By Brianna George
On my way to a counseling appointment recently, I was thinking about what I wanted to discuss with my therapist. All at once the inadequacies I felt as a woman, a wife, a mother, a friend, a missionary, and a writer smacked me in the face, and I began to make a mental list of the situations and relationships I had messed up that week.
I planned to tell her how inadequate I felt for every single role I have. I planned to tell her how I had messed up each of my duties. I planned to tell her how, all week long, I had created a trail of problems because of my inadequacies. Although we all, of course, must take responsibility for our actions and mistakes, I really began to work myself up emotionally. By the time I pulled into the parking lot, I had convinced myself I was the whole problem. I felt worthless. I almost turned around to go home because, heck, who could fix this problem that was all me?
Does this scene sound familiar? So often we work ourselves into a frenzy of disbelief and shame ourselves, beginning with a single thought about where we don’t measure up. Sometimes the thought comes from something someone says or does, but too often it comes from our own thoughts and fears.
In that moment, I realized I was having an identity crisis and needed Jesus to remind me who I was in him. I sat in my van and prayed earnestly. I know the truth. I know who I am in Christ. I know whose I am, but I needed a reminder after a difficult week.
As I began praying, my emotions swelled. I felt my mind and heart battle between the lies my mind tells me about myself and the truth of who I am. I asked God to help me win this spiritual battle.
Even as my mind continued to replay all the ways I hadn’t measured up that week, I asked God to show me the truth of the situation. That’s when his still, small whisper spoke to my heart: “Yup, you are the problem. You’re my delightful problem.”
Sometimes the Holy Spirit has a sense of humor, but I didn’t think now was the time. I sat still for a moment, surprised by the words. It had to be a joke. “Is that really you, God?” I listened again.
“You’re my glorious problem. I am your triumphant solution.”
I am God’s problem. So are you. We are his glorious problems. He has the solution, because he is the solution. God doesn’t react to a difficulty the same way we do. We want to run and hide. We shame and devalue ourselves. We blame. We take our dilemmas personally, believing we are the issue.
The Lord sees a problem and holds steady. He shows more of his marvelous self. He brings value and purpose to any difficulty. He allows all the pressure to make a lump of coal into a diamond. He has a plan and a purpose for every challenge we face.
God is never surprised, worried, or distressed by our questions. He is not on edge, wondering if we will remember our identity is in him. He is not taken aback or amazed at how easily we can sometimes be swayed from knowing who we are to believing lies that try to tell us who we are not. He knows how Satan operates. He knows when we will be tempted to live in fear and strife, rather than in the truth and peace he consistently and constantly provides.
The Lord is always there, patiently waiting to remind us we are perfectly his. He is there to encourage us when we fail. He is there to refresh us when we have allowed all our earthly difficulties to overcome us. He never leaves us alone to fend for ourselves. He never forgets us. He never says we are too big a problem.
As I sat in my van that day and listened as he encouraged me and revived my spirit, bringing me to rest in his lovely peace, I began to relax and cease focusing on all my problems and shortcomings. My heart surged with reminders of my righteousness and worth because of my King and Savior.
Truly, more therapy happened in my van that day than in my counselor’s office.
Brianna George is a speaker, teacher, and missionary as well as a part-time writer and full-time encourager. She lives in central Tennessee with her husband of twelve years, two spicy little boys, and Bosa the boxer. More of her writing can be found at unveiledandrevealed.com.
Photograph © Alexander Ronsdorf, used with permission