Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me. Psalm 119:133
A few years back I attempted to teach my daughter how to swim. Like most kids, she loved being in the water, but only when dad was around. As long as she knew I had a hold of her, she was in heaven. However, if I attempted to let go, my daughter would flip out. She’d apply a death grip, tears would start flowing, and she’d scream at the top of her lungs. She wasn’t buying the rumor that those big inflatable tubes around her arms would prevent her from sinking to the bottom of the pool. It didn’t matter how much I tried to reassure her of her safety. From her perspective, drowning was inevitable.
Sadly, many of us navigate our lives similar to my daughter’s approach to the pool. We allow our circumstances and feelings to be our ultimate guide. If our life is going well and nothing seems to be rocking the boat then from our perspective things are going okay. What we don’t realize is that this line of thinking can only get us so far because the only certainty in life is its uncertainty. Eventually, life will throw us a curve ball, or we’ll encounter a situation we can’t control or determine its outcome. Our response to this situation is to freak out.
Freaking out is giving up what we can control (ourselves) to control what we can’t (circumstances). The only antidote to overacting is a ruthless pursuit of God’s Truth. We have to be able to comprehend what is true in those moments when everything inside of us wants to panic and worry.
Now don’t get me wrong. I realize this is easier said than done. In those moments, you must depend on something you are not accustomed to leaning on. Walking by faith requires stepping into the unknown. There is a truth that exists in every single moment of our lives, but we often miss it because we’re too busy obsessing about our circumstances to notice it. So, how do we change our reaction? How can we begin to let our character define us rather than our circumstances?
In those moments when we freak out, we can easily become bitter, entitled and ungrateful. We lose self-control and this quickly leads to sin, which causes guilt and shame. Freaking out erodes trust. But, what is even more devastating is the fact that when we freak out, we forsake God’s intention for us at that moment. To freak out is to check out.
The author of today’s passage knew this to be true. So, he is asking God to keep his feet steady according to the promises of God. The markers of spiritual maturity are stability, gratitude, and generosity. However, these markers don’t take root in our lives by chance. A growing character takes formation. It begins by ruthlessly pursuing the truth of who God is and what God is doing in every single moment of our lives.
But, this is where things get tricky. For some reading this, you’re unsure of what is true. You live your whole life by what you feel. If this is you, see it as an invitation to study Scripture and imagine a sovereign God who is in control and wants to work everything out for your good. Exploring and reflecting on God’s Word can build a steady foundation secure enough to hold you in place regardless of the circumstance you face.
What we believe influences the way we perceive things. Godly perspective causes stable reactions. Maturity goes hand and hand with stability. The key to security is grounding ourselves in that which is true. Rather than reacting to our circumstances, we are called to respond to them based on who we are. We can respond to how we feel or we can rest in what is true.
Start today by trusting what you know. In the absence of information, trust whom you know. By finding Him faithful time and time again, we can trust Him even when life doesn’t seem to make sense.
- How do you think God feels about the way you react to your circumstances?
- How has God been faithful to you over the years? If He has been faithful in the past, what makes you doubt that He won’t be faithful in the future?
God, help me to trust You rather than my circumstances. May I lean on who I know and what I know during these moments when I want to freak out. Instead of my feelings, allow me to use Your Truth to be my guide. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.