August 30, 2014

Leaning Upon the Lord

The Lord is so good to me, so very good to me. I am giving Him praise today for He has done marvelous things for me (Psalm 126:3). I stand amazed and in awe of His magnificent Name, and I rest in His sufficiency and provision for my life. The Lord is my rock and my fortress. He is my assurance, my sweet assurance  -- He guides me in safety, and He keeps me in complete comfort and care.

As I rest in Him today, I thank Him for His grace this past week. He made a way for me to experience His mercy, and through that experience, I was able to "see" the truth of my circumstance, my situation, and I was given great hope and encouragement to keep on "keeping on."

To say I was not discouraged last week would be such an understatement. I was so very low, so very discouraged, and so very ill-equipped for the tasks that I had to complete. Furthermore, I was struggling to keep my focus, to remain calm, and to push through the mental fog blocking my way through the assignments, the homework, the lesson plans, etc. that are now such a routine part of my life.

Just when I thought I couldn't take another sling and arrow, the Lord moved in a mighty way, and my strength was renewed. Isaiah 40:31 says,

But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Yes, this is exactly how I felt on Friday. I was beat down, burdened, and feeling the brunt of the crushing weight of my long "to-do" list. I felt dejected as if everything I did, everything I tried, simply failed. No matter how I worked to overcome, I felt my feet slipping. It was like I was walking in sand. Every step forward came with two steps sliding backwards. I was frustrated and overwhelmed.

The Lord rescued me. He lifted me from the pit of my own depression and set my feet on the clear and solid path. Why was I so downcast last week? There were multiple reasons, but mostly, I was overwhelmed by the amount of work required to teach full-time, and I felt increasing pressure to preform well. These two things coupled with my anxiety over my courses at Regent formed an oppressive veil that kept me shrouded in darkness, in feelings of low self-worth. Truthfully, the Lord had me so well covered, and while I believed He was there to see me through, I still struggled to control all the details, to complete all the tasks, and to show up and be "on" for my students. I was doing it, of course, in my own strength. My strength failed me, and still I tried to hustle up a little bit more, just a bit more, to see me through to the end of the week. On Thursday, I crashed and burned. I hit the wall. When Friday came around, I knew that I couldn't go on. I was at the end of my ability, and my resources were not going to make "ends meet."

God moves when we are at the end of ourselves. This is the time when the Lord steps in and does the very thing we cannot do. It is His preferred way of doing things -- to do what we cannot -- so that He receives all the glory and praise. I, of course, was already wanting Him to have that praise, to have that glory -- I just wasn't ready to let go, to lift my hand off, and to quote Carrie Underwood, "let Jesus take the wheel!"

I did, however, let go. I released my grasp on my life, my plans, and my desires -- and something marvelous and wonderful happened. The Lord took over, took control, and in an instant, everything that needed to be done was done. My tasks were completed. I was refreshed, I was renewed, and I was reinvigorated (encouraged and filled with hope). Yes, the Mighty God of Israel, showed up BIG time in my life, and as a result, I experienced His Majesty. I saw Him as I AM, and I realized that all my attempts at control, all my desires to go my way, all of it -- my effort -- resulted in no gain, but plenty of pain. I let go, and in a moment, I rested. I experienced that "being" in His presence.

Today, I reflect on that experience and I know that what the Lord calls me to do is impossible for me to do. Even with all my skill and ability, with my experience, with my faithfulness and obedience -- I fall short. I cannot do what He wants me to do. I am not able to be the person He is calling me to be.  I am not giving up, per se, but rather I am giving in, giving in to a power and presence that far exceeds anything humanly possible or plausible. Yes, I am giving over control to the One who is able to do for me far more exceedingly abundantly that anything I could ask or want (Eph. 3:20). I am resting in Him, letting Him "be" in my life. I look forward to the plans He has for me. I know they are good, so very good. They are so good, in fact, that only He can accomplish them, only He is able to bring them to pass in my life.

May the Lord be praised this day. He is good. His mercy endures forever.

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