When we hang onto doubts, insecurities, jealousies, hurts, unmet expectations and desires, people we may have lost or feel we are losing . . . what we are doing is focusing on them, thinking about what we don’t have or might not have, and when we do that we are feeding those feelings and thoughts. And what happens when you feed something? It grows. And the cycle gets bigger and more consuming, and the world looks darker, and the weight of the burden grows heavier.
More often than not, there is either absolutely nothing, or very little, we can do to change the circumstances which are causing these feelings. We can’t make people cure us, or hire us, or validate us. We can’t make them change, or apologize, or love us. Therefore, all we see are broken dreams, crushed expectations, and lost love. But this is NOT what God intended for us at all. As I mentioned last week, in John 10:10 Jesus said that he had come “that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
So how do we move from disappointment and discouragement to a life of peace? Well, it doesn’t happen instantaneously, but it does happen very similarly to how our downward spiral occurs. It happens through a diet of daily, if not hourly, surrender and prayer––leading to a “renewing of the mind.” (Romans 12:2)
When we “let go,” we don’t release our feelings or desires or the people we love into thin air and just hope something happens, we release them into God’s hands, knowing that He will take care of us and them (Matt. 6:27-29), that He will meet all our needs (Phil. 4:19), and that He desires to give us the absolute best (Jer. 29:11; Is. 55:8-9). Consciously surrendering and trusting Him moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day, will gradually change that downward spiral into a cycle of upward praise, growing trust, and all encompassing peace (Is. 26:3-4), because we have turned the issues over to an almighty God who can do something about them.
I Peter 5:7 God calls us to cast all our cares on Him, for He cares for us. I would like to say it only takes one "casting" to take care of the issue, but most of the time it doesn’t. Satan likes nothing better than for us to falter and fall by refocusing on what we can’t control, reclaiming what we have given to God, and reverting to old destructive thought processes. And he knows every button to push. So as the day passes, we must surrender these issues again and again through prayer. As we faithfully commit our concerns to God, the weight lifts a little more each day as God’s peace and joy take its place.
Though there are many verses in the Bible that speak of God’s love, devotion, and protection, no verse encapsulates the process better than Philippians 4:6-7
“6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”