Cody's Corner: When overwhelmed, find God
In Psalm 94:19, we read: “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your comfort delights my soul.” Have you ever been lost? Have you ever been in a life-threatening situation that there was seemingly no way to get out of? A time when you did not know what to do? I once went on a mission trip to South Padre Island, Texas.
Once a day, we could go to the beach for a couple of hours to have fun. Unbeknownst to me, there was a riptide in the ocean where I was boogey-boarding. Unknowingly, I made matters worse when I decided to get away from the little waves right by the shore and paddle out to the big waves where the surfers were.
After realizing I was out of my depth trying to join surfers on a boogey-board, I decided the little waves by the shore were not so bad. I headed back in.
After a couple of attempts at swimming hard for the shore, I was astonished to find out two things: I was no closer to the shore, and I was drifting farther and farther away from where I wanted to end up. I panicked for a little bit and kept going back and forth between getting upset that I couldn’t overcome it and becoming convinced that deeper water meant I was going to get eaten by a shark.
I finally got ahold of myself and said: “Just think, quit freaking out.” Out of the blue, I remember watching a show where they explained riptides and what you had to do to get back to shore. I started to swim with the current and diagonally tried to reach the shore. When I finally reached the shore, I was tired and waterlogged. I rested for a bit, and then I had to walk what seemed like two miles back to where my group was.
They asked, “Where did you go?” The answer, “Almost made it to heaven,” only seemed to confuse them until I explained. This whole scenario is similar to times when our emotions, especially anxiety, overwhelm us. The aforementioned verse talks about anxiety, but the word used means any sort of distressing thoughts.
It is like we are out at sea, being tossed here or there. Our emotions, rather than rational or logical thought, are in control of where we are going.
When it is bad, it is as if we cannot even believe what we once believed or know to be true. We keep freaking out, which only makes the problem worse. We become convinced of certainties that we would never let dominate our mind for a second if we were not so overwhelmed, tired, frustrated, depressed, anxious or angry.
When this happens, we end up far away from where we want to be, and it can seem like a long road to get back to where we want to be. A little loving advice for any of us in that situation right now: Please think of yourself as lost when you are like this.
When you are lost, there are some truths to consider. Lost people do not know where they are; they do not know how to get from where they are to where they want to be without help; and lost people should not listen to other lost people who are giving directions. Notice in the verse above where it turns around.
God’s comfort takes ever-multiplying anxious, distressing thoughts that were ready to drown us, and he turns them into delight for your soul.
That is quite impressive. The picture here is of a mother comforting her child with soothing words and songs while stroking the child’s hair or the patting the child’s back. God does this, and the recollection of how God has treated us in the past, along with His promises for the future, can comfort the soul, too.
If you are overwhelmed by anything or everything, start by being grounded by God’s promises, which are numerous and precious when believed. Even if you do not see how a certain promise could be true in your state of being overwhelmed, believe and live like it is true anyways. I did not know if what I watched about how to get to safety during a riptide would actually work, but I believed it would, and it did.
That is the way it is in the Christian life at times. We need to cry out to God, “Help my unbelief.” That’s what the father of the boy did in Mark 9:24. If we do this, we will see God’s word be true when everyone and everything is saying that it is a lie. We will see stability enter our souls as His word renews our mind and trans- forms the way we think, feel and act. We will also know that, the next time our thoughts or feelings carry us out to sea, God’s comfort to us will lead us home.
Do you let God comfort you when you are over- whelmed? If you do not, try to get alone. Have a time of prayer. Read and meditate on some verses dealing with what you are going through. As God starts to comfort you, the solution or solution process will begin to be re- vealed to you. Then, hold fast to the comfort and truth God has given you. Watch as the truths you hold be- come a shield against simi- lar future attacks from the enemy and the trying times we all must go through. Do not be too hard on yourself if you get in a similar situation again. Just repeat the process.
Also, do not hate the long road or process to get back to healthy thinking and feel- ing. The hurt, pain, refining, growing and maturing are for our good – even if it does not feel like it.
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