In January, my first article of the year revealed what exactly I am asking God to teach me this year. I am desperate to learn how to stay calm and patient rather than being stressed and angry. I told you about my struggles six months ago, and now I am checking in to tell you what I’ve learned so far. I’m right in the middle of one of God’s lessons, and I’m giving you the inside scoop.
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I am excited to update you on what God has been teaching me - not because I come out looking like a victor but because I like to sing praises to God amidst the learning process. It’s taken me a while to get here. I am an outcome-focused person, but I have learned that God values the process and doesn’t waste a single step. I love that!
I made this plea with God to teach me calmness and patience alongside some goals I set for myself for this year. Every month, I dedicate a page in my planner to track my progress or set mini-goals, and I have taken notes on what God has taught me on patience right alongside these check-ins.
The benefit is that I can go back and see how God has slowly added a new lesson to what He wants me to know about patience and stress. It’s fun to look back because I honestly have a hard time recalling details way after the fact. I highly recommend this - whether you keep track in a planner, a journal, or elsewhere.
Here is my mid-year check-in on what God has taught me about patience and stress so far this year:
In January, I asked God to reveal to me what really triggers stress in my life. I don’t just mean outside circumstances like my to-do list, failed plans, or whining children. I wanted God to show me what is underneath the surface.
God showed me these three stress triggers:
- Feeling out of control: Sometimes situations present themselves that are simply out of my control, either in part or in whole. That stresses me.
- Carrying the load on my shoulders: When I feel overwhelmed, it’s often because I am attempting to master everything on my own rather than relying on God and casting my cares and burdens onto Him.
- Emotionally taking on other people’s stress: When someone I love is in a tough spot, I am certainly called to offer a helping hand and listening ear. The key is to do that without shoveling more emotional stress onto my own shoulders that I will then not pass on to Jesus.
With these three triggers in front of me, I asked God to show me the truth that would help me combat these stress triggers. Here it is: God teaches me through every trial.
God doesn’t waste and certainly is not stressed by any of the situations that are causing my heart unrest. Instead, He has a lesson for me to learn in the middle of it.
In March, God laid another important piece of the puzzle for me: His timing is perfect.
Delay, waiting, or uncertainty will stress me when my eyes are focused on the situation alone. It’s when I shift my focus to God - His wisdom and care at every turn - that I can trust in His timing and breathe easy.
In April of this year, our family experienced a lot of victories, specifically regarding our oldest daughter who has some learning challenges. As the end of the school year approached, we saw how much she had grown. We felt beyond blessed for her school and God’s work in her life every day.
I literally wrote in my notes for April: “God blesses my socks off.”
I was convicted that sometimes I expect God to teach me only through trials. I noticed myself waiting for the next trial to come any minute rather than trusting God to bless me. Now there is a bit of tension here. God does teach us through trials a lot of the times… but sometimes He just wants to bless our socks off.
In May, I attempted an action step and admittedly failed miserably.
My goal was to “gently correct and communicate with my children and get away with Jesus often”. My failure to do the second may have led to my failure to do the first consistently.
In April, I had taken a few hours away from home to just sit by a fountain in town to pray and listen to Jesus. It was heavenly. I wrote about it in the article, “Be Still and Know: How to Rest in Jesus.” I decided I need more of that. To tell you the truth, I didn’t follow through.
I have to admit that my heart was not convicted of this failure to rest in Jesus until June when I sat down to consider what I learned about patience and stress in the prior month. The truth was: nothing much.
So I am writing this article mid-June with this conviction: To keep focused on God and to stay calm rather than stressed, I need to take more time away with Jesus to simply pray and listen, to unload my burdens at His feet, and allow Him to refresh my soul.
I would love to hear what God has been teaching you so far this year - even if you are still smack-dab in the middle of that lesson. Would you share with me in the comments below?
Thanks for listening, ladies.
Have a Scripture-confident Monday,