It’s my privilege to share an excerpt from my friend Betsy Tachella’s new book, “Speak To Me Lord, I’m Listening.” She’s also giving away a copy to a reader – comment below or send me an email and I’ll put your name in the drawing. The entries will be open through Saturday, September 7.
Prayer is such an integral part of our Christian walk, yet how many times do we approach God with an issue that needs attention and really expect to hear an answer? Sometimes things build up in our lives, and we become overwhelmed.
Several months after we settled into our home in Southern California, I experienced a nagging sense of frustration. Feeling emotionally fragmented, I noticed stress and exasperation were my constant companions.
One morning, I awoke almost immobilized by these overwhelming feelings and thoughts. What’s bothering me, Lord? I’m feeling frustrated, but I can’t put my finger on why? Will you reveal to me what is wrong?
By faith, I awaited His answer. “…if you shall ask the Father for anything, He will give it to you in My name.” (Jn. 16:23).
Having brooded over my mood for several weeks, I knew that something was stealing my peace. Maybe you have had this experience, where you know something is out of kilter, but you can’t quite put your finger on exactly what it is. With pen and paper in hand, I listed the things that floated across my mind. My list gradually unfolded as I engaged in listening prayer and heard God’s voice.
In our newly built home, the yard was still just dirt, and I wanted grass. Completion of the pool lagged behind schedule. We had not found a piano teacher for the girls. No gutters were on the house yet. Friends for the girls proved sparse. We needed new furniture for the family room. I had no Bible study group to attend.
Determined to continue hearing from God about what bothered me, I remained still, waiting on the Lord, and listening further. The woeful list went on: No letters from home, no rapport with neighbors, no ministry, no ongoing creative projects. No, no, no….
Looking over the list, I counted seventeen unsettling things in all. I was gaining a clear picture of why I felt frustrated. It wasn’t just one thing. It was seventeen. Being an analytical person, I began to categorize the list which revealed five items concerning the house, six involving the girls, and three miscellaneous issues.
Since God loves order, He first helped me arrange and catalog areas of frustration into a pattern. That, by itself, eased my mind. Next, He revealed that ten areas were beyond my control. Action could, however, be taken on the remaining seven.
Seventeen items had robbed my peace. Spending time listening in prayer provided the help I needed. My next step involved more prayer. In that prayer time, I released the seventeen obstacles to God. Then I asked for grace to accept the things I couldn’t change and wisdom to handle the areas that could be changed.
After several weeks, I looked again at the list. To my delight, eight items could be marked as done. I wrote TYL (thank you, Lord) beside each of these. After six months, I again revisited the list and happily crossed off all the remaining obstacles. God loves to hear from His children in prayer and to respond to our needs. I’ve noticed that it is often the little things that mount up in life and have the potential to rob me of peace. Maybe, it is the same for you. Muddled and confused, I sought counsel from God. He spoke specifically, even revealing to me what bothered me. Then, He directed me through steps leading to renewed peace and contentment.