When You’re Taking Yourself Too Seriously

Photo via Creative Commons, Flickr

Photo via Creative Commons, Flickr

I sat in my car close to tears, my most recent parenting failures played on repeat in my mind.

My niece had failed her spelling test that morning. My son was cranky because of dental pain, and I still hadn’t managed to arrive on time to gymnastics practice even once.

I owned all of these failures and let their weight crush me until a familiar verse shed a new light.

“Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone—as though we had never been here,” (Psalm 103:15-16 NLT).

I’ve always seen this verse as sobering—even a little sad. But on this day when my cares mounted, it set me free, because it reminded me that I’m grass—not God.

It made me feel lighter somehow. I felt silly for fretting. If my life seems like a blade of grass in the expanse of eternity, then I need to get busy being a happy blade of grass.

Maybe you’re like me, and you take yourself way too seriously. You worry and forget to pray.

That day in the car God reminded me to do my job—the trusting part, and leave orchestrating the cosmos up to him. Our days here are short, and God’s numbered them already, (Psalm 139:16).

Next time I’m tempted to see a world that orbits around me, I’m going to remember who breathed supernovas into existence. And I’ll think about grass—or the wildflowers growing in my backyard.

Before the layer of ice formed across my back yard, I was growing some blue ribbon, Texas-sized dandelions. They bloom on borrowed time, because if the ice doesn’t kill ‘em, I will.

How God Remodels a Shabby Heart

me and mike

I wasn’t coincidence I booked the grungiest hotel room in North Dallas. I’m pretty sure the Sovereign God pre-planned the metaphor.

I entered a broken, near suicidal woman and penned the following in my journal.

My heart looks like this shabby hotel room.

Peeling wallpaper. Water-stained ceiling. Roach in the toilet. Curtains as old as me. Pictures one step up from clown art. Only the TV looks like it belongs in this decade. It’s in desperate need of a remodel—just like I am.

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I pour my life out and ask God to remake it. Will His Spirit hover over my chaos and confusion, like He once hovered over the depths? With my last bit of faith, I ask Him to remake me and create in me something beautiful.

I ask God to part the sea of anxiety I have been swimming in for months. My mind longs for silence, and I hope for death if only to quiet my anxious thoughts.

I can see myself pull the trigger. I imagine blood soaking the pillows and sheets, flowing along the seams of the mattress. I will wrap my head in a trash bag to stem the mess of blood. Will the bag be much help against a bullet?

Where do I place the gun? At my temple or the roof of my mouth?

When I entered that hotel room, I had forgotten God’s goodness. Fear bullied me. Bitterness and self-pity kept me company day and night.

In the bedside table lay a Gideon Bible. I lifted it out of the drawer and turned toward Psalms. The Psalms of lament were the only Scripture I could stomach. The first passage I read sparked hope.

“The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the LORD: ‘O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!’ Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful” (Psalm 116:3-5 ESV).

The verse hit me like a life preserver strikes a panicked, drowning woman, and I clung to the hope. I willed myself to believe in God’s grace and mercy.

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I began to pray that God would remodel me. I didn’t want to live a bitter, angry life. I didn’t want to just plaster a smile on my face at church. I wanted to live from a wellspring of joy.

Right on top of the quilted bedspread, I repented and asked for God to remake me. But how does God remodel our lives?

He usually starts with truth from his Word. When I let that truth seep into my heart, the remodel process began. Like a sledgehammer, it knocked down a structure of lies I had let the enemy construct.

God had to do more demolition work in my heart, but the work He started in that shabby room, he would complete. Not only that, he would lead me to healing through meditating on his Word.

Like balm on cracked lips, his Word infuses healing into our lives. “He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction” (Psalm 107:20 ESV).

I didn’t see a way out and I couldn’t envision hope, but he came and whispered truth to me.

That’s why I can confidently tell you God can lift you out of your pit, whatever your situation. It doesn’t matter if you dug the pit yourself. God can and will rescue you if you’ll let him.

Whether you war against anxiety, depression or another form of lies, Jesus is the door to peace. He is Hope itself.

The reason the Son of God put on flesh and stepped into time, happens to be you and me. The Doctor came to relieve the sick.

If your life is in need of a remodel, don’t settle for anything less than the remaking love of God.