“Whenever my busy thoughts were out of control, the soothing comfort of your presence calmed me down and overwhelmed me with delight.” Psalm 94:19
This was the daily verse this morning. Perfect timing. That was me last night -- busy thoughts beginning to spiral out of control. Honestly, I left hanging out with my friends feeling ungrateful, and wow, that hit me hard. Why was I so ungrateful after spending time with my friends, having fun? The enemy was trying to steal my joy. When I read that verse this morning, it was as if God was saying, “I’ve seen your busy thoughts. Come to me and let My presence calm you.” God not only wants me to have peace but to be overwhelmed with delight. God, help me receive those gifts from Your hand and believe that it’s your heart for me.
Sometimes my journal entries read like the Psalms, so I feel like David and I have a spiritual connection. In one paragraph, I’ll be praising God for all He’s doing and in the next, I’ll be writing out the lies I’m believing about myself.
Up, down. Up, down.
I write it all in there because one day, I want to look back and remember that the only thing that’s consistent through my entire life is the faithfulness of Jesus. The Anchor. The Rock. The firm foundation.
On this particular day when I wrote out this journal entry, I had been hanging out with some friends for a couple of hours. But as I got into my car to drive home, thoughts of ungratefulness filled my head. I began to think of all the ways that it had been lacking, or not lived up to the expectations I had had in my head. I began to put down myself and make a list of all the things that I could have done better. What I said, didn’t say, what others said or didn’t say… until all of a sudden, I stopped. It was as if someone was playing my thoughts through the radio, and I hated what I heard. I wanted to turn the music off. I immediately asked God to help me think clearly and I began to process why I felt that way.
And being ungrateful always comes back to unmet expectations, doesn’t it?
When a relationship doesn’t work out the way we thought it would. When a close friend or family member isn’t healed when we prayed that they would be. When our faith is more complicated than how someone explained it. When a friend doesn’t treat you in a way that you think you should be treated. When you get let go or get sick, or life moves in a way that you weren’t expecting.
And all of these unmet expectations can either drive us away from God or move us closer to Him.
It’s our choice.
The morning after hearing the tune of my own ungratefulness loud and clear, I opened up the Bible app on my phone and Psalm 94:19 stared back at me. “Whenever my busy thoughts were out of control, the soothing comfort of your presence calmed me down and overwhelmed me with delight.” Another version says, “When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” The word “consolations” comes from the word for “to have compassion.” In the middle of the tornado of busy and overwhelming thoughts that can swoop in, His presence is the thing that calms the storm. His compassion covers us.
My grandmother used to say that I would burn calories sitting still, I was always moving. Still, today, my attention span when it comes to rest is very short. I’ll be honest, some days I’ll choose a lot of other things over the presence of God. Sleep, Netflix, time with friends. Anything to take me out of silence and the being still. I’m learning though that the only place I will find true rest is in the stillness that comes with sitting in the presence of God.
I know my priorities are misaligned when my thoughts begin to spiral. One lie turns into five which turns into me making decisions based on those lies instead of what I know to be true. I begin to see people differently, myself differently, God inaccurately. It’s a warning sign saying, “Hey Ellie! You need to get back in the word of God. You need to get back into worship and prayer. Life feels whack because you aren’t prioritizing the right things.”
When the lies fill our headspace where peace should be, we have to take stock. We have to pause and get back into the presence of God. We must choose to be still. We must choose to believe the truth. We don’t have to let darkness win over the light. The enemy wants to steal our joy, but he doesn’t get to. Once we truly let that sink in, our eyes are opened to a whole new way of living.
And it changes everything.