The phone rang while we were out at dinner with the high school booster club. It was a noisy room, and Derek walked out to the patio so he could take the call. When he came back, I saw a sudden change to his face, his skin had turned an odd grayish color. I knew then the caller had just placed a huge weight on his shoulders.
Don’s the property manager for the rental we have called home over the past six years. We love our place. Our kids are firmly entrenched in their respective schools, our neighbors are counted among our close friends, and my husband has a ten-minute commute to work (when 90 minute commutes are not out of the norm). We don’t want to be anyplace else.
We currently live amidst a housing market that regularly sees bidding wars, cash only offers, and required letters from prospective buyers, convincing the sellers why they “deserve the house” over others bidders.
A lot has changed since we moved in. We have counted our blessings, knowing that we had a treasure of a house, at an amazing price, that probably wouldn’t last. We knew this day was coming.
“The owner wants to sell. She said she would give us twenty days to move out.”
My heart skipped a couple beats.
“What did you say?”
“I said, how much?”
I nodded. We had already discussed this scenario. But a decision was being forced upon us, ready or not. An appropriate time and place to discuss, this was not- so we wrapped up the conversation.
I took a deep breath and resumed talking to the lady next to me about rubber duck sales and flamingo flocking people’s yards. Yeah. That was quite a shift. My mind stayed on the house.
Derek said that Don would relay the information to the owner, regarding our interest in buying and he would get back to us. No price. No definite answer. Uncertainty. And that is how I went to bed last night- knowing that we either had to buy our house, at who knows what price, or find a new one in the next twenty days.
I’m currently writing a book about trusting God. I know this is God’s grace, as it has meant that my study and focus has been on the very topic that I was going to need to apply in a very real way- right now.
We all have stressors in our lives that serve to remind us of our dependence on God. Dare I say these problems, themselves, are grace? They are. We can study and read all day about why and how we are called to place our trust in God, and this is good. But at some point, that head knowledge needs to move from theory to practice. It is through the experience of trusting Jesus that we draw closer to Him and learn just how trustworthy He is.
I went to sleep thinking about where we were going to live, and I woke up thinking about it. Not having any clarity, my thoughts were on a carousel, going around and around. I needed to jump off. I had prayed and given this to God. Now I simply needed to take his hand and walk with him.
Craving clarity, we attempt to eliminate the risk of trusting God. Fear of the unknown path stretching ahead of us destroys childlike trust in the Father’s active goodness and unrestricted love.” ― Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin’s Path to God
Knowing God’s character – he is completely sovereign, perfect in love, and infinite in wisdom, is where trusting Him starts. Asking for the Holy Spirit to work in your heart, to help you trust is also essential. After you have prayed and left that heavy weight with God, you may experience an instant peace- or you may not. Often, I need to discipline my thoughts, and come back to prayer, again and again when a situation is particularly stressful.
Here’s what the Bible says about worry,
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5
I’ll also offer you ten suggestions that work for me, in addition to the above verse, some practical steps to take when a problem is weighing heavily on your mind.
1. Open up the Bible, read, and pray
2. Write out your thoughts
3. Ask a few close friends to pray for you
4. Laugh. Spend some time with someone who makes you laugh, watch a comedy, read a book. Just don’t take life so seriously.
5. Move: walk, run, swim…whatever
6. Make a list of what needs to be done
7. Tackle the problem in bite sized pieces. Example: I went and talked to a neighbor this morning about a possible rent/buy opportunity across the street. I’m leaving the outcome up to God, but I’m still being proactive in pursuing all possible solutions that I know of.
8. You might need to talk about it and problem solve, but put limits on how long you will do this before taking a break. Example: last night my spouse and I were discussing the house, but when I felt myself shifting from problem solving mode, to worry, I had to ask him to take a break from the conversation.
9. Work as a team with your spouse (if applicable) or ask for help from a friend. God puts us in each other’s lives so that we can be his hands and feet. Be humble enough to accept help when needed.
10. Get enough sleep and eat healthy.
I promise, I am doing (or trying) all of the above right now. As of the time of this writing, I’m still living in a state of unknown. I’m trusting that whatever the outcome, God will work it for His glory. I wrote this for me, as much as for you. I need constant reminders to refocus and place my trust in God, and I need to be intentional about how I do that. We all do. Do your worries make your feel like you’re stuck on a carousel that you need to get off of? Trust God with those worries and try these practical steps to ease your stress.
Dawn is a writer living near Seattle with her husband, Derek, and their two kids, Grace and Trent. A gatherer of friends, she enjoys seeing how many people she can host in her tiny home. A church girl her entire life, she’s still trying to figure out what it looks like to put her trust in Jesus, so she blogs @ Above the Waves. You can find also her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram