Facing the Challenges of Life

Since life happens without any warning, I got into the habit, at a very young age, of breathing in shallow breaths. This is detrimental, because my body does not receive all of the oxygen it needs. My blood pressure went up, since I was hyperventilating all of the time. My mind kept my body in high alert. My soul does not react well to the uncertainty of life.

Inwardly, I felt fearful and insecure all the time. The environment in which I lived was unreliable and unpredictable. In my childhood, I grew up with emotional distance, unpredictable anger and physical aggression, which caused dread and instability. Throughout my life, I lived with repeated unsettling circumstances and unexpected changes.

For instance, I moved way too often in my early married life, and had to start over too many times. Eventually, my former husband decided he needed to move on without me, so I lived through divorce. I also experienced two car crashes in which I totaled both cars. The first accident left me with emotional turmoil and the second inflicted extensive physical trauma.

All of my life, I tried to control life to keep it manageable and safe. Of course, I failed miserably at this endeavor. We cannot harness life no matter how many safety valves we provide. I still do not like surprises and I have to remind myself to be more flexible, but I have learned some valuable life lessons.

Over my years as a Believer, I learned to keep my focus on God, to surrender everything to Him in prayer, to have faith in God’s faithfulness and to be more in tune to His Spirit (Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:6; 1 Corinthians 1:9; Romans 8:14). God taught me to cast my cares on Him, because He really does care about me.

Walking in the Spirit moment by moment keeps me prepared for the unexpected (1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 77:14; Romans 8:28; Galatians 5:15-21). God also taught me that He places a seed for a miracle within every trial. With each lesson I learned, I started breathing more deeply because the feeling of impending doom disappeared.

Prayer:
Father God, You have a perfect plan for our life (Ephesians 2:10). Remind us to seek Your direction for each task You planned for our day, and then to seek Your face for guidance on how to do what You instruct us to do. Consumed by Your Spirit, there is no room for negative emotions. As we face new situations in life, which cause us injury, unrest and indecision, we can wait on You and face the circumstance with Your courage from within us. You strengthen us from the inside out to meet every new challenge (Psalm 27:14).

Thought for the Day:
Trusting totally in God and surrendering to His will for my life gives me His joy and serenity, which trying to control life never did.

Human Logic or Godly Wisdom

The further we submit to the sanctifying work of God’s Spirit in our soul, the more we seek after the divine issues of life rather than the carnal ones. We live to serve our Lord and His Saints, as well as those who do not yet know the saving power of His grace (Titus 2:11).

We walk in peace, which both defies human reasoning and makes people wonder why our trials no longer discourage or depress us (Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:7). Peace is not a state of mind, for which we can strive after and achieve. Trusting God takes the opposite of effort, and only comes when we give up control of every aspect of our life to the point of complete surrender.

A time of daily devotion, including Bible meditation and praise of God for His wondrous works in our life and in the world around us, helps to facilitate this process. Then, when our soul frets over the issues we face, God’s Spirit helps our spirit to overlook all of the worries and fears and to trust in God’s faithfulness.

God reveals His plans to us in His timing; but He will never reveal His will to us before we really need to know it. This helps us to develop patience and to die to our carnal nature. We live in holy contentment as He conquers our earthly concerns. God’s Spirit transforms our carnal mind with the steadfast mind of Christ (James 1:8).

When our only desire is to know Jesus, who is our only way, truth and life (John 14:6; Philippians 3:10; 1 Corinthians 1:30), the wisdom from God’s Spirit pours into our spirit. We seek only God’s pleasure in everything we think, say and do. We no longer rely on our human mind to direct our steps, but we trust in the wisdom of God.

Prayer:
Father God, we grow in unity with Your Trinity as we discontinue the futile habit of trying to control our life. Our awareness of Your place in our life increases and the intents of our heart reflect Your desires. We no long exalt human understanding above the leading of Your Spirit (Proverbs 16:7). Thank you for renewing our mind and for allowing Your character to replace the carnal confusion, which formerly restricted our life (Romans 12:2).

Thought for the Day:
The more that we recognize God’s voice and live a life of praise, even for the negative aspects of our life, the more peaceful and fulfilled we traverse our trials.