I haven’t posted this week, and that grieves my heart.
I have been struggling this week. Really, really struggling. There have been some major changes in my office this week, and the end result of those changes amounts to a whole lot of work that has to be done in a short amount of time, and a lot of the responsibility of that falls to me.
The work is good work. The work is to help students get ready for college, and to grow personally. But I haven’t handled the stress associated with that work well. I have felt sick to my stomach, and my head has ached. I’ve had trouble sleeping and haven’t been able to stop thinking about all of the work that needs to be done. I’ve put in long hours, and have fought the symptoms of my body telling me to let go of the stress I’m carrying.
And I struggle. I can’t not do the work that I’m tasked with as part of my job. I can’t change the load that I’m carrying. And I have tried and failed to change the way I’m carrying that load.
Do you see anything wrong with that last sentence? I sure do. It’s not my load to carry. Because I can’t do it. Because I’m not supposed to. In Phillipians 4:4-9, it says
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
The Word tells us to not be anxious, but through prayer WITH thanksgiving, to present our requests to God. And God’s peace with guard our hearts in Christ. God’s peace with guard my heart and mind. And I need that badly.
Have you ever studied a foreign language? If you stuck with it, you got to the good part where you learned jokes and colloquial expressions. I have studied Spanish for a decent part of my life, and one of the greatest joys about studying it has been learning the language and culture associated through axioms. An expression that has really stuck with me it “quien en pan piensa hambre tiene”. Loosely, this translates to “he who thinks about bread is hungry”. And to me, this expression means that what you focus on takes up more and more importance in your mind. What would that have to do with Philipians 4? Towards the end of the passage, Christians are admonished to think about things that build us up. When I think about stress, I have more of it. When I think about how poorly I feel, I feel worse. When I think about God and His provision, my worries get smaller and I am better able to trust a big God with my stress. It is no mistake that in the passage about anxiety, we’re told to focus our thoughts on that which builds up instead of that which tears down.
So, this week, I encourage you to focus on God. To pray to Him with thanksgiving, and to set your mind on that which builds you up and turns your mind to Him. I also ask you to pray for me. Pray for me that while I work, I would honor God and do my work as unto Him (Colossians 3:23-24) and that I would keep His edifying Word and promises in my mind, allowing Him to protect my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.