I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom, completely frustrated and defeated. I was trying so hard to do what I believed to be right but seemed to be failing in every regard. My relationships were difficult and seemed to be more drama than benefits. I wasn’t finding success at work and with my job also being my ministry, I felt the weight of failure weigh heavy on my shoulders. I couldn’t even balance my budget! With Bible open and journal furiously scribbled upon, I had come to an impasse. “God, I don’t know what to do. I really need to hear from you. Please.” What I heard next changed my life.
Philippians 3:3 says “…we rely on what Christ has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort…” Really? This to me was one of those verses that I believed to be true for other people. In a culture and society that labels and determines value based off works, this verse just missed the mark for me. I mean, faith without works is dead, right? They will know we are Christians by our love, right? With so many tensions in life that can lead to imbalance and frustration I was feeling pulled in every opposing direction. Like a boat on the waters, at the mercy of its current and flow. I needed an anchor.
Now, I’m well aware of Christian rhetoric and how “Jesus is supposed to be my anchor” and I don’t dispute the validity or value of that at all. It is important to fill your mind with things that are true otherwise that mental space will become occupied with unhealthy and unhelpful thoughts. It is why we insert disciplines into our lives like singing together regularly and spending time in our reading and study. “Jesus being your anchor” can be a hard thing to hear in the midst of crisis and even harder to trust and believe when spirits are low and confidence is gone. (Not that I’ve been in that place or anything…)
So then what? What in those moments of head and heart being maligned is of comfort and peace? Here are a few practical ways I’ve found God speak to me and calm my unsettled heart.
When we sing
There is power in lyric and song. Moods change. Feelings shift. Memories are recounted. We can experience physical, emotional and spiritual change when we sing together.
When we pray
There is a reason we are called to pray quickly and frequently. Prayer is powerful and effective. Let us not too quickly dismiss the authority and power given to us because our own hearts are weak or calloused to the work God does when we call to him.
When we read
The Bible is alive. It speaks straight to our souls and does more than give an account of historical events. It speaks to our present and shapes us for our future. There are countless times I’ve had to stop and put the good book down because I’ve felt it nail me in the feels.
There are also those rare moments that shape you at your foundation and core. As I was on the floor of my room, overwhelmed and unsure, I heard God speak to me. Not through a song, book or person, just straight to my heart and soul. He simply said, “ You are a good man.” That may not seem like much to the average person, but it broke me and built me up in that moment. The God of the universe who knew my absolute worst and darkest parts of my heart still said that I was good. The things I had done both good and bad were no longer factors in determining my value. God had declared my value.
This verse makes sense to me now. “I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ for God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.” Phil 3:9. My motivation for everything can now be built from the place of knowing God sees me as valuable and not the “value” I add to anything that he does. He’s God. He’s got it covered and I’m not needed for anything but rather I’m invited to join in with what he is doing. The same is true of you. You are good and God wants you to join in with what he is doing not because of what you can contribute but because he just wants you.
Reflect on this…
- Can you recall a time where God spoke to you in such a clear and undeniable way? What did he say?
- If you haven’t had a moment like that, ask God to help you hear from him clearly about your worth and value.