One of my biggest character flaws is this insane ability to think about things way more than necessary. I’ll think about them until I’ve come up with even the most unlikely outcome, how it’s going to ruin everything, and all the hard work it will take to correct it. Apply that to most situations, and you can imagine how exhausting that can be. I would venture to guess that I’m not the only one in my small readership that does the same thing….
I have been learning the value of controlling my thoughts and wanderings before they take control of me. Even the Bible recommends this practice. Paul said that he himself had to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”. (2 Corinthians 10:5) I find my mind and will to be quite undisciplined in this area. It’s a lot harder than it sounds.
A few weeks ago, I found myself in a season where I had not been diligent to take my thoughts captive, nor had spent time in God’s word to equip me to do so. It was so easy to succumb to the pressure of those untamed wanderings. God let me get to a place of some mental distress to let me know what happens when I fail to do so. He let me feel the weight of untethered thinking and let me get to a place where I couldn’t engage with people without feeling exhaustion. He let these wanderings take my sleep for a few nights. He let tears sit just behind my eyes, ready to erupt at any given time for any given reason because my mind was just tired.
But the amazing thing about my Savior, is that He didn’t just leave me there, with a ‘Told you so!’ kind of look on His face. He was letting me learn the hard way, but then He picked me back up.
He spoke to me through His Word. In my moment of feeling weak and helpless, I ran to Romans 8:26—
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”
Then I began to read through the rest of the chapter, and I came across verse 15—
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the spirit of sonship (or daughtership). And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’.”
About this time, God gave me an absolutely beautiful example of this. I was reading this Scripture before bed, while my husband was putting the girls down for the night. They were almost out, when Hallie called out from her room. “Dad!” He went to check on her, and in her little voice, she said, “Daddy, I just can’t sweep”. That’s six year old talk for ‘sleep’. He asked her if she would like to go rock- a long time tradition of theirs, shared only between the two of them. She nodded, and they went to the living room and cuddled up in the rocking chair.
Within a short three minutes, Hallie was out. Perfectly still, sleeping in her Daddy’s arms. Whatever she was wrestling with that was keeping her awake vanished when she called out to her Daddy. His protective love gave her the ability to give it up and find rest.
I found myself falling asleep, more at peace. That though I had messed up and not been obedient to my Father, I could still cry out to Him. Not in fear, but in full confidence that He loved me as His precious daughter. I felt him saying “I know you’re tired. Please call out to me, rest in me.” I fell asleep that night asking Him to rock me. Asking to fall asleep in that safe space that He has ready for me.
Please know that your Heavenly Father offers rest in the midst of your strivings, struggles, and failures. Run to Him for it.
Also, I would encourage you to read the entirety of Romans 8. It’s not long, but it packed full of encouragement for living by the spirit in our Heavenly Father. I know I’ve continued to run to it since that evening and continued to find refreshment.