"Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture."
I found myself in a funk as the new school year began. With nowhere to go and no one to teach, I felt lacking in purpose and value. I spent an entire day paralyzed by my feelings. Sitting in a thick fog of self-pity, I was unable to focus on anything else.
The following day, before my head left the pillow, I determined to do something productive. I cleaned. I scrubbed. I organized. I even managed to get some writing done. But I still felt robbed of my purpose. Anyone can do what I am doing, I mused.
My entire week was dampened by feelings of uselessness and self-imposed guilt. Why didn't I find a job? Why weren't families approaching me to teach their kids? Even my own kids don't need me, I thought with a heavy heart. What purpose do I now serve?
Looking back, it seems a bit silly. But I don't think I'm alone in having passing moments of self-doubt. At the time, it was so consuming. If I hadn't forced myself to get up off the couch and do something...anything...I think I'd still be sitting there idly, immobilized by feelings of worthlessness.
I had to have a shift ~ in focus and in activity. I had to stop dwelling on what was lacking and how I felt, and change my thinking and my attitude.
I love this verse from Psalm 37. It gives me such practical advice. "Trust in the Lord." It all begins with taking my eyes off of poor little old me, my problems, and my feelings...and planting them squarely onto the Lord. Over the years I have come to know God as my ultimate source of provision, guidance, and protection. He has shown me time after time that I can trust Him. When I lose sight of this, I make myself vulnerable to fickle feelings. I forget that my true value is in Him and how He chooses to guide and use me.
"Do good" encourages me to put my focus onto others. It drains my energy when I give in to sadness and self-pity. Channeling that energy into other people's lives not only blesses them, it opens my eyes to the reality that I am not so useless afterall.
First Chronicles 16:27 says, "Strength and joy are in His dwelling place." I like the sound of that! Why dwell on what's lacking in my life? Do I want to dwell in His presence, or on myself and my problems? Curled up on the couch and cloaked in self-pity is pointless. Not when I can be walking closely with the One who longs to provide, guide, and protect.
"Enjoy safe pasture" is the outcome of this shift in focus. He doesn't want to steal our joy. Just the opposite! Instead of it being a legalistic and confining path, it is one that leads to freedom...and sheer joy. In fact, it is the ultimate enjoyment to be right next to Him as I go about my day, whatever it may hold.
What a concept ~ He not only invites us, He longs for us to accept that invitation. A couch of self-pity or a pathway to joy? I think this teacher has learned her lesson.
"If you don't manage your emotions, then your emotions will manage you."
~Doc Childre and Deborah Rozman
"Feelings are much like waves, we can't stop them from coming, but we can choose which one to surf."
"Get up everyday, love God, and do your best. He will do the rest!"