I haven’t written much about my faith as an “audacious poet.” This is partially because I’ve been going through a dry spell, in which often when I do the things I know will strengthen my relationship with God, it doesn’t feel like anything is happening. More often than not the past few months, I haven’t even been doing those things. That’s hard to admit, though I do have a certain degree of anonymity here. When the foundation of my life is supposed to be Christ, it seems to reveal my own deficiencies as a person when my spiritual life is suffering. I know that He’s faithful, but why am I not?
One of the consequences of this is a personal struggle with anxiety. If I’m not digging into God’s word, I have no recourse when circumstances become worrisome. My emotions then play havoc on me and consequently, the folks I’m close to as well. However, I’ve found that surrendering my feelings-of-the-moment to Christ puts them into their proper place and perspective.
The spiritual truth I’m describing isn’t solely a matter of experience. Paul, writing encouragement to his son in the faith, Timothy exhorts him with the words:
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7, Amplified Bible)
As a woman, this is particularly relevant to me since we of the female sex often tend to be the more emotional ones. Lucy Soulsby, head mistress of Oxford School for Girls in the early 1900s writes,
But essential as emotion is to a woman’s beauty and full power it is nevertheless her bane unless she turns it into a power for good by conscientious and devout self discipline.
Sometimes–even in the church–we’re encouraged to wallow in our feelings. As if we can’t help it. As if never working through or beyond these things was acceptable. Yes, the struggle is real and a daily battle. But disciplined faith is bold faith. We can rely with sureness on Christ and there can be no anxiety if we cling to that.
I probably sound preachy, but I’m more having a Davidic moment in which I sort of shout at my soul to “get a grip,” as they say. Not a once and for all pull-myself-up-by-the-bootstraps affair, but a more a resolve to a disciplined, moment-by-moment choice to look up rather than in. Therefore, it’s only appropriate that I end by quoting Psalm 42:5.
Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God. (Amplified Bible)