Have you ever seen a dog chase its tail? Such energy spent pursuing relief. Such intense desire for a goal that remains unattainable. It’s fun to watch, but not so fun when you’re the one going in circles.
Is peace elusive for you? Perhaps you are locked into an unending sense of discouragement, distress, or despair. Your thoughts speed around a racetrack, circling ever faster but generating only mental exhaustion.
You want to understand why life can be so confusing and such a struggle. Why did that bad thing happen? Why did you make an unhealthy choice? Why does there seem to be no way forward?
These questions are all signs of life. You long for some deeper answer, some deeper meaning, some deeper connection with God. There is good news: answers exist that bring hope instead of despair. But the answers usually come in the context of a growing trust in God, rather than an immediate blessing of good fortune and circumstances.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV
Don’t try to solve problems that are “beyond your paygrade.” Trusting in God brings instant relief (Isaiah 26:3). Try it. Think of something you are anxious about. Now tell God you trust Him. Even if you have to imagine you are trusting Him, it helps. The burden shifts off your shoulders and onto God’s.
I’m not saying your relief will be complete, instantaneous, and permanent. You can experience an overall peace while simultaneously agonizing and grieving.
When God asks us to trust Him, He means at all times–whether your circumstances are pleasant or heart-breaking. You can experience betrayal and still look to God for security.
God wants us to:
- believe He is good while experiencing pain
- live in the reality of heaven while experiencing a cursed earth
How you experience life depends on how you prioritize your perspective. Are you focused on your pain or on your God? Are you caught in a loop of trying to escape something you cannot change? Are you caught believing a temporary circumstance is permanent? If so, I have a prayer for you.
Prayer for Serenity
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will; so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next.
This prayer is amazing. It shares a lot in common with Proverbs 3. Most people stop with the first sentence. But the second sentence contains the secret to finding rest: acceptance and trust. What are some ways you can adjust your expectations of life, creating some space for you to rest in God’s understanding?
Be patient with yourself as you work through betrayal and learn to trust again. You can’t heal in isolation. You need to know someone is hearing your pain.