Preaching To Your Anxious Heart In The Night

July 07, 2014

Preaching To Your Anxious Heart In The Night

I awoke last night worried and anxious. I didn't want to be awake at 3 am, and I surely did not want to be spending those precious few hours of sleep, worrying.

But there I was, mind racing, with uninvited thoughts and lists of all that was unfinished or unfavorable. And as it is with all middle-of-the-night wakings, all the concerns of my mind seemed unfathomably difficult and impossible to reconcile. In between tossing and turning, were incoherent sentences beginning with "What if..." and "Don't forget..."

The coughing baby.

This house we want to sell.

That house we want to buy.

The emails.

The 10 yr. old birthday party I'm behind on planning.

That thing she said that really hurt.

The doctor's appointment still unscheduled.

The house to keep perfectly clean for the showings that may or may not happen.

The summer passing by too quickly.

The anxious heart. (Oh! to be anxious about having an anxious heart!)

I've been down this road before...this game your mind plays with your heart when you're too tired to think clearly. It leads nowhere productive. Problems are not solved, tasks are not accomplished, fears do not subside. You can't worry or think your way to rest. 

And my lips begin to automatically recite words that have been tucked away...true words I own...

"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you." (Psalm 56:3)

"But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high." (Psalm 3:3)

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.…" (Proverbs 3:5-6)

"Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God."
 (Psalm 42:11)

"Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me..." (Psalm 23:4)

New print available in shoppe, 8x10 and 11x14. New print available in shoppe, 8x10 and 11x14.

More come to mind, as I frantically work to fall back asleep....and I realize: I am earnestly praying. I am diligently seeking his face. I am recognizing my smallness and his greatness; my neediness and his faithfulness to provide.

Because sometimes the dark reveals what you are too proud to recognize in the light, I'm praying more in my drained sleep than I do in my filled up day. 

And, in that broken sleep, a gratitude for God's mysterious ways of wooing us draws me in:

He loves me enough to wake me up that I might draw close to him and ask of him

It's daylight now, and the pressures of the day pile up like the dishes in the sink that greet me before breakfast is even finished. I must be wearing it on my face -- the worry, the discontentment, the fear of the unknown, the impatience with living in limbo, the reluctance to do the next thing -- and Troy gently says to me, 

"Babe...the Lord would have us not have the answers, that we might find ourselves wholly submitted to him, trusting in his care, and dependent on his leading." 

And, rather than shirking under the admonition, I settle into it...because in his kindness, the Lord saw fit to draw my heart to his in the night, when I have nowhere to run, nothing to distract me, and nobody to hear from but the only One who hears.

What small or great need do you have today? What desperation do you feel but are too distracted to lay at his feet? Preach to your own heart, friend, with the Word of God...and trust that the place of strain he has you in today, may very well be the very place in which he's choosing to show you the relief only he can provide.

I'm pressing in and learning alongside you....

Because of grace,

*Title image by Tish Goff

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