Hope for the Heart

“Your future looks uncertain and feels flimsy – even precarious. This is how it should be. Secret things belong to the Lord, and future things are secret things. This, like all forms of worry, is an act of rebellion: doubting my promises to care for you.”

– Jesus Calling, Sarah Young

I dedicated my prayer month of February to worry. I have struggled with this issue in my faith for a long time. I am both a worrywart and a control freak so handing over something – like my future – is extremely difficult to me. While I believe God wants us to do things for ourselves and take personal responsibility, ultimately, He will always be in control.

During the first three weeks of the month, I felt I made no movement in giving up control and my daily act of worrying; in fact, after a few hits to my budget and difficulties at my side job, I felt even more overwhelmed by worry than usual. But in the past week, scripture has come to my rescue, helping me to forgo some of my worries. Both big issues – with my budget and the second job – resolved themselves in the best possible way, and the sermon at church this week was all about letting go of anxieties (Matthew 6). If that isn’t God’s reassurance to let Him sit in the driver’s seat, I don’t know what is.

If there is one thing I’ve learned in the last two months of this elevated prayer journey, it’s that – no matter how strong your faith is – you will experience high and low periods. God is continually testing us to see if we really do trust Him with our lives. When faced with troubles and triggers that set off a list of worrisome questions in my head, I have learned to calm my fears by praying. When I don’t have the words, I simply say The Lord’s Prayer, and I’m overcome with peace.

As difficult as it seems sometimes to give up the weight we carry around each day, I know it would be much more difficult to face my troubles and anxieties alone. With God in my court, I know I truly don’t have anything to worry about.

Force Quit on your Losing Streak

Almost a month in, and I’ve stuck to the most important of my new year resolutions: to grow in faith. At the end of last year, I was at odds with relationships in my life and wanted to turn everything over to God. Not only would dedicating the New Year to God bring me closer to Jesus, I felt doing so would also give me the answers I needed to mend the troubles I was having.

2017

In order to hold myself accountable, I made a list of 12 people in my life I wanted to either improve my relationship with or needed to forgive; I make a similar list of 12 topics I wanted to focus on, in order to be a better Christian. I decided I would consciously pray each day for the person I dedicated that month to, and would read specific scripture each day addressing the topic of the month.
The list included subjects such as my parents, my sister, specific friends, my desire for a boyfriend, and working to overcome the negative perception of news. Topics included forgiveness, jealousy, worry, judgment, and being enough for myself.

What I’ve learned in my first month is that both mending and growing relationships, with people and God, takes time. I approached the resolution with optimism and was quickly rewarded with lines of open communication between me and the person I chose for January. But praying and reading the Bible does not automatically grant me positive mending every day. I’ve learned this is a process – there will be days I feel I’ve taken a step back. Yet, overall, I feel more complete. In just one month, a peace has overcome me. While I know there will be days and months full of ups and downs in 2017, I also know I have a God that I can always turn to. And as I grow in this journey, I hope to learn how to¬†better listen and hear His voice, in all the times I turn to Him.

 

Disclaimer: I have not stuck to my resolutions to practice French twice a week or practice piano three days a week.

Reflection.

You’ve probably been hearing it for weeks now – 2016 was the worst year in history. Not that we humans like to exaggerate much.
Given the political climate, most point to the election as the troublemaker. Others are upset over the numerous Hollywood loses. Still, I can’t help but look back on the year with pride. As others wallow in anger and resentment at their previous 12 months, this party-of-one has done quite well.
I’ve reached two of my biggest goals thus far – all within the last 365 days. In July, I moved into my first apartment. I haven’t lived with my parents since I started college, but I’ve always had roommates. While some have become lifelong friends and others enemies, I’ve always dreamed of a space of my own.
In September I accepted a job in my field, that I love. I was missing something in my life for a few months when I felt God lead me back to the news, and I couldn’t be happier.
But it’s not just me. I think if anyone truly reflected on their past year, they too could¬†find high points of happiness and pride. Each January, I write a list of resolutions or goals I want to reach by the end of the calendar. Though I often forget about them a couple months later, when I look back on them the last week in December, I see I have reached many of them. I pray the upcoming year is as good as 2016 really has been.