Hi friends – a very long time no see!
A friend of mine recently asked where I’ve been in regards to this blog. Quite honestly, all over the place. This blog, as much as it is for others, I use it mostly for me. I was using this blog as an outlet to pay attention to the things the Lord was teaching me. If I was anxious, I’d write about what I was learning so that I could further understand where that anxiety was stemming from and be at peace. If I was hurting, I’d find and write scripture down that reminded me that Jesus heals. But I got to a point where I wasn’t anxious, I wasn’t finding myself hurting or questioning or worrying. I’m guilty of being one of those people who when life is great, forgets to delve deep into Jesus. When things go bad, that’s when I’m most eager to read scripture and listen to Jesus. So you might be wondering why I’m back. I found myself being more anxious than usual lately. I’m tired of this pandemic. I want my life to continue moving forward. (It is, I know that, it just feels so slow). I’m in this place where I have just over a year of grad school left – but I’ve also been doing college for 5 years. I’m getting antsy and anxious for what’s to come. And when that friend asked about this blog, I realized I wanted to learn something from life right now instead of wishing away the present. So here I am. Welcome back to my blog.
If you keep up with the days of the year, you might know that today is Palm Sunday. It’s the beginning of Holy Week. I just sat through a tough sermon at church. It was eye opening. It was painful. It was crushing. It was humiliating. It was hard. I’m not gonna lie – I cried a little. The very pain that Jesus endured on the cross in my place is due to the sins I commit on a daily basis – including that of only sinking into Jesus when times are bad – including that of letting anxiety control my emotions – including that of telling Jesus “I can do it myself”. Oof. That stings.
Something my therapist and I have been discussing and working through lately is my deep desire to know what’s going on and to control the things in my life. If you have ever made plans for anything in your life, odds are, it didn’t go 100% to plan. If it did, send me your tips and tricks!! Otherwise, you know the annoyance and tension that comes from having plans change or not go according to plan. Of course, there’s certain things in life that I do not care what so ever if the plans get changed. For example, last weekend my parents met me in Raleigh for a lunch with my grandparents. I wasn’t planning on going back with them to Charlotte. Well, last minute I packed up my bags and headed to Charlotte with them. I had plans in Raleigh, but that changed. It’s cool, no sweat. On the drive home, mom asked if we could make a pit stop to see a historic covered bridge. The plan wasn’t to stop, but we did anyway. And it was completely totally okay with me. It was exciting and quite amusing honestly. But there’s other plans I can’t relinquish control over. Why? For no other reason than I think I can plan better than God. I have plans for my future. I know what job I want when I graduate. I know what job I want 5 years after graduating. I know when I want to get married. I know when I want to buy the dog I so desperately desire. I have a timeline. I have plans. …but so does God.
Sometimes I laugh at how foolish I can be. I continually make these plans only for God to rip them apart and tell me he has better plans. Of course, they rarely line up with the timeline I have planned. And this causes me anxiety and hurt. But it’s anxiety and hurt I’ve caused on myself. If I could truly learn to lay down my cross daily, lay down my desires to control and plan, I would experience less anxiety and less hurt. But I struggle.
It’s so much easier said than done, isn’t it? When I can’t see the future exactly, but I see a piece of it, or maybe none at all, I think God isn’t truly working and won’t give me the desires of my heart. I know that’s not truthful. But it’s hard. I can’t see the wind, but I know it’s there. I can feel it and I can see the results of it. God’s plans are the exact same way. I can’t always see them, but if I am still for a minute, I can feel them and see the results of them. But to be blunt, I suck at being still and laying down my cross. I love to be busy. I love to go. But sometimes, I’m reminded I need to be still.
Jesus laid down his cross once and for all so that I don’t even have to carry my cross around. But I’m a sinner. So I constantly pick that cross back up. But listen to me – Jesus laid down his cross ONCE for YOU. For ME. If that doesn’t make your heart pitter patter, you need to read Isaiah 53 & take in what Jesus went through. I’ll probably pick my cross back up tomorrow, knowing me. But I’m going to try my absolute best to let the Lord fight for me. Join with me in letting him hold me, my plans, my desires, my anxieties. I don’t exactly know what I’m doing, but thank God He does. If being still is what it takes for the Lord to fight for me, I’ll try my best to be still. And that includes stilling my mind.
One of my favorite verses in the entire Bible is Exodus 14:14. It says, “The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.” How can I be still when I have so many things planned? So many things on my to do list? So much to accomplish before the day is over? Being still starts with open hands. No matter how heavy the object in your hands, if you hold onto something for too long, you’ll tire, you’ll wear yourself down, you’ll become antsy and feel the need to set down that object. What happens when you set down that object? A sense of peace. A sense of freedom. A long overdue breath. I’m holding my cross. I’m holding my plans and my desires. But I’m tiring. I’m tired of tiring. The Lord knows I’m not strong enough to hold it forever. Luckily, He is. I just need to lay my cross down. Daily. Not just once a year, not once a month. Daily. After church this morning, I did just that.
I can already feel the anxiety leaving my body as I’m writing this. Thank you sweet Jesus for being faithful. I’m doing my best to be still right now. And I’m already reaping the benefits!! Yahoo!! I encourage you to do the same. You’ll automatically feel better. Throw on your favorite outfit. Watch your favorite movie. Just lay on your bed and look at your plants. Sing your favorite songs. Whatever it is, find something to make you be still. If the Lord is faithful to me, he’ll be faithful to you. Girl, lay down your cross and be still my sweet friend.