Psalm 77 – all of it!!
“Worry and worship cannot exist in the same space. One always displaces the other. Choose worship.”Louie Giglio
Holy moly. The past 3 weeks have been an absolute whirlwind. What used to be my normal is gone. My new normal, if I’m being completely honest, is depressing. Three weeks ago I was finishing up my final projects before spring break. The only care I had was if I had enough sunscreen for the week. Two weeks ago I was laying in the hot sun in Destin, Florida, happy as a clam. Now, I’m stuck in a depressing routine that doesn’t exactly have an expiration date.
My new normal looks a little something like this: wake up around 9/9:30, go downstairs for breakfast, eat, get on zoom at 10 to meet my class for our lecture, get out of zoom when lecture is over, work from my new and definitely not improved studio desk (it’s literally just 2 card tables in the living room with my studio work on it), eat some more, work more, exercise/work out in the living room, possibly go for a walk depending on the weather, watch tv, work more, look at my phone, eat more even though I’m probably not hungry, just bored, talk with my parents, work more, watch more tv… YOU GET IT. It’s quite the boring cycle… it’s depressing and has 100% amplified my anxiety!! If you know me, you know I thrive off of community and friends. I do not do well in isolation and solitude. And right now, my friends are so far away.
Because there really doesn’t seem like there’s going to be an end to this crazy any time soon, I’ve had two absolute mental breakdowns. One was a few days ago. One was today. Y’all, I’m telling you, I am not thriving. I’m getting by and surviving, but man, it is a struggle with a capital struggle. Thankfully, I have the best parents, the most gentle and sweetest boyfriend, and the bestest girl friends in the world comforting me and pointing me to the Lord. Todays breakdown was not ideal, but whatever. My girl Bailey, s/o to you sista, listened to me and told me not to let the devil get into my head. I, at that point, confessed to him already being in my dang head. The issue is I just can’t/don’t know how to get him out. She replied with the simplest and easiest fix – prayer. Well duh, Anna! How did I forget prayer?!?! I was so focused on me and my issues I literally forgot the one thing that can fix everything. Sadly, I do this a lot.
In situations that I can’t control, I tend to worry. But worrying shifts the focus onto me and my sorry strength instead of the Lord and His mighty strength. When we worship our Creator in prayer (or scripture reading, or worship music, or whatever you do to worship), we start to see things through His lens instead of ours. The truth of the matter is that the Lord knew this whole coronavirus outbreak was coming. Not only that, He knows how and when it will end. He knows it sucks right now, but He also knows better days are coming. He sees them even when we don’t. If that doesn’t give you peace, you need to read that sentence over and over again until you feel that peace!! He knew. He knows. He sees. He loves.
So anyway, Bailey encouraged me to pray. So I did. I sat on the floor of my bedroom and I prayed. I opened up my Bible and read through some Psalms. God why the heck am I feeling this way? I can’t control my thoughts. I barely have fresh air to calm my anxiety. I’m eating WAY too much food, I’m so exhausted… I, me, my, mine, blah blah blah. It was all about me. That’s why I was so anxious and had complete meltdowns. I was so focused on ME. I can’t even keep myself from eating 17 meals a day, how can I possibly think I can control this corona situation? I can’t. Somehow during the past two crazy weeks, I started focusing on how I was going to handle this situation instead of how God was going to handle it. And that’s when things started to crumble. It’s not at all about me, it’s all about Him. So last night I shifted my focus from me to Him in absolute worship. I laid everything at the foot of the cross. This is not at all how I would like my life to be going right now, so I laid down my plans and my wants. I started reading through the Psalms with the focus on HIM, not me. I started to read them differently. I started to feel this peace welling up inside of me. Psalm 77. Please read it!! Here’s a link if you don’t have a Bible handy. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2077&version=ESV It’s only 20 verses but I felt like that was too long to type into the quote box at the top of the blog. Please read, it’s SO GOOD!!! The first half is a cry to the Lord. It’s a cry that is very similar to our cries lately. Has the Lord left us? Has the Lord stopped loving us? Lord, where are youuuuu? But the second half. The second half is beautiful. The focus switches from despair, fear, and worry, to pure worship and awe of God. Verses 11 and 12 say, “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.” It continues for 8 more verses praising the Lord and remembering all the good He has done. And that’s what I needed. And it’s quite possibly what you need, too – to refocus your attention to the strength and the power and the good of the Lord and away from you and your fears and your worries and your current situation.
The truth of the matter is that you have absolutely no idea what’s going on and you have absolutely no control over the situation. Sorry. But that’s also the beauty of the whole situation. No one has any idea and no one knows anything. BUT. Y’all, don’t you love the big buts God likes to throw at us?!? I love big buts! I’m gonna put a list of my favorite Biblical big buts at the bottom of this blog bc they rock. Anyway. We might be so lost and so blinded right now, BUT the Lord knows. He’s not lost. He’s not blinded. He doesn’t just have an idea of when this will be over. He knows 100%. This doesn’t take away the realness of the situation. This is still a scary virus. You still need to be following the governments orders and staying home as much as possible and limiting your interaction between people in order to stay safe. But this does shine a new light to the situation, doesn’t it? There is a God who knows. There is a God who cares. There is a God who loves. Don’t focus on your worries. Focus on His worship, the worship He deserves. If He got the Israelites through all they went through, He can get us through this virus. And He absolutely will. I have no doubt in my mind. There has not once been a time where God’s people were suffering and He left them completely to suffer without saving them. No. When God’s people suffer, He’s right there. He always swoops down to save us. Always. Because that’s who God is. He loves us. And He still loves you right now. But don’t focus on yourself right now. Don’t focus on the situation. Don’t worry!! Instead, worship.
When you can’t do anything with your situation, learn to worship instead of worry. Like Louie Giglio said (in summary), you can’t worship and worry at the same time. If you pick one, you reject the other. Pick worship. Worrying doesn’t add a single day of life to a man, so why worry? In unknown and fearful situations, you have two options, really. (1) pick worry and ruin any good that could possibly come from the situation and (2) pick worship and make the most out of what you have. Wouldn’t you prefer to at least be happy in unknown situations? Worrying doesn’t allow you to be happy at all. Worship does. I guarantee you’ll feel so much more at peace, so much more calm, and so much more happy if you choose to worship over worry. Quit focusing on yourself, focus on God. Make the most out of the situation by praising the God who created you. Girl, chose to worship over worrying.
As promised, a few of my favorite big buts!!! These are just a few of my favs that I just wrote down. But there are plenty more in the Bible because like I mentioned, God likes his big buts.
Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Ephesians 2:1-4 – “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. BUT God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved.”
Romans 5:7-8 – “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
2 Thessalonians 3:3 – “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”
Romans 8:6 – “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”