Are you tired too? Stressed? Are you over it? Wondering what in the "ham sandwich" (An Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt reference) is going on nowadays? Just so tired your tired is tired? If so, then sit down with me a bit and let's have some Psalm 94, shall we?
A while back (think a year or two), I wrote a blog post titled, "While the world goes crazy, I stay sane."
Link if you care to look back:
I remember that summer. I was about to turn 30, started this blog (on my bucket list). Ok, I just laughed that turning 30 prompted a list, but gosh I was so attached to my 20s. Anyway, I spent the summer NOT WORKING as I usually found my teacher self in some sort of summer program or educational endeavor. Instead, I spent the summer resting and exploring how to make Toya "better." Of course only Jesus can ultimately help with that, but I decided my hands shouldn't be idle in the process. Nonetheless, I sat and blogged one day about how the world had just gone absolutely crazy and what I could do to manage to stay sane. I know there was some infamous trial going on....that rhymed with "immerman" and a host of other crazy, loopy, omg moments that joined this mega media/news craze were also happening.
So, as I usually am with negative and sad things I was overwhelmed. I couldn't even continue to ingest any more ideas, thoughts, opinions, emotions.....just couldn't. While blogging that day I realized that there is so much, and will be more in the future that I absolutely have NO CONTROL over. Now, to a control freak like me (the Lord is still working on me:) that is a scary thought, but it's the truth! That summer instead of letting it overtake me, I went out into the world and did what I could do.....and believe it or not, that's the best you CAN do.
Today, I find myself overwhelmed again with our world. My Facebook feed is overcome with news story after news story, some positive, most negative. Many that would warrant strong emotion, local and national. Cute kids, sick kids, funny pets mixed with the young dying too soon, with funny memes and unimaginable pain. Remember when Facebook was just simply a way to connect with your high school and middle school buddies? Family? When it was really just a bunch of college kiddos or alumni (as you had to have a school email to register) to connect with and say things like: "Hey girl! I haven't seen you since 8th grade, good to see you!" My how it's changed......some days happy and jovial, other days depressing.
SO....once again I am met with a decision- get sucked in to the world or unplug and stay sane. Put down phone, pick up Bible (should be in the reverse order, and I thank John Piper for sharing an article that convicted me of that) and READ. I came across Psalm 94:19 tonight. Funny, I felt an immediate peace come across when I read that scripture. Here are a few versions:
New International Version
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
New Living Translation
When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.
English Standard Version
When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.
New American Standard Bible
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.
King James Bible
In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.
If that doesn't make everyone stop.breathe.and relax- I don't know what does. I just love when you can find a verse that just covers your exact emotion at the time. It's like the Lord giving you a spoonful of spiritual antibiotic when your spiritual immune system is tanking. If anyone can express mental exhaustion, hardships, and being "over it" - it's Paul....and Job too:) After settling on that scripture for a moment I decided to read the whole Psalm 94......and in one of my favorite versions- the Message Bible.
Sometimes the Message Bible is just necessary, it slaps you in the face when you need a slap. It gets to the nitty gritty when necessary, and can make a point crystal clear.
WOW! The weight and reassurance in the Lord you gain from sitting with this Psalm. I consider myself one who struggles greatly with injustice. I say that the Lord must have placed this "passionate" side in me for a reason. My goal is to learn to use it His way instead of mine. Although right now our world is crazy and injustice is evident in a plethora of areas and circumstances, I have found that my struggle translates at times in the smallest of circumstances.
I was the kid who would NOT let you copy my homework, and wouldn't ever consider copying in elementary school.....because well, you should have done it yourself! Can't say I kept that rule forever because, well, Physics and Computer Science could kick my butt from time to time (many times) in high school (thankfully we can repent and the Lord forgives :). As a teacher now, that is definitely a non-negotiable. I was the kid that if I saw you doing something wrong, yep I TOLD. If you didn't want me to, then don't do it. Yes, I am laughing as I type because growing from a child to an adult, I know I am not perfect and have for sure made Jesus shake His head at me many times. Even as an adult I still struggle with this (He's not through with me yet). I have huge heart, I like to give and do what I can and if someone gets messed with you can be sure I WILL HAVE THEIR BACK! I protect, I fight for people, causes, whatever is best. I'm the one that will "share the truth" because if I don't tell you....how will you know?! (insert hysterical laughter)- just being honest about my passion for justice:) Toya's philosophy is simple: Hey, everybody do your job correctly, be nice to people, don't try to pull one over on me, and we'll be fine. Easy? In my mind yes, in the real world- No way.
So, I am constantly working to redirect that part of myself to Jesus. Gosh, it's hard. "But Lord, it's wrong. They're wrong- I saw it. I can prove it. I know! It's unfair, it's mean. No one is doing anything about it. Lord: "Extend grace, it's not your fight. Leave it to me. I can handle it better than you EVER could. Be quiet, Be still. Wait."
Meanwhile, my flesh screams in agony like a dagger has just been used to stab my flesh....in the flesh:)
Now, of course the Lord isn't telling me to turn a blind eye to crime, or not to help someone if I can. However, many of the things I get so worked up over I'm learning are just growth opportunities for me to do what I can and leave the rest to Him. I believe that's part of our exhaustion, or mine anyway. Wanting to work it all out, save the world, stop the bad all on our own. Newsflash......we can accomplish MUCH, but NOT ALL.
With that said, today I'm going to make Psalm 94 poster size! (or at least in my mind). When people weigh me down with their "wrongness" and crazy. Psalm 94. When I am emotionally overwhelmed by the "not fair/no you didn't/you must be kidding/are you serious?" Psalm. 94. You know how Blue Bell (RIP Blue Bell) used to say, "Eat all you can, sell the rest?" Well, DO WHAT YOU CAN, AND LEAVE THE REST TO JESUS. That's all you can really do, So I leave you and myself with Psalm 94, the Message version, let it calm you. Let it remind you that God sees all of the craziness in the world. The crazy you work with. The crazy you live with. From the smallest injustice to the greatest. Every mean, horrible, unfair, sad, conniving thing. EVERY ONE. He also sees how we are reacting to it, and how much we are trusting Him through it. Since I can be the queen of anger and fear, I will say the root of that is not trusting. Not trusting a great God to reconcile, redeem, vindicate. He overcame the world, while we're still going crazy about it........
Psalm 94 The Message (MSG)
94 1-2 God, put an end to evil;
avenging God, show your colors!
Judge of the earth, take your stand;
throw the book at the arrogant.
3-4 God, the wicked get away with murder—
how long will you let this go on?
They brag and boast
and crow about their crimes!
5-7 They walk all over your people, God,
exploit and abuse your precious people.
They take out anyone who gets in their way;
if they can’t use them, they kill them.
They think, “God isn’t looking,
Jacob’s God is out to lunch.”
8-11 Well, think again, you idiots,
fools—how long before you get smart?
Do you think Ear-Maker doesn’t hear,
Eye-Shaper doesn’t see?
Do you think the trainer of nations doesn’t correct,
the teacher of Adam doesn’t know?
God knows, all right—
knows your stupidity,
sees your shallowness.
12-15 How blessed the man you train, God,
the woman you instruct in your Word,
Providing a circle of quiet within the clamor of evil,
while a jail is being built for the wicked.
God will never walk away from his people,
never desert his precious people.
Rest assured that justice is on its way
and every good heart put right.
16-19 Who stood up for me against the wicked?
Who took my side against evil workers?
If God hadn’t been there for me,
I never would have made it.
The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,”
your love, God, took hold and held me fast.
When I was upset and beside myself,
you calmed me down and cheered me up.
20-23 Can Misrule have anything in common with you?
Can Troublemaker pretend to be on your side?
They ganged up on good people,
plotted behind the backs of the innocent.
But God became my hideout,
God was my high mountain retreat,
Then boomeranged their evil back on them:
for their evil ways he wiped them out,
our God cleaned them out for good.
The Message (MSG)