One summer night, I was washing dishes and thinking about the weekend ahead. We were planning to head to my in-laws, and my husband and I were in a bit of disagreement as to when we would travel. He wanted to go Friday night; I wanted to leave Saturday morning. I started scrubbing dishes harder and harder as I thought about how stupid I considered his idea to be. It obviously made most sense to do things my way and leave at a time best for the kids, which would ease every other aspect of travel. Why couldn’t he see that?? As I stood there, scrubbing and stewing over how I couldn’t believe that this was even an issue, God reminded me of a verse I had studied earlier in the week. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything… Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable…” (Philippians 4:4-9 NLT). Ugh. I’m pretty sure I let out an audible sigh as I rolled my eyes and considered how much I didn’t want to think about things that were pure and lovely in that moment that I was mad and certain I was right. But I had a choice – I could give this moment to God, stop worrying and pray, or I could continue to fight for what I wanted.
I give my kids a hard time when they act like it is physically painful to take a nap, get their hair washed or eat a bite of spaghetti, but I’m not sure I’m always that different. If anyone could have seen my inner fit, they would have thought it physically painful for me to step away from those dishes and walk into my front room to pray. What if I gave this to God and didn’t get my way? How would my husband know I was right? If I had to stop and redirect my thinking, shouldn’t my husband have to, too?
I surrendered, “God, your Word says I don’t have to worry about anything, that instead I can come to you. I am commanded to come to you. Would you take care of this? Would you let us know when to travel? And if we go Friday night, would you please let the kids sleep well so I can sleep?”
I went back to my dishes and focused on things that were true: if we leave Friday night and the kids have a fit in the car, we could pull over and stop somewhere; if they sleep terrible, I could take a nap the next day; if I forget something while I’m packing everything up myself, we could go to the store… sometimes I hate being rational.
The verse also says that when you put his words into practice, “The God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9). It was true. By that next morning, I had a peace about when we would travel. It wasn’t for me to worry about. I had given it to God, and he would take care of it. I told my husband we could do whatever he wanted, and I genuinely was okay with it.
We left Friday night.
And my kids slept fine, and I slept fine, and we had a wonderful weekend with family.
But what really put me in my place was during the nearly 3 hour drive Friday night, my husband talked the whole way about his job and the rough, stressful week he had. The entire time, I couldn’t stop thanking God for intervening, for reminding me of his Word and for keeping me from picking a fight and being one more stressor to my husband’s already-awful week.
Read: Philippians 4:4-9
Stepping in: How does your perspective change if you come to God, telling him what you need and thanking him for all he has done? How does your perspective change if you fix your thoughts on things that are true, honorable, right, etc.?
Journeying further: There are a lot of commands within this text. Are some easier to obey than others? What lies get in the way of obedience to them all, and how do we overcome those lies?