I don’t know about you, but I don’t know how to do all of this. My world is a LOT right now, which means I have to BE a lot right now. In the spring, we learned how to juggle eLearning, working from home, and being stuck at home. Now, we still face all of that, plus a polarized culture and an uncertain future. I don’t know how to be a good teacher. I’ve never worked at home with everyone here and half of them constantly asking for snacks. I’m exhausted from planning and cooking 63,238 meals in a row. I’m running out of ideas for how to entertain my kids at home. My thoughts are often, ‘What if I’m not enough for my family? What if I’m failing at all of this? What if one (or all) of the many plates I’m spinning crashes to the ground?’
What if I’m what-if-ing myself to death?
What would happen if all of those what-ifs come true and do happen? The truth is that God would still be God, God would still be good, and God would somehow find a way to use the shattered plates for my good and His glory.
That’s really easy to say and write, but as it turns out, much harder to live. I believe those things- that God is God. He is good. He is good at being God, and that nothing happens outside of His plan for my life. But how do I take those beliefs out my head and heart and put them to work, informing what my hands and feet do?
First things first, I need to truly acknowledge my “what-ifs.” I have to deal with them. Otherwise, those thoughts just keep swirling around in my head, popping back up every time I have a doubt (so, basically, every 5 minutes). In Jennie Allen’s book, Get Out of Your Head, she offers a framework for what to do with the swirling thoughts we are called to capture.
Grab the thought - What is it?
- Diagnose the thought - Is it true?
- Take it to God - What does God say about it?
- Make a choice - Am I going to believe God? Do my actions show that I genuinely believe God?
When I use her framework to capture every thought and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), it settles the swirling, reoccurring thoughts and puts me face-to-face with my unbelief and brings me to the choice I have to make. I can allow the same worry to keep resurfacing, or I can find the truth and choose to believe it.
|Grab the Thought - What is it?
I am afraid I won’t be enough for my family. I am anxious about facilitating eLearning while working from home and managing all my other responsibilities. I will fail. Plates will crash. My family, work, and responsibilities will suffer from my inadequacies.
|Diagnose the thought - Is it true?
My increasing list of eLearning, working from home, and continuing to manage past responsibilities is real. My worry and prediction about how it will turn out are rooted in emotions.
|Take it to God - What does God say about it?
God promises to be my strength (Psalm 46:1, Isaiah 40:29-31). He promises to provide me with everything I need to carry out what He’s called me to (Matthew 7:9-11, 2 Corinthians 9:8). I am valuable to God and He will not leave me alone in this (Matthew 6:31-33). He is capable of hearing my fears and doubts and is more than able to care for me and my family (Isaiah 43:2, Philippians 4:6-7).
|Make a choice - Am I going to believe God? Do my actions show that I truly believe God?
I choose to surrender my uncertainties to God. I choose to take Him at his Word and trust that He will remain on the throne no matter how many plates crash. I trust Him to take care of me and my family better than I could.
God’s grace is unending - I can never find the bottom of that well. He has been faithful with grace in the past, He is faithful with grace for today, and He will be faithful with providing grace in the future. There is infinitely more grace available in the future than I’ve experienced in the past. I’ve been in tough spots before, and God was faithful to provide exactly what I needed then. And now, I see how it works together with everything else that has happened to me to get me to now. I can use my thankfulness for what God did then to give me hope for what God will do next.
This is a tough spot - a REALLY tough spot. And I still have no idea if eLearning will be successful, if all my plates will crash down on my head, or if I’ll be enough for my family during this season. But what I do know is that God is enough for me, and He will be gracious and faithful to give me exactly what I need when I need it. He always has been enough, He is enough today, and He always will be enough.
Will you take God at His Word and trade your what-ifs for trust in the promises He’s made? How are you going to take what you believe in your head and heart and put them to work in your hands and feet?
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
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.
Written by Lindsay Thompson
Lindsay Thompson works on the FG Staff in Family Ministry. She is wife to Josh and mom to Hollis (7) and Betty (4). Lindsay likes to create and make - cooking, baking, sewing, painting, knitting, and so on. As an enneagram 6w7, she wants to read the entire menu but will probably order her usual.