Problems And Pain // Overcoming Difficulties

Day 2 of 4 • This day’s reading

Devotional

The Best Way to Handle Problems

The state you are in now—with the pressure, the worry about how things will resolve themselves—is not a permanent one. I know this is hard to believe, but the feelings you feel now may not be ones you can trust. It is not that the feelings aren’t valid, but you need not let them control you. You will not be consumed by these problems forever.

I hope you can hear Me. There is a lot of noise around you. Keeping busy—attending to this problem and then the next—can feel like the most important, or responsible, thing to do. But what if it isn’t? What if there is a more responsible thing to do—more beneficial than trying to solve a problem with a project, a task, a solution? Consider this: to measure your life by your ability to eliminate problems rather than by the health of your soul—your heart, your relationship with Me—makes you blind to beauty and hope and blessings. And I have these for you, in abundance.

Let Me tell you about this life you have. Here is the reality: problems are never fully going to go away. When one thing is resolved, another challenge will take its place. And in some sense, that is not a completely bad thing, as it pushes you to continually consider what you value, and what you love most. Without any problems, you wouldn’t have to choose what is most important to you. For now, with a problem looming, you get to choose how to perceive it. Is it going to consume you? Or will it seem small compared to my power, my love, my promises? Will the problem be the only thing you see? Or will it be Me, at your side, working with you in the midst of it all?

Perhaps this is the best thing to do: drop what you are doing, everything you are doing to manage, control, tweak, fix, repair, and eliminate the situations in your life that feel like problems to you. Even the act of worrying can feel like an action item for a problem sometimes too, can’t it? Rather than try to eliminate the problem, would you consider first having a conversation with Me about it? Rather than plunging in, trying to fix a thing or two on your own, would you consider asking Me what I think about the problem, asking Me how I perceive it? Would you consider pausing before acting so you can seek my wisdom and guidance? Would you surrender the whole situation to Me?

Each detail of your life—each moment and situation that feels like a test, a trial, a conundrum—will look and feel different when your obsession with fixing your own life is laid down and, instead, you fix your eyes on Me.

Daughter, son, you are not alone. You do not need to be in the business of trying so hard to fix your world. Rather than pushing and pulling and worrying and striving to address the endless list of needs and pains brought to your attention each day, give Me your heart. With your surrendered heart you will have hope and energy to tackle anything that fills your day. For your mindset will be different. And what I draw to your attention—a situation where you can help and bring light to the world—will be a moment of you trusting in Me, loving Me more than yourself. 

Surrender; receive my love; let me recalibrate your heart; and watch what your problems look like then.

Exercise:

We live in a culture that worships doing, fixing, tweaking, improving. Nothing is ever good enough—fast enough, smart enough, strong enough, beautiful enough. Humankind has made it its business to work and work and worry and worry. We’re inundated with messages—from traditional media and social media—that offer solutions, or encourage us to find solutions, to all our problems. There’s always a product, a process, a program that can fix what needs fixing, improve what needs improving.

But it’s not the fix-it mindset itself that’s the problem. It can actually be pretty great in many respects. No, the problem is when we begin to adopt this mindset first and most when problems arise—large and small. The problem is when the fix-it mindset is our always go-to. And that’s a lot, isn’t it? We like to feel like we are in control.

And that’s is why this message hit Jennifer and me right between the eyes. We realize that, too often, we just don’t turn to God first. We turn, instead, to problem solving—to what can be done, logically, practically, in our own strength and power and will. And then, only when every possible solution has been exhausted, do we decide to turn to God. And that’s not very often. I mean, most of the problems we encounter are of a size that we can solve them.

And in our pride, we forget that we’re not alone. We are never meant to be alone. But we forget that, and we turn our eyes away from an amazing, loving, generous Father who never leaves our side, who loves to give us counsel and help in our time of need, and we carry on like orphans—thinking we have nowhere to turn, assuming that we are cut off from all support and help, concluding that it’s all up to us.

Let’s pause here. How do you feel about what I’ve just said? What are you thinking? Check in with your heart. How does it respond to these words you’ve just heard?

Holy Spirit said, “Consider this: to measure your life by your ability to eliminate problems rather than by the health of your soul—your heart, your relationship with Me—makes you blind to beauty and hope and blessings.”

Friend, how are you measuring your life?

Let’s change directions slightly. What’s the problem you’re facing right now? What’s the problem that God might want you to let Him into?

Holy Spirit said, “Each detail of your life . . . will look and feel different when your obsession with fixing your own life is laid down and, instead, you fix your eyes on Me.” 

Fixing our eyes upon God, in the midst of our trials, and having conversations with Him about what we are going through—it is all so powerful and so healing.

Will you let Him in? If you will, invite Him in now.

King David’s song to God, in Psalm 121, is our prayer too: 

I look up to the mountains and hills, longing for God’s help.

But then I realize that our true help and protection

   come only from the Lord,

   our Creator who made the heavens and the earth.

He will guard and guide me, never letting me stumble or fall.

   God is my keeper; he will never forget nor ignore me.

He will never slumber nor sleep;

   he is the Guardian-God for his people, Israel.

Jehovah himself will watch over you;

   he’s always at your side to shelter you safely in his presence.

He’s protecting you from all danger both day and night.

He will keep you from every form of evil or calamity

   as he continually watches over you.

You will be guarded by God himself.

   You will be safe when you leave your home

   and safely you will return.

   He will protect you now,

   and he’ll protect you forevermore!

Father . . . I want a new mindset. I want to approach my life differently. I want to walk through my days and engage every minute, differently. I want to drop my orphan mindset. I want to move into sonship, daughterhood. I want a with-God, always-together-with-my-Father, with-my-Papa mentality to characterize my life and to permeate all the moments of the rest of my life. And I want all of that more than I want control and credit and independence.

I just wanted You to know that, Father.

In Your Son’s name, Amen.