Building Confidence in Stressful Situations

Every day we are tempted to choose fear over faith.  Every single day. It’s exhausting.

Whether at work or at home, in the news media, or in our communities, there is this subversive temptation that implores us to give up, that tells us that we are delusional about believing what we cannot see. Moreover, we are tempted to believe we live in a hopeless world.

When I turn inward to discover what the Spirit says to me, I discover that my heart is a sanctuary of truth.  So, when my heart told me to investigate Isaiah for clues on how to deal with stressful situations and rebuild confidence in myself, and the world I live in, I found myself reading this:

Isaiah 8: 13-17

13 The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
    he is the one you are to fear,
    he is the one you are to dread.
14 He will be a holy place;
    for both Israel and Judah he will be
a stone that causes people to stumble
    and a rock that makes them fall.
And for the people of Jerusalem he will be
    a trap and a snare.
15 Many of them will stumble;
    they will fall and be broken,
    they will be snared and captured.”

16 Bind up this testimony of warning
    and seal up God’s instruction among my disciples.
17 I will wait for the Lord,
    who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob.
I will put my trust in him.

What is true then is true now.  We can no longer waste time fearing that which God has power over. We don’t have to worry about that horrible boss, the fate of our children, the upcoming election. No. The presence of God is in all things, and there is a plan that we don’t realize is unfolding around us. We just have to trust the process and the holy one that gives us guidance.

I used to think that I was the smartest person in the world, that I knew everything. But now, I seek answers from a source bigger than I can fathom. My confidence must come from that place as well because I cannot surpass the limitations that are inherent in my humanity. The difficulty I have with the virtue of waiting on the divine, is the necessary act of SURRENDER. 

When I find myself in difficult situations, I have the tendency to run away, to protect my heart and mind, to preserve my spiritual gifts  so that they will not be corrupted, exploited; I will not become mean and bitter.  But what if God has me face tough situations to learn deep lessons, to become impervious to other peoples drama, to be able to see beyond my ego and delegate my life tasks and their outcomes to the holy one that gave me life?

When I think of all the successes that I have had in my life, they have been born from acts of surrender and trust in all that I could  not see.  I seek the face of God in present situations of difficulty and I will not take the unfolding events at face value.  So, the spirit is alive in this warning, this excerpt from Isaiah, and although the time of Isaiah encircled issues with Israel, Judah, Jerusalem, and Jacob, there are  issues in my  life, in yours, and our shared lives as a human family, that are representative of Israel, Judah, Jerusalem, and Jacob.

If you decide to reflect on this passage, I would encourage you to discover what areas in your life  or aspects of your inmost self are obscured from divine sight? Where do you grip? Where are you apathetic? How are you the house of Jacob? Who represents Judah on the world’s stage in 2016? What do we fear and hold onto that only God can control?

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh says in his book Peace is Every Step, that we have 24 brand new hours to live, to cultivate peace.  How is this relative to surrender and trust in the unseen?

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