It’s my stomach that always wakes me up. Whenever I’m bothered by something, invariably I end up awakened in the night with my stomach in knots. Over time, I’ve learned that the only remedy is to talk with God about it while I journal. The physical act of writing slows me down, focuses my thoughts, and allows space for God to intervene. But until I begin writing, I am often clueless as to what it is that’s actually bothering me. I wish my mind were as sensitive as my stomach!
Last night, the issue that emerged was worry about finances. I’m having a preventative medical procedure this week which I had found out yesterday could either be entirely covered by insurance or cost us more than a thousand dollars. After a long intellectual rant about how I think the medical system in the US is broken, I sensed God nudging me to turn my attention to how I was feeling rather than what I was thinking. I began to pour out my heart to Him, telling Him my anxieties and fears, some logical, some irrational, but all present in my heart. I also discovered that I was feeling jealous of people who seem to have lived their lives in a way that they’re “supposed to,” making responsible choices that ultimately results in homes, children, nice cars, nest-eggs and, for some, enjoyment of fine luxuries. It’s easy to be envious of others when you’re afraid for yourself.
It felt good to unburden my heart. But what really released me was when God invited me to remember all the ways He has provided for me in the past. As I looked back over my life, I remembered that I had tried to take the path that I thought was wise and prudent—my “supposed to” path—but it had all blown up in my face before I had even turned 30! It was then that God invited me to trust and follow His plan, instead of trying to run my own life. And that journey of the last 14 years has been somewhat unusual, sometimes difficult, but always an adventure. At each turn, the ways that God has led and then provided for me—now, me and my husband—have been remarkable. As I remembered specific moments, my stomach started to settle. God was reminding me that He’s led me into and out of financial struggles time and again. And there’s nothing that He can’t handle.
As I made my way back to bed, I half rhetorically said to God, “How many times am I going to have to learn this from You?” I immediately heard in my mind this humorous, but wise answer: “All of them.” It felt like God was smiling. I had to chuckle as He reassured me that no matter how many times I might be afraid, He would be there to remind me that my life is His, and He knows exactly what He’s doing.
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. - Philippians 4:11-13 ESV