Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. -Psalm 139:23-24
We recently turned the page on our wall calendar and find ourselves in August. My boys are still in denial about school starting at the end of this month despite the fact that “Back to School” ads are flooding our mailbox daily. I’ve never been a big fan of the ramp up to school and my mind churns at night with all of the things I have to do: arranging sports carpools, filling in dates on my calendar, scheduling appointments, buying needed supplies, sifting through closets and drawers… the list is endless. I can spend hours thinking through logistics and trying to make arrangements.
Recently I was having a conversation with another mom who was feeling a bit overwhelmed about the start of school. A few carefully arranged plans she’d made for the school year had fallen apart unexpectedly and she was frantically trying to re-group. I spent some time listening to her lament and trying to encourage her. When I went home that night, I sent her a short e-mail.
“I know logistics and planning can be overwhelming at times. One thing I’ve learned is that if I’m thinking about it, God wants to hear about it. My default mode is to worry instead of trusting God with my problem. I’m try to trust God more with all of my logistical details and watch to see how He works them out.”
She responded with a thought I’ve heard echoed many times in the past. “I guess I just feel like it’s selfish to ask God about the small stuff. I should be able to work it out on my own instead of wasting His time.”
Let me be perfectly clear on this. The notion that God has limited time is absurd. He exists outside the boundaries of time and always has enough for all of us all the time. He’s never overwhelmed. He’s never in a hurry. Need some Biblical proof? Check out this passage from 2 Peter 3:8-
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”
God delights in us when we admit that we need Him- even for the small stuff. The myth of self-sufficiency and personal control keeps us from trusting God in so many places in our lives. God cares about every detail of our lives—even carpools, school schedules and frustrations at work.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31
Can you count how many strands of hair there are on these two heads? (Yeah, me neither– and I look at them every day!!)I’m learning that when I pray about my logistical frustrations, I’m more at peace with the way things unfold. Instead of telling God how He should work in a situation, I rely on Him to resolve it according to His will and thank Him that He is trustworthy. That way, no matter how the situation ends up, I know that it has happened for a reason and I look for the ways God wants to use it in my life. It’s easier to recognize His hand in a situation when I’ve laid it at His feet in advance.
Praying about my frustrations doesn’t always mean that God answers the way I want or expect. However, I’m much more apt to accept less-than-favorable outcomes and to look for the ways God is using them in my life. When my kids don’t get the teachers or coaches I was hoping for I remind myself that God has a reason and I have to trust Him for it. When I don’t end up with a close friend in my small group at Bible Study, I’ve learned to trust that God has a plan instead of getting indignant. When the carpool doesn’t work out, I try to enjoy the one-on-one time with one of my sons on the way to practice. And when my plate is simply too full, I’m learning to see the things God wants me to clear off of it.
Being anxious and trying to orchestrate every detail and logistic just wastes energy and causes angst. I think Paul must’ve known this when he penned these verses:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-8
The passage admonishes us not to be anxious about anything. It also says that in every situation we can thank God for how He’s going to work it out. Once we lay it before Him, we’re freed up to experience His peace and to wait for Him to work. When we feel anxiety creeping in, we need to stop and pray: “Guard my heart and mind, God.”
In case you’re still struggling with the idea that God doesn’t want to be bothered with the details, take a minute to think about your own children (if you have them) or your parents. Loving parents care about the smallest details in their children’s lives. God cares about details in your life the same way.
The Bible often refers to God as our “Abba,” which is simply the Hebrew way to say “Daddy.” We are his children, whom He loves and cherishes. No logistical detail is too small to escape His attention.
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” Romans 8:14-16
It seems like I have a new challenge to trust God with every day. I have a hard time applying what I’ve written about, but God keeps reminding me to come back after I’ve become too overwhelmed trying to do things on my own.
If you can relate to the August Angst I’m feeling, chime in and share how God is at work in your life through it.