Because Papa God has called me to write about the red-hot topic of stress, I get lots of feedback from readers of my Too Blessed to be Stressed books. I consider it a privilege – and a responsibility I take very seriously – when I get messages from my BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever) requesting prayer about specific stress-producing obstacles they’re facing.
Letters come from many cultures on many continents in many languages. Yet they contain common words and phrases like:
- my soul is weary
- I’ve lost myself
- feel hopeless
My heart melts within me when I receive these raw, aching pleas for help in dealing with major obstacles in someone’s life. Obstacles much like the rocks in the creek that flows near my Smoky Mountain cabin. Despite the rocks that block the easiest path down the mountain, the water somehow finds a way. Over, around, sometimes even through fissures in the rocks that form walls, still the creek bubbles forward.
So how can we, like the dancing creek waters, overcome the obstacles blocking our path?
Papa God gives us an example in the Old Testament prophet Nehemiah, who faced a rock wall (literally) of disappointment and found a way to conquer it. Nehemiah knew discouragement. He was tasked with repairing a decrepit city wall with no material, time or help. Despite horrendous obstacles, he prayed, developed a plan, and conquered his wall.
Grab your Bible and turn to the book of Nehemiah with me, where we can learn a lot about dealing with discouragement today:
Tears are okay. “I sat down and wept … for days” (1:4). I can relate, can’t you? Weeping and mourning are natural, healthy reactions to disappointment. But we mustn’t languish there.
Fatigue weakens our resolve (4:21-23). When we’re exhausted, it’s easy to quit. Take regular rest breaks and fun frolics. Seriously. Schedule something fun. Refresh yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually so your resolve stays strong.
Frustration rises as rubbish accumulates (4:10). Clutter in our lives needs to be addressed and removed, not tiptoed around.
Confusion halts momentum (4:8). We must create a plan and diligently work it, revising whenever necessary.
Feelings of failure diminish hope (4:1-3). If we lose hope, we also lose joy, peace, and our heart-connection with Jesus. To counteract, we must change the way we see, think, and speak. Yesterday’s failure doesn’t dictate tomorrow’s. Step away and pray to gain her herspective: How do my circumstances look from Papa God’s eternal viewpoint? How would He recommend getting around this rock?
Yep, getting around the rocks may take diligence and perseverance. But without the rocks, the creek wouldn’t dance.
When I receive prayer requests from my reader-friends, I don’t claim to be a counselor, Bible-scholar, or an expert in solving problems. I’m just a small gal clanking around in prayer warrior armor, grateful to be trusted to do the least and the most any of us can do for one another: pray.
We’re all up the creek at one time or another. How about you, my friend? Are you willing to step up and pray for someone stuck behind a rock wall?
*Excepts taken from the January 19 reading in my 365-day devotional, Too Blessed to be Stressed: Inspiration for Every Day (available separately in bookstores and Amazon.com and combined with the Too Blessed to be Stressed Creative Journal in a gift package you can only find at Sam’s Club.