I was going through a particularly stressful time at work. In addition to being very busy with the usual responsibilities, I was struggling with an employee’s personal attack. My prayers were obsessed with the situation, and I was praying for God’s wisdom and intervention. I was doing lots of talking to God, but no listening to God.
Psalm 46:10 made its way through my swirl of activity, “Be still and know that I am God.” It was referenced in Sunday’s sermon, it showed up in my Bible study, and it was the verse of the day on the radio. I realized how work pressures were overwhelming all my relationship. I didn’t have time for another activity, but from a previous lesson in this area I knew pushing back and making time for God was what I needed. I saw my opportunity when our annual women’s retreat was announced at church. It would mean driving for hours after work to sleep on a bunk bed atop a thin mattress, in a sleeping bag, within a cabin filled with women I don’t know, all sharing a common bathroom. In faith not only did I sign up, I also volunteered to be a “cabin mom”.
During my morning time with God I got on my knees, once again begging his wisdom on how to fix the co-worker issue. Then Psalm 46:10 hit me and I saw how God was trying to get me to apply it. As the light bulb went on, an immediate peace washed over me. I had been consuming my worship with pleas for control, rather than trusting the issue to God. I was trying to fix things using persuasion and reasoning, laying my cause at the foot of his cross in prayer then dragging it away again. As I finally recognized the hopeless pattern I was repeating, I totally surrendered it to Him. I was immediately relieved of the burden it had been and no longer agonized over how to fix it. I just trusted. I quit whining about it to others and quit asking for everyone’s advice.
The night before a key meeting I was dreading regarding the work situation, He led me to embrace 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” What peace I had going into that meeting! I prayed for, and received, love and sympathy for the co-worker who was turning my life upside down. I approached the meeting with self-discipline over my previously uncontrolled emotions, knowing that I am a child of God, equipped with the power of his Spirit living in me. My eyes were opened to the spiritual battle I had been part of and I surrendered to God’s will for me in it. I began praying for my co-worker’s salvation. Along the way I also visited what I consider my “life verses”, Philippians 4:4-7, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
That act of obedience to the prompting of the Spirit brought me such joy. It also left me wanting more attentive spiritual senses to stop my wandering down rocky paths before I get so far along. I mentioned the women’s retreat to the women in my weekly Bible study. I didn’t know any of them beyond the few weeks we had been meeting together, but a few of them also registered for the retreat and requested my cabin. I was so blessed that weekend! Of course one of the key verses was, “Be still and know that I am God!” Even as I struggled with sleep that night, I rested in the beauty of what God was orchestrating in my life. My soul deeply praised him all weekend. I was blessed by the openly authentic fellowship of diverse, dear women. Several of us continued in Bible study, even meeting in our homes between church-sponsored studies. I have learned so much from them as we study God’s word together and share how God he is working in our lives.
I have learned that, for me, when life is squeezing in around me and the demands are separating me from God, I must push back. Though it feels like I am adding one more thing to an overflowing calendar, I know that God honors the effort to every time. It forces me to realign my priorities and subordinate all things to the God-honoring activity that will realign my heart.