“If Papa God tells you to build a shed, He’ll provide the nails.”
That’s a quote from one of my Too Blessed to be Stressed books from nearly a decade ago. At the time I wrote it, I had no inkling of the awful, interfering, sometimes debilitating stress we would encounter while building our assigned sheds – not just my own, but also the sheds of so many of my BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever). That would be you.
It’s become the 2020 decade plague: Constant everyday stress. The relentless kind with the power to alter the very fabric of our lives.
Stress ruthlessly imposed on us by impending danger medically, physically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually.
Daily insecurities and sleepless nights thick with worries and “what-ifs” about life, death, illness, cultural shifts, political division, racial unrest, impossible schedules, tanking bank accounts, relationship rifts, family strife, and faceless fears about the future.
This kind of stress has no end in sight. And that’s why it’s so draining. And depressing, if we dwell on it and constantly consider the repercussions on the way we wish our lives were going. We ache with longing for a stress-free existence that simply doesn’t exist.
We must learn to deal with so many joy-sucking downers … Discouragement. Disillusionment. Dread.
Just this week, I was discussing this very thing with a BFF who is just plain worn out from chronic everyday stress. She feels as if she has no control over her own life and is at the point of desperation. Her shed (the divine assignment from Papa God for her life’s work) is getting extremely difficult to build as the nails are becoming harder to find. She asked for my counsel.
I think my input probably was a little different than she expected. I said that the truth is: she’s absolutely right. We don’t. We don’t have control over our own lives; we have NO power to alter most of the chronic situations life hands us. We can more easily withstand transient, resolvable stress because we know this too shall pass. The nails for our shed are hidden in the weeds and will become visible again only when we learn to use a divinely ordained weed-whacker.
But faith is truly tested when we encounter stressful situations that out of necessity become woven into the very fabric of our beings with no resolution on the horizon. There’s no way of knowing how long the stress will continue. Your husband leaves. Your grown child refuses to speak to you. You’re downsized. Your longtime ministry dream fizzles. Your friend humiliates you. Bill collectors hound you.
Your partially-built shed sags and drops another board.
Yes, unrelenting stress does have the power to alter the very fabric of our lives. If we allow it.
I encouraged my friend, as I myself have been encouraged, to hang her trust on the biblical promise that Papa God WILL meet you where you are and enable you to bloom, not just limp along in reluctant, barren existence.
Don’t accept victimhood – it’s way too easy to slip slide into that woe-is-me pit. Satan has you backed up to the ledge, teetering, and is shoving you in the chest.
Believe me, I so get it. I’ve been there far too often. It’s hard, so hard.
We all feel like we’re drowning in chronic stress from time to time, but I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again (because it’s worth repeating): Living Philippians 4:6-7 OUT LOUD has been a game-changer for me in weathering the most stressful seasons of my life. I’m convinced it’s the only way to wield that shed hammer for the long haul.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in EVERYTHING, through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I have this incredible Truth tool sticky-noted everywhere I go during the day (computer desk, bathroom mirror, car console, etc.) and I recite it aloud every time I see it. Suddenly, shiny nails become visible through the weeds of my circumstances.
You see, it’s a promise … a covenant (an agreement between two or more parties). If you do this, I’ll do that.
- If we come to our heavenly Father in: (a) prayer and (b) thanksgiving (gratitude for the blessings we have, not dwelling on what we don’t),
- He promises to give us: (a) His supernatural peace and (b) contentment in all conditions in which we find ourselves.
Honestly, I cling to this hope-filled, peace-producing promise as my go-to, everyday covenant now and I’m living testimony to its powerful effectiveness. It’s the only way to find peace through pain. And joy through tears.
Make no mistake: peace and joy are galvanized shed nails, girlfriend. They last forever and make the hammer-pounding less … um, poundful.
But they rarely appear all at once and never in a tidy pile. They’re uncovered from beneath concealing weeds one by one with significant effort on our part. Sorta like the manna Papa God provided to the starving children of Israel in the desert after their exodus from Egypt. They were only given just enough for ONE day, and they had to re-exert the effort to gather their sustenance every single day.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread [manna] from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day …” (Exodus 16:4 NASB).
Likewise, the nails of peace, contentment, and joy that we need to keep building our own shed (life’s work) are provided for us by Papa God one day at a time and on an as-needed basis. So I think of them as manna nails.
Tell me, dearest BFF, what shed are you building? How do you come by your daily supply of manna nails?