Well . . . Is it True or Isn't it? (Pandemic Stress #4)
In my last blog, I shared part of my personal journey with stress and how, in failing to deal with it the right way, I did a lot of damage with my anger. This of course is not the only way to do damage. Inadequately dealing with stress can lead to all kinds of destructive behaviors like unhealthy eating, drug and alcohol abuse, cutting, pornography addiction and adultery - just to name a few. The fact is if we do not rightly deal with stress, stress will deal with us - one way or another.
One key in my personal journey had to do with perspective. HOW we look at circumstances is really more important than the circumstances themselves. For example, one person may see an insurmountable hardship leading to despair and defeat while another sees the same circumstance as a challenge to overcome eventually leading to a positive solution.
For me, my "perspective check" from the Lord came as a loving challenge. Like many of you, I was very familiar with the following Bible verse:
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 (ESV)
As the Lord brought that verse to my remembrance, He gently asked me the question, "Well . . . is it true or isn't it?" Wow. In came the flood of thoughts. It's obviously true. So then, God Himself is working this particular situation for good. Am I trusting Him to do that? No. What am I doing? I am reacting to the situation in frustration and anger. I am upset about the immediate angst this is causing me, and the potential negative ramifications for the future. Hmmmm. So when I rant and rave and complain, what am - or should I say WHO am - I ranting against? God. After all, He says He is present, working in the situation, and I don't like how it's working out.
He interjects again, "What if you believed that verse was really true?" Then ultimately there is good in this for me and I really have no reason to rant and rave about it. As a matter of fact, I can instead put this situation into the right perspective and give thanks to God for what He is going to do through it. Instead of seeing a negative, I can CHOOSE BY FAITH in my faithful God to see a positive.
Now I'm not saying that this happens instantaneously. It's something you and I will have to wrestle with prayerfully. But there is just no other conclusion. Either that verse is true, or it's not. And because it is, I can prayerfully put away my anger - replacing it with peace. I can put away my fear - replacing it with hope. And I can begin to establish a new way of looking at life, and develop a habit of responding to situations prayerfully rather than reacting to them emotionally.
No. . . . I haven't arrived yet. But I'm further down the road than I used to be!!