Spiritual Journey: When you’re overwhelmed and confused on how to move forward

You have a long way to travel and a choice:

will you forge your own path

or wait for a ride?

In the stillness of prayer,

we choose the work

of patience.

At first, it’s harder than hiking.

We want to feel like we’re doing something,

going somewhere,

in charge.

Surrender is the pinnacle of faith,

but it can feel like giving up or worse-

wasting time.

When we stubbornly choose to wait for God,

He shows up like a life raft

in His own sweet time.

We don’t need to understand what took so long

or where we’re going,

we just need to be still and know…

we are being carried-

delivered safely downstream.

We are being guided

through the same dark woods

we almost dared alone.

We are gliding seamlessly

past those who are stuck on the shore

in the brambles of self reliance…

When you don’t know where you’re going,

don’t try to go alone.

You are worth the wait

for a Divine Ride,

an opportunity to let go,

to be held in loving arms through difficult times.

You only have one chance to enjoy

this radiant adventure,

this river of life,

these twists and turns are created

for the richness of your experience-

God’s plans are always more magnificent

than your own.

Hold your eyes on God and leave the doing to Him. That is all teh doing you have to worry about. St. Jeanne de Chantall

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.
-Psalm 23

 

I am an an idealist, a prayer warrior, a mom of four, a writer, an advocate for refugees and a person who wants to share her heart with as many people as possible. I never have enough time and energy to accomplish everything I want, while also being prayerfully present with my own family, putting their needs first. Sometimes, I am centered and at peace anyway, in surrender to God’s will and trusting that He will make up for all that I am lacking if I persevere in faith.

Other times, I find myself completely overwhelmed and discouraged about the lack of progress I am making. For example, I recently went through a phase where my crawling teething baby was into everything and for all practical purposes, basically gave up sleep. Obviously, keeping her safe through this difficult phase was my top priority. But at the same time, my mind started spinning with to do lists and before long, I felt completely powerless and discouraged because all of my other priorities including taking care of myself were slipping to the wayside.

I lost my peace and felt like I lost my interior connection with God even though I’m pretty sure that if  “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,”  new baby drama doesn’t have that kind of power either.  (Romans 8 38-39)

Fortunately since Celia is my fourth child, I’ve been through times like this before and know they pass.  Time and again when I open my heart in even the simplest prayer like “help” and do my best to lift my thoughts to His strength in my weakness, His energy in my exhaustion, His peace in my frazzled nerves until I can make time for substantial soul-soothing silence, the Spirit somehow gradually clears the emotional rubble out and leads me on a gentler path, blessing me with restored peace, clarity on how to move forward and even dazzling me by giving me the grace to make up for lost time with a burst of energy or things serendipitously coming together in the perfect timing in a way I couldn’t have accomplished on my own, deepening my faith, spirituality and perspective along the way.

On the other hand when I try to force and push my own agenda in difficult times, I only dig myself deeper into the stress and mess, make rash decisions that cause more problems in the long run, eventually needing to step back into prayer anyway.

Somehow though when I find myself in that overwhelmed place, it’s always hard to step away from the fray and CHOOSE prayer. I get caught up into thinking about everything that needs to be done and interiorly resist the one thing that is most important. Prayer is hard because it requires us to let go of control and confront the  most vulnerable parts of our humanity. In between God’s peace and whatever we’re going through, there are usually some unseemly areas in our own hearts that are brought into the light through prayer, which we’d rather avoid dealing with.

To be clear! I am NOT saying there is anything wrong with doing things – there are a lot of great things that need to be done! We are the only hands and feet Christ has in this world.  I’m just trying to clarify the difference between doing that naturally flows from connection with God forged in prayer, as opposed to frazzled, stressed frenetic energy apart from God’s will. In my experience. God isn’t a slave driver! He loves us and wants to take care of us, so our actions can flow from our heart with love into the world.

So, if you’re feeling frazzled and tempted to go into push mode today, I encourage you to remember the words of Christ: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yolk is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11 28-30)

burdened

The last time you were overwhelmed and confused on how to move forward in life, did you remember to pray or try to go it alone? What were the results? Comment below, and I’ll be delighted to keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Lord in our most overwhelmed and burned out moments, give us the grace to turn to you and trust that You have a plan to deliver us out of whatever mess we are in. Instead of relying on our own effort and blindly moving forward on willpower alone, help us to seek out Your graces and guidance to bring us back into a centered, peaceful state in alignment with Your Divine plan for our lives. Through our times of feeling powerless and overwhelmed, give us the grace to seek you and learn to rely on Your strength and guidance. In Jesus name, we pray.

 

Written by Nicky Gant for www.uniteinprayer.org 9/16/2019

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