Stress: When We Need to Trust

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+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My life’s been humming with a constant undercurrent of stress. I’ve said before that these past few months have had a lot going on in them. Lots of unexpected things to handle. Many moments of drama to work through with the boys, neighbors, and others.

And they’ve left me in this state where there’s no stillness. As I spent some time with the Lord last week, Psalm 125 stopped me. Verse one says:

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,

    which cannot be shaken but endures forever. (NIV)

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All I’ve been dealing with is normal life-stuff, and they’ve shaken me. When I picture Mount Zion, I envision a mountain, standing proud, tall, unmoving, unshaken.

I am not like Mount Zion.

The smaller shockwaves of life still shake me. The things that impact me directly, the situations in our family life, the responsibilities I have outside our home. I am shaken down.

As I read this verse, the reality that I am not fully trusting God made itself clear. Because if I was, I wouldn’t be rattled by the things life throws my way.

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I still rely too much on me to get through, to deal with, to do everything well. Yeah, because I’m such a great foundation to base trust on.

When I rely on myself to get through life’s stuff, I will end up rattled. I don’t have the power, the strength, the wisdom to do everything well in my own strength.

When my trust is in God, life’s unexpected may give me a shake, but it won’t rock me to my core. When I trust God, my faith is in Him, not me.

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When my trust is in Him rather than in myself, I will stand firm. I may worry in the initial moments, but worry won’t clench its teeth around my neck and toss me around like a chew toy. My eyes will be on Jesus rather than on how I am going to “get through this.”

As I read verse 2, God comforted me:

As the mountains surround Jerusalem,

    so the Lord surrounds his people

    both now and forevermore.

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There’s something life-giving in knowing God surrounds His people. Even when I make mistakes—when I fall short—God surrounds me, because I am His. He watches over His children, holding them in the palm of His hand.

He doesn’t always protect us from life’s hard, but He does protect us—our hearts, our spirits—through life’s hard.

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Are we going to get hurt sometimes? Yes. But, He is there to walk with us through that. He shields us from what He knows is too much for us.

Proverbs 3:5-6 gave me my second reminder of the morning:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

    and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him,

    and he will make your paths straight.

 

This passage is thrown around often. And yes, I’ve shared it with others. Here’s what God showed me, though.

When stress is my companion, quaking my heart in a constant rhythm, my go-to mode is “deal with ‘it’’ and keep moving forward.

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Honestly? I’m not very good at remembering to take a step back, be still, and ask God for His perspective. To pray for wisdom.

In the moment, it seems easier to lean on my own understanding, because then I can keep doing, continue moving forward. Why be still if I can take care of the situation on my own?

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The problem is, when I operate in this mode for too long, life overwhelms me. Small things set me off and leave me shaken.

The way to not be shaken is to trust God with everything. 

As verse six says, we need to submit all our ways,

all our stuff,

all those things that are stressing us out . . . to God.

It’s only as we do this that God will make our paths straight.

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Being honest here, I’m weary. I’m ready to hand all my stuff over to God and let Him straighten out my path. I suspect I’ve made my own path harder to navigate by doing things according to my understanding. It’s time to begin trusting Him more.

What about you? When stress tries to vibrate you to your core, what do you do, really? What truths have you learned about trusting God?

Click to Tweet: When I rely on me to get through life’s stuff, I end up rattled.

Today I’m linking up with Holly Barrett’s Testimony Tuesday and Kelly Balarie’s #RaRaLinkup

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22 thoughts on “Stress: When We Need to Trust

  1. So sorry you’re having to handle such a heavy load right now, but glad you know from where your true help comes! Thanks for sharing your struggle and your strength in these words! Blessings!

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    • Thanks, Liz. I suspect I am not the only one dealing with stressful times. Nor, I suspect, am I the only one who forgets Who is my greatest help. 🙂 I’m thankful for God’s gracious patience. He’s pretty amazing that way, isn’t He?

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  2. I love the way you shared this struggle, and then your journey toward trusting. It reminded me of a devotional I read yesterday about Mary and Martha in which the author said that even if Martha had been sitting at the feet of Jesus, she probably would have been distracted, and if Mary had been in the kitchen, she likely would have gone about it with peace because of the disposition of her heart. That truth “smote” me right between the eyes!
    Blessings to you, Jeanne!

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    • Thank you, Michele. It’s funny how God does this sometimes. These passages “happened” to be part of my quiet time one morning. I think God knew it was time for me to see the connections between these verses. 🙂 Interesting thoughts about Mary and Martha. It really is all about where our hearts are, isn’t it? Thanks for that wise reminder!

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  3. Thanks for sharing this, Jeanne. I have been challenged as well this week that my default mode is to try to sort things out for myself and feel like everything depends on me. It’s not easy to let go and hand it all over to God but there is definitely greater peace when we do. I love the reminder that God surrounds us and, like the mountains, he is solid and secure.

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    • Lesley, sometimes I wonder why we ever think we can do it all? I guess our culture lies to us this way, and we sometimes forget and believe the lie. You’re right. It’s not easy to let everything go into God’s hands, but man, I feel lighter when I do! Thank you so much for your encouragement today.

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  4. You are speaking my language here today. I wish the words from Proverbs were my mantra but I am guilty of trying to figure it out on my own too. Even though I know that my own power is not sufficient to fixing things I still turn to myself too often.

    I understand feeling weary. I am paying we both submit, surrender and release ourselves to God. He is the way and he will fix whatever we are struggling with. Sending hugs your way!

    I’m super-excited you will be at the FMF retreat!! 🙂

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    • Mary, I’ve been praying these same things for you, my friend. I guess I’m good company in the “learning to relinquish” club. I’m so thankful God is able to fix anything and everything in our lives. And that He’s so patient as we learn to release everything into His care.

      I’m SO looking forward to seeing/meeting you at the FMF retreat!

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  5. I hope it’s a bit of a comfort to know you’re not alone in the weariness, Jeanne. I’m feeling it too, for my own set of reasons and circumstances. We can put ourselves on autopilot all we want, and that does help some, but we’re not machines. Sometimes I forget that, about myself and the people around me who don’t always operate how I would like them to operate. God knows what I need, and what they need. I try to remember that when I’m in the thick of it. (Or awake in the middle of the night thinking about it.) I’m sorry you are going through this stressful season, my friend … I hope more restful days are not far off.

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    • Lois, there is definitely comfort in knowing I’m not the only one who struggles to let go of things and to trust/yield to God’s understanding. And, yes, that includes trusting Him to work in others’ hearts when they don’t operate the way I expect them to. Imagine that. 😉 You have a great perspective my friend. I am thinking (hoping! Praying!) we are through the most stressful of the days, at least for awhile. 🙂

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  6. I’m sorry you’re going through such a stressful season, Jeanne. You describe worry so adequately. I can often feel it clenching its teeth around my neck and tossing me around like a chew toy. I too often want to fix things myself. Again and again I have to entrust my family and situations into God’s loving hands that have the power to do anything. It’s hard though, isn’t it? Thank you for being honest and for these thoughts and verses that have made me feel less alone and encouraged. May we trust Him with all our hearts! Love and hugs to you!

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    • Thanks, sweet Trudy. You know how it goes. The seasons come and go. There are the more free-flowing seasons, the restful seasons, and the seasons when everything seems to come storming in at once. I’m so thankful God teaches us gently and patiently to entrust everything and everyone into His perfect care. I admit, I sometimes try to grab it back, but I’m learning to trust Him more. Thanks for your life-giving words, friend!

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  7. I so understand J, about being a doer to get things done! I took time finally to spend in devotions today and I kept getting “don’t push your agenda–trust my timing.” I have experienced things getting done in His timing so why do I still push into my own timing, and cause undo stress? Or get myself distracted with other activities when He has called me to focus on one particular one? The hope in all this is that we also have stories of His faithfulness when we did in His timing, don’t we? This is what I focus on when I start to feel the stress. May you have a peace-filled week in His restful way.

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    • Yes, Lynn, I too am a work-in-progress in the pushing-my-own-agenda arena. As we learn to trust God more and as we spend consistent time with Him, this urge becomes less. And you’re so right. When we can remember all the past times when He’s shown Himself faithful it makes it easier to trust Him this time, doesn’t it? I’m pretty sure He tells us to remember His faithfulness. 🙂 I hope your week is a restful, inspired one, friend!

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  8. Beautiful, Jeanne. When more difficult situations came into my life before Christmas, all my worries about my daughter traveling back and forth to school seemed to evaporate. They took a back seat. And I wondered why I didn’t give them to God and let them take a back seat to begin with … But loss, pain … they just hurt and scare us. I can’t imagine this life without God. ❤

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    • Shelli, it’s interesting how God shifts our perspectives, isn’t it? I have done a similar thing where I’ve worried about things I really needed to just let go into God’s hand. Loss and pain do hurt and scare us. I’m so glad God walks with us and helps us in each area of our lives.

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