Have you ever had one of those days where the cares of the world (or really your small section of them) were so heavy on your shoulders, you were practically laying flat on the floor trying to carry them? I had one yesterday.

The day started off with me bringing a few things that were concerning me to Jesus, asking Him to be present in situations that concern our family, things we cannot control. My heart was heavy with worry and concern, but I did my best to lay it down.

By 8:15 am, I’d picked it up again. And, as the day progressed, I — unaware of what I was doing — had three or four other concerns that I also allowed to weigh me down. I’d been sick with a cold and had barely a whisper of a voice with which to manage the children. I had a babysitter back out and had to scramble to find a sitter for a commitment the next night.  One family member with health issues was constantly in my thoughts. I ran out of cloth diaper detergent and refused to put three children in the car to go and fetch some.

It was turning into a terrible horrible-no-good-very-bad-day.

I was aware that I was feeling low and moving slow. And I pretty much did the opposite of what I should’ve done: I just wallowed in it.

Boys at the Beach

{There was indeed a trip to South Africa that I’ve told you nothing about so far… and I promise to share some photos and stories from it with you. But you don’t have to be at the beach to have a happy day!}

Fear has this funny way of sneaking in a side door. Often, we don’t even realize that fear is at the root of an issue or situation that we’re discouraged about, meanwhile, it’s busy building all sorts of traps and snares in our hearts and minds, meant to keep us fearing instead of trusting.

And fear can be terribly paralyzing. If we don’t allow it to draw us closer to Jesus, you can be sure it will be quick to pull us away, and we will struggle to make our way out of it.

I moved slowly and laid lowly throughout the day, and just sort of chalked it up to “having a lot on my mind” and “feeling a little under the weather,” but truthfully, I was making a conscious decision to allow fear to have its way, instead of choosing to hope, to trust, to have faith.

When we choose to cling to a care or concern in our lives, we are often choosing not to bring it to the God who can remind us of Who He is, how sovereign He is, and how much He loves us.

I’d written Psalm 16:11 in my journal that morning, and (obviously) promptly forgotten it:

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

If I had chosen to turn back to the presence of Jesus, to share my cares and concerns and allow Him to rescue me from fear, I would’ve found joy in His presence. And for the believer, the joy of the Lord is a strength like no other.

Proverbs 17:22 says “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”

I chose to sit, sapped of strength, because I chose not to go back to the source of joy: Jesus.

This morning, as I reflected on why yesterday was lousy and what I could have done differently, I read Romans 8:5-6 and had an Aha! moment of enlightenment:

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Why did I feel a little like warmed up death yesterday? Basically, because I allowed all the cares of this world to be the place where my mind dwelled pretty much the. entire. day.

When we set our minds on the hope that we have in Jesus and the truth that this world is just a shadow of what’s to come, we can find life and peace. 

Is there anything God can’t handle? Anything He can’t walk you through? Absolutely not!

We can trust Him and we should trust Him.

So don’t be a ninnymuggins like me and exchange the joyous gift of today for a pile of cares and concerns that won’t change just because you’re worrying about them.

Find life and peace in God’s presence, and let today be an unexpectedly wonderful gift.