We look at the world and see unrest, turmoil, and threats to our future. But all inside us changes when we look at the power of God. His declaration that states He has the victory and He has the path to our triumphant life.
Here are the last three of ten steps to follow and reach that kind of life.
As a reminder, the first six steps were: (1) Make God a priority, (2) Set a time and place for you and Him alone, and (3) consider the rewards, (4) Choose, not the good, but the best, (5) Plan ahead when you’re away from home, and (6) Stop to listen. Please see the March 4 and March 18 posts to read about these steps in their entirety.
- Find His presence in hectic moments.
She gritted her teeth. “I’m so stupid! I left my cell at home. Now my son can’t call me to pick him up.”
Those words echoed the same self-deprecating phrases I used when things suddenly went wrong.
Who can blame us? We’re conditioned to put the focus on the part we messed up and lament the consequences.
But it’s in those moments that God’s voice calls us to take a deep breath. And even for a minute or two, ponder on His goodness, reflect on His solutions, and declare our trust in Him.
That’s because when frustration happens, a minute in His presence keeps us from being shaken.
I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 16:7-8)
- Practice silent prayer before making all decisions.
It’s been said that we became addicted to the hurry habit. I’m waving my hand in the air because that was me. When my boys were all in elementary school, those words were repeated more often than others, “C’mon guys, hurry up. We’re already late. Hurry up and eat, we need to go. Hurry, your brother is already in the car.”
It’s in that hurried kind of life that I made my dumbest mistakes.
“Mommy, can Danny and Mike spend the night?”
Of course, I was probably in a hurry when he asked that question and, in my rush, I said yes. UGH! What a mistake. That was the night before a baby shower at my house.
So, from then on, the answer was, “You need to give Mommy a few minutes to think about that and then I’ll give you an answer.”
When we take a minute aside to look to God and ask for wisdom, we avoid regrets and we rejoice instead.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5)
- Evaluate activities.
“I think the world is crumbling on top of me,” my friend said on the phone.
How often I’ve felt that same way. And when I sought prayer, a friend gave the best suggestion ever.
“Check all the activities you’re involved in.” she said. “Is all that busyness pleasing the Lord?”
I swallowed hard. Of course, it wasn’t. In an effort to do good things, to be involved, I took on responsibilities at my kids’ school, church, the neighborhood and even my book club.
But when I reviewed the list, one by one, I scratched off what infringed on my priorities which were my time with God and my time with my family.
In order to take the right path, in silent prayer, I asked God to replace busy with blessings. And rather than choosing my own good works to do, I asked for him to reveal to me the works He planned and prepared for me.
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
- End your day with a heart of gratitude.
When my three sons were small, exhaustion followed me to bed every night. And when morning came, the race started all over again.
Adding to my chaos, stress would chase me mercilessly. It did because I focused on the chores to be done and on the responsibilities as a mom and wife.
But when my pastor challenged us to embrace an attitude of gratitude, the stress disappeared.
I chose to take moments to stop my day and give thanks for whatever came to mind. When my sons began to quarrel, I thanked God because they were healthy. When I wiped the kitchen countertop for the umpteenth time, I thanked God we had food to prepare on it.
When dishes piled up, I thanked God I had hands and energy to get them done.
And before closing my eyes at night, a few moments of gratitude for all the good in my life filled my thoughts.
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
God’s blessings come in health, opportunities, provision and the fullness of life. But we empty that fullness when, in the busyness, we neglect quiet moments before Him.
Father, thank You for giving me the path to live with a calm heart filled with gratitude and expectation of good and beautiful things. In Jesus’ name.
Janett Perez Eckles