Have you ever been faced with making an important decision, and your emotions were all over the place? How in the world do you keep your body out of stress mode and live an emotionally healthy life in a world laced with negativity … not to mention life’s unpredictable twists and turns?
A number of years ago when we lived in California, my husband arrived home from work one evening, placed his briefcase on the table, looked me in the eye and said very matter-of-factly: “I think it’s time for us to move back to Texas.” His remark sent me off on an emotional roller coaster ride. I wanted to trust that he was hearing the Lord and the timing of our move would be precise in God’s order of things, but what if he was wrong? How could I be sure when so much was at stake for our family?
One word from God can calm your emotions, settle your heart, give peace to your soul and send fear and doubt packing.
Our two daughters had just completed high school, and one was in her first year of college. What if they didn’t come with us, and we had to leave them behind? Southern California was all they knew. We also loved our church. Where would we find a new one? The mere thought of starting over and making new friends after all those years was overwhelming. Even though I tend to make friends easily, I wasn’t looking forward to being the new girl on the block. As I pondered our decision, I remembered the comforting words of the psalmist: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with my eye” (Psalm 32:8, NKJV).
Both of our extended families resided in Texas, and it was where the two of us were born and raised. But we moved to Los Angeles when our daughters were only 2 and 4 years old. We had lived there for almost 20 years, and it was home to us. Although we had always known that one day we would return to Texas, and we looked forward to having family close again, we loved California. Let’s face it—you can’t beat the climate, and there are a myriad of things to do. In addition, California was the place where God led us in our early Christian walk to be discipled and trained at The Church on the Way, pastored by Dr. Jack Hayford. Learning at his feet for all those years was a blessing beyond measure. Leaving Los Angeles would definitely be bittersweet.
The next morning when I sat down at my desk to begin my morning routine, I found myself saying to the Lord, “I trust that You have spoken to my husband, but I ask that You speak to me too.” I reached into the top right-hand drawer of my desk, pulled out my Bible, opened it and my eyes fell on Genesis 31:3: “Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.” I could feel my heart pounding inside my chest. Wow, we really are supposed to move! I thought. After that confirming word to my heart, I trusted in God’s direction for us. Isn’t it amazing how one word from God can calm your emotions, settle your heart, give peace to your soul and send fear and doubt packing?
The move itself was fairly uneventful. However, within weeks of settling in our new home in Texas, we were contacted by the IRS claiming that we owed them thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes. Seriously, have you ever tried to convince the IRS that you don’t owe them money? Or, have you ever gotten an actual person on the phone to speak with? If you have, you’re a more skilled woman than I am! We prayed, fasted, wrote letters and made phone calls for several months trying to get this error cleared up. My husband felt concern while my emotions ran wild. I envisioned everything that could possibly happen—from the IRS showing up at our front door to take our home to a worst-case scenario … living in our car!
We were intensely aware of God’s intervention on our behalf to help us make the right connections at the right time.
Once again, we prayed and sought wisdom from everywhere imaginable. One morning during my quiet time, I read: “The Lord is on my side, I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6). Shortly thereafter, a good friend from California called to see how we were settling in after the move. During our conversation, I mentioned the IRS situation we were facing. She got excited as she told me about a Christian man she had recently heard on a local radio station in Los Angeles who formerly worked with the IRS and was now devoting his retirement years to helping Christians who were facing IRS issues. She insisted upon contacting the radio station for us to secure his contact information.
I called the man, and he personally answered the phone! He then spent half an hour with me instructing me on what we needed to do to get this settled. He also mailed us his recently published book. We followed his instructions, and all was taken care of within a few weeks. We were intensely aware of God’s intervention on our behalf, helping us make the right connections at the right time. Afterwards, I even managed to forgive the IRS for the emotional ups and downs they had put us through.
The bottom line is that trusting and living in peace is a choice.
According to those who’ve done extensive studies on the brain, we have both positive faith-based emotions and negative fear-based emotions. If we choose to live with the latter, they produce toxic attitudes which produce toxic responses in the body. That’s right … many of the illnesses that we struggle with are emotionally-induced. I’m convinced that living in peace and having a positive outlook must be intentional on our part— empowered with the Holy Spirit.
I wish I could say that I always respond with positive faith-based emotions, but unfortunately, I haven’t mastered it just yet. I can get frustrated with the best of them. My grandson teases me that I become “another person” anytime I get behind the wheel of an automobile. When I’m in one of my states (and I am improving), he lovingly pats me on the shoulder and says, “Now, now, Pastor Linda, calm down … it’s all good.”
The bottom line is that trusting and living in peace is a choice. I can choose whether or not to be tossed to and fro by every event that’s not going according to plan … and believe me, there are and will be plenty! Or, I can get ready for the ride of my life by choosing to agree with God’s Word and declaring that God has my back and He will work these things for my good. I’ve proved Him over and over, and I know that He is trustworthy.
Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you. (Psalm 56:3, NKJV)
*Article originally appeared in Studio G Magazine. Used with permission.