When we begin to drown, we can allow ourselves to be pulled under or we can cry out for help. Not that we necessarily choose to go all the way under, but sometimes not calling for help, thinking we can pull ourselves out on our own, produces the same result. It’s hard to ask for help or even to know what help to ask for.
As I was caught in the middle of multiple storms crashing on top of each other – infertility and a job search, among others – I felt I was the only one who could solve these problems. I was the one who needed to get a resume together, do the right networking and start interviewing. I was the one who needed to search out solutions for our infertility issues – find the right doctors, decide the next protocol we’d try, agree when was the right next time to try. I was the one who needed to solve it all.
A friend suggested an alternative as I shared this struggle over coffee one morning. A different approach that seemed a little crazy to me, unlikely to produce the results I was pushing so hard to achieve. He suggested I try handing all this over to God and let Him carry the burdens a while. Call out for help.
Will you allow yourself to drown under the weight of the world or will you cry out to God for help?
I believed in God, knew He was real, but thought of Him only as a distant, supreme being; not someone who is intimately involved in our lives. I prayed, but never really expected a response. So, I couldn’t imagine how this would help. What could God do about my problems, after all?
Despite my reservations, I was desperate and had no other better ideas, so I decided to give this a try. I went home that morning and began to pray for God to start carrying the burden for me. I even tried to visualize handing over the worries which felt so heavy on my shoulders.
It took several weeks of praying this before I began to notice the change. Several weeks for me to start believing in the words I was saying in that prayer and to open my heart to the possibility that God might actually answer. I began the feel the weight on my shoulders get lighter. I began to feel my chest unwind a bit and I could breathe easier. Then I noticed I wasn’t as worried and anxious about all the issues, all the things I couldn’t fix in my life. I started to feel at peace with life, even with all its problems, and I began to feel hopeful about the future.
What had changed? My life circumstances certainly hadn’t changed. I was still traveling across the country for work every week. I still wasn’t pregnant. Nothing had really changed, yet I felt different. I felt calm and at peace.
What changed was I asked God for help and He answered. He was right there beside me the whole time, just waiting for me to ask.
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. (Matthew 14:30-31a NIV)
What will you choose? Go it alone in your struggles and drown in the stress and worry? Or, cry out for help and give God a chance?
This “drowning” experience was the turning point in my faith journey. It was also the turning point in this struggle. Even though it would still be months before any change in my situation, my heart began to change. I began to face this challenge with hope and peace, knowing the end results were in God’s hands – no matter how it all turned out.
Question: Where do you struggle most? Letting go of the control, believing God can help, remembering to ask for help or something else?
I love this song “Shoulders” from For King and Country about laying all our burdens on the shoulders of Jesus. Maybe it will encourage you, too!
This post is part of the “A Better Change” series. For more information on this series and to find related posts, click here: A Better Change Series – Overview