is our way, our truth and our life. Let Him find you as you seek Him to lead you in and out of life’s issues in peace righteousness and joy. Rom 14:17.