Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Psalms For Moms

Psalm 94:19, "When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."

When I am stressed, my first response is typically not to let God console me. I let escaping in a good movie console me, or a big bowl of ice cream, or a long conversation with a friend, or a big hug from one of my children. But mostly-- and I am just being honest-- my first inclination isn't God. I am too quick to look to the world's offerings: Get a massage! Take a vacation! Go shopping! Have a drink!

But the truth is, not one of those things brings joy to my soul. Sure, they bring joy to my flesh: fleeting, temporary joy.

But my soul stays empty because I don't fill it with what I truly need.

God's consolation looks different than the world's. It involves listening, seeking, pursuing... Him. I have to be intentional about it by focusing on His Word and making His message to me a non-negotiable part of my day, as my friend LuAnn Prater says. I have to remember to pray-- to go to Him first and not my friends. And I have to remember that I have the Holy Spirit inside of me-- that I have everything I need for life and godliness, as II Peter 1:3 says. With all of that working on my behalf, I can handle the stresses of life. And amazingly I can even find joy for my soul: deep, abiding joy.

Recently our family's been dealing with some stress. The other day I was feeling very overwhelmed by it, fighting feelings of anger and the urge to flee the situation, wanting to handle things for the short term and not for the long run. (The long run mentality is SO much harder!) In a moment of lucidity, I got out my little spiral bound index cards of memory verses and flipped to a couple of verses that I want to describe our family. Now they didn't describe our family at that moment, but I could hold them up as a bulls-eye to aim for, a promise straight from God's Word to my heart. I put the card where I could see it throughout the day and I just read that verse to myself every time I walked past. I whispered the words as a prayer.

And slowly but surely, peace began to fill my soul. The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword. (Hebrews 4:12) It can cut through to the heart of any issue you're dealing with and slice off all the ugly, unwanted feelings you're struggling with. The trick is to remember to go to it-- and not the world-- when you're in those tight places. I have sought the consolation of the world and come up empty. I want the consolation of the Lord to bring joy to my soul.
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Anonymous said...

Why is this so hard? As Christians, Children of the Most High God? Lord Help ME today to run to your Word!!!

Sheila said...

You have no idea how MUCH I needed to read this today! I woke up at 3:45 this morning in a severe panic attack. I was feeling overwhelmed with my situation as a single mom, my work environment, my finances, my health and my relationships. I couldn't sleep and just laid in bed with tears running down my face. I pray that I remember this verse as I trudge through this briar patch that is my life. Thank you so much for sharing Mary Beth! You just changed my entire outlook for the day!
Hugs to you my friend...

Zibilee said...

I often forget to go to God when I am overwhelmed and anxious, and if I am being honest, it's only after everything else has failed to work that I go seek him. I still need to get better at this and remember that he should be the first place I run when I am overwhelmed. Thanks for posting this today and helping me realize that. It's too important to forget, and often I do.

Anonymous said...

Just what I needed to hear today. Feeling really overweight and had to go shopping for an outfit for a luncheon tomorrow. Knowing that most everyone there will look better than I do, I got overwhelmed. And I'm sorry and ashamed to say it didn't even dawn on me to go to God. Lord, forgive me.

Family of Five said...

I know that others have already said this, but I agree - right now was the perfect time for me to read this (after spending the whole day alternating between being on FaceBook and trying to get my house cleaned to keep my mind off of something that God was just waiting for me to give to him). I just need to SEEK HIM for my solice. Thank you for the great reminder!