For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 NIV
The panic and feelings of anxiety took me completely by surprise. I was preparing to do something I’d done before, traveling to a familiar place and meeting up with people I knew. But, I was blindsided by strong emotions.
Where did they come from?
We’d just returned from a medical missions trip, celebrated Christmas, plowed head long into a new year and were toying with a job change for my husband. As I watched our college sons pack up and head back to campus, my mama heart was torn in 6 different directions; I watched my older boys leave, saw our 2 younger ones off to school and I packed up to head off to a women’s retreat.
Suddenly, I felt scared to be away from the familiar, my family and all the things that helped me feel safe and connected. I found myself mentally going through scenarios of “what if”.
“What if something terrible happens to the children while I’m away?”
“What if something happens to my husband while I’m away?”
“What if I get sick or injured while I’m away?”
The “what ifs” started to overwhelm me and I panicked. But, the “what ifs” are based on fear and the lies of the enemy. I had forgotten to lean into the “WHO is.”
At the retreat (that I practically had to drag myself to), my precious friend Dawn got eye-to-eye with me and asked some hard questions. She gently reminded me that in my worry I was taking on the role of God and it was too much! I was trying to be everything to everyone at all times and it was causing me such worry and stress!
When our emotions overwhelm us and there are things that seem to derail our faith, it’s sometimes so easy to revert to fear and faithless thinking. In this situation I needed to shift my thinking from the “what ifs” to the “WHO is” and focus on Who Jesus is. What did I know to be true about His character? How had He delivered me in the past when I’d faced uncertainty? What does His Word say about Him meeting me in the middle of trials and the problems of life?
I couldn’t find one word in Scripture that supported my fears. There were only promises that He’d walk by me as I faced any uncertainty in this life. I could count on Jesus with confidence that He’d give me peace (John 16:33), that the evil one will not prevail (1 John 2:14) and He Who is in me is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
I ended up driving away from familiar home that day with a heart full of fear, but I kept trusting in Jesus. There were some very, very rough spots, but I am now able to look back at that moment as a part of a sweet weaving together of a healing story that Jesus is still working on in my heart. He continues to work and whisper to me as I daily give my uncertain emotions to Him and trust Him.
There will be days when you are on top of world and won’t be able to imagine being anything but solidly happy. The next day may be a completely different story! Emotions can be raw and very unpredictable! On the days when you feel close and deeply loved by Jesus, write it down. You’ll need the reminder in your own handwriting and your own words that He does love you! You’ll need to remember the sweet time when you could feel His love and your heart didn’t hurt so badly. You may not feel His love some days, but it’s still very much there!
Father God, Some days are just painfully hard. Sometimes, I have a very hard time loving others and myself so I definitely don’t see how You could love me! But, Your Word says that You are incapable of lying (Hebrews 6:18) and there are so many reminders in Scripture that promise Your love to me. Help me to trust that You love me and not question that. Override my emotions even when they are so strong. You are stronger and I know Your love is more powerful! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.