I can’t do this.
I don’t have the strength.
These are the negative thoughts that have been popping into my mind over and over again for the last few weeks.
That might come as a surprise because I spend my days showing others how to choose joy. But that’s actually why I know how to do it…..because there are moments, days, weeks and whole seasons where I have to practice what I preach.
And this happens to be one of those seasons.
I can’t pinpoint when it started. It kindof feels like it’s been this way for a while and maybe I just started to notice. Anxiety has been getting stronger as I realize that three months of this year have already flown by and I’m behind on so many goals already. My schedule hasn’t had consistency in awhile because of unexpected things that have distracted my attention. For weeks, it’s seemed like I haven’t been able to get a handle on my life, just having to put out whatever the most urgent fire is in front of me for that day. Going to bed feeling unaccomplished with my mind racing about what I need to catch up on the next day.
Can you relate?
I get through each day by choosing joy. Choosing to believe God and know that even this struggle season is a part of HIs plan for my life. Choosing to just put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward through each minute of each day, trusting that when I close my eyes at night, I can give the rest to Him and go to bed.
I keep a notebook and pen on my bedside table just for this. When I lay down to sleep and find myself feeling anxious holding onto the stress of the day, I write down all the things I’m thinking. The to do list I don’t want to forget, the racing thoughts, the worries…
In combination with soothing nature sounds and a weighted blanket, this often helps me drift off to sleep. And then there are the nights like last night, where I still woke up again throughout the night and I have to grab my notebook again and scribble down the words racing through my head.
That’s actually where this blog started. Written by hand inside of my bedside notebook at 5am…
I can’t do this.
I don’t have the strength.
And as I wrote down these thoughts and closed the notebook, I laughed to myself.
I laughed because I caught a glimpse of the cover.
Scratched up and worn over time, even in the dark, illuminated by my iphone light hiding under the covers trying not to wake up my husband, I read these simple words.
I can do this.
He gives me strength.
I have to give up so He can pour in.
I have to go beyond casting my cares and let go of my expectations.
I have to write my plans in pencil and give God the eraser.
And when I get into a season like I find myself in now, where I’ve already written my plans in pen, I have to humble myself and allow His red pen to cross things out and make corrections.
My anxiety over the future, over the plans and goals I set for myself, over the things I’d hoped I would have accomplished by now, over the things I hoped would change, are all a reflection of me not humbling myself to God.
You may be in a different situation - humility might not be your challenge - but for me, right now, my anxiety and these negative thoughts are coming from me being out of alignment with Him.
It happens to all of us from time to time. I love God and spend time with Him every day. Sometimes it’s only a few minutes and other times it’s hours. But I can honestly say there isn’t a day that passes that I don’t speak to Him. But there are days that pass that I don’t listen to Him. That I don’t humble myself to ask for His guidance. Days that I don’t humble myself to ask for His strength.
So instead I try to go it alone and do it all on my own.
And that’s where I find myself right now. For the last few weeks I’ve been so focused on trying to get my life “back on track” and back to the planned out daily schedule that I am most comfortable in, that I’ve unintentionally been writing my plans in pen and getting anxious and frustrated as they haven’t been working out.
With each disappointment I’ve tried to fix it in my own strength and I find myself now feeling drained and discouraged. With the words “I can’t do this” and I should just give up because “I don’t have the strength,” floating around in my head.
But as I write this I feel hopeful, I am reconnected with the joy of the Lord deep down in my soul. Not because everything has miraculously changed. I’m still behind on my goals and it might still be weeks before I can get back to a consistent schedule, BUT GOD humbled me with Paul’s words to the Philippians this morning.
I’ve Found Strength
The thing that’s changed, is that I’ve been reminded, convicted really, to humble myself and rely on Him for my strength instead of trying to manifest it myself.
Our strength comes from within, not because of us, but because of the Holy Spirit within us.
Christ’s perseverance within us.
God’s love within us.
So in this season, I will continue to choose joy each day by seeking to listen to God more.
By being more intentional about asking Him to order my steps.
I will remind myself of that acronym I held onto tightly when I first became a Christian.
I will F.R.O.G. Fully Rely On God.
Not just in my words that I speak, but also in my thought life too.
When I think to myself, “I can’t do this. I’m not strong enough,” I will humble myself and say…
I am not strong enough, BUT You are. Holy Spirit, please remove these untrue thoughts from my mind, Jesus please help me to persevere and God help me to believe in my heart what it says in Your Word, that I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. May I be a good steward of every minute of every day. May I stay on the path you have laid out before me. May I celebrate what You have allowed me to accomplish in each day and not focus on what You have determined will be left undone. Help me to humble myself and remember that it’s not about me, it’s all about You. May You always get the glory. I want to be a vessel You can use. I will not only cast my cares on You, but I will listen for what You tell me I should care about. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
When you find yourself in a season of discouragement, how do you renew your strength?
Jamila is the founder of loved+blessed. On her personal mission to leave a legacy of encouragement, she blogs about her own life lessons with the hope that it will bring joy into others’ lives and help them find the courage to keep walking in faith knowing that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. Read her testimony of how God turned her misery into ministry.