I confess. That island of mis-fit toys looked like a place I belonged.
Never quite fitting the mold, I would escape my own insecurities in the pages of a book. Longing for a simpler time, I would read of wagon trains and tales of life on the prairie. Ignoring the hardships, it was easy to believe that their modest life was a better alternative.
My child-like tendency to wish for better days and simpler times has never waned. Since I am confessing, I’ll just say it out loud: “I’m weary”. Lest you fear that I am walking a discouraging path, let me assure you that what I really want is to take this raw emotion and turn it into a message of hope.
I was driving the weekly trek to my parent’s house when my heart just felt… tired. I knew that this was partly physical after a hectic few weeks, but I also knew that it was also emotional. My thoughts had turned to the difficulties surrounding me, and the mental list of negative thoughts weighed me down until my seatbelt felt less like a restraint and more like a straightjacket.
The mental picture is striking. How easy it is for us to allow our thoughts to control our emotions and trap us in a place where we actually start believing all of the negative influences around us to the point that they control every part of our waking hours.
What did I do with that feeling of heaviness? I gave it to the only One who truly knew how I was feeling. I cried out to my God and He answered me.
“My innermost being will cheer when your lips say what is right.” Proverbs 23:16
There are 31 Proverbs–one for every day of the month–and I had read that verse earlier in the day. God reminded me that what I really needed was rescued. When we read God’s Word, He speaks right into our heart and reveals Himself and His plan for us. He knows how easily we can be brought down when we are surrounded with negative thinking. The solution? Our hope? Our rescue? Praise. Gratitude. Focusing on what is good and true and right, our mind fills those empty, lonely, grief or fear-filled spaces with the promises of God.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable–if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise–dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9
It isn’t even Thanksgiving yet, but Christmas music is already playing on the radio, so I ask myself, “Why not?!” and blast those joy-filled tunes and belt them out with gusto!
Rejoice in the Savior today. Recognize that He is King of Kings, and His love endures forever. He reigns over this world He created. The birth of Jesus and the reason He came to earth that first Christmas was to bring HOPE to a weary world. Burdened by our sin, He came to set us free from the bondage of fear and failure. PEACE comes as we take our eyes off our circumstance and focus on the One who LOVES us and came to save us.
His name is JESUS, Immanuel: God With Us.
If you liked this post, you might also enjoy a previous Christmas post: