I had to write “ICQ!” on my hand in permanent marker today. It was a reminder every time I looked at it that “I CAN’T QUIT!” I sure felt like it though…for a few minutes.
Do ever feel like throwing your hands up and hitting the road? Quitting all the stuff you do, even stuff you love because you hit a tough time? People hurt your feelings when you’re trying to do the right thing. Though you try your best, you end up right in the cross-hairs of hurtful words. It bothers me even though I know it shouldn’t. Why do we worry about what people think and say?
I wanted to quit a bunch of stuff today when I was feeling sorry for myself. After a little bit, I had to laugh. That’s exactly what the devil wanted me to do. If I would get aggravated, then mad, and say all kinds of hurtful things and spread it around, I’d just be getting started. Then, I could remember all kinds of other things that had hurt my feelings over the years and I could work myself into a good snit. Carnage would be everywhere. Whoever said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” was a big fat liar!
I prayed over and over that the Lord would help me get my mind under control. My imagination was getting away from me. I started thinking of other people who were going through difficult stuff-a lot worse than me. I prayed for them to be strong…and wise. I remembered Nehemiah in the Old Testament. Sanballat and Tobiah went against him, causing him grief regularly, trying to wear him down and stop his work. Then, Daniel, also in the Old Testament, was tormented by others in the kingdom. They followed closely and tattled to the king. He ended up in a den of lions that seemed much nicer than his accusers.
The more I told myself I wasn’t going to think about it, the more I thought about it. “Just stop!” I whispered where no one could hear. People get their feelings hurt all the time. It wasn’t that big of a deal. Still, my shoulders sagged.
A little later, I went through the drive-thru at the bank. I picked up a Bible verse card to give the nice lady. She was doing a lot of negotiating with the guy in the other lane. I heard them talking back and forth and tried to ignore it. Whatever it was, it was taking forever. As I waited for my turn, I turned the card over…and exhaled. It was one of my very favorite verses. And I needed to take a good look at it, to remember it before I passed it along. Joshua 1:9 says: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
“Do not be discouraged…” I don’t usually pay attention to that part; I always focus on the strong and courageous part. “Do not be discouraged…” That’s exactly what I needed to remember. This would pass. Everything would be OK. I’d get over it. But I just couldn’t make rash decisions to stop doing things, good things that I love, just because I was having a bad day or there was a bump in the road.
After my transaction, I put the lime green Bible verse card in the drive-thru drawer. “Here’s a Bible verse for you in case you need it,” I said as I got ready to pull out. She picked it up and said, “Thank you!” with relief. The guy was still in the other lane.
I couldn’t help smiling as I drove away. God is so cool. His Word is like good medicine.