Pusillanimous Thursday

Today was a not-so-good day. It started as I lay awake early this morning with a knot in my throat and ended this evening at the dinner table with a panicky, sad feeling in my heart.

I am scared. I am scared of the future. I am scared of leaving. I am scared of losing my stability.

There is really no reason for it. I know deep down inside that God will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). I have had so many friends and relatives encouraging Toby and I as moving day approaches, saying: Things will be great. We will have new opportunities and new friends. Our ministry will expand and we’ll be so happy in our new home. I agree. I am looking forward to it. But what I am not looking forward to is the feeling that I am leaving or turning my back to every opportunity, every friend, our ministry and our home here. And that doesn’t feel good.

One of my favorite words is “peace,” but I don’t feel it right now. That is why I am scared. That is why I am panicky. I feel like I’ve lost my peace. What’s hard is that I have to go through my normal day, but not feel normal. I vacuum the living room but lament the upcoming loss of my beautiful home. I peel a peach to throw in the fruit salad for the kids, and wonder how I am going to get through the next few years. I stand outside the backyard and wish to God that I wasn’t moving away.

It has been a pusillanimous day.

Pusillanimous means timid; lacking in courage or determination; small spirited. I am definitely lacking courage today. And worse, I am lacking peace.

I think I know why, though. And it has been hard for me to grapple. I know that peace, true peace, comes only from God. I get that. But peace comes after we trust in the God who provides it. Isaiah 26:3-4 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” The painful truth of my pusillanimous day is that I am struggling to trust God.

I don’t trust that this move is the best thing for us, because it doesn’t feel good. I don’t trust that everything is going to work out for the best, because I think I already have the best right now. I don’t trust that God has clearly prompted our hearts towards seminary. And because I don’t trust, I don’t have peace.

How do you get out of that place of fear and doubt and into that place of trust and peace? I’m going to have to change a few things. First, I am going to have to pray and ask others to pray for me. Second, in order to trust God, I’ve got to get to know him better. In Jeremiah 29:13, God says, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Proverbs 8:17 says, “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.” James 4:8 promises that if you “Draw near to God; he will draw near to you.” There’s that old bumper sticker that states, “No God, no peace. Know God, know peace.

The opposite of pusillanimous is magnanimous. It means, very generous or forgiving; willing to face danger and actions for noble purposes; greatness of spirit. It is the kind of day I will have when my soul rests in the Lord. When I allow my spirit to be filled by his Spirit. When I give up my need to know the future and trust in my knowledge of Him.

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

12 Comments

Filed under Spiritual thoughts

12 responses to “Pusillanimous Thursday

  1. Ginny Hyland

    Oh, Rachel. Once again so timely for me. How I need to know Him better so I can trust Him more. And often I have to go through these tough, heart-wrenching circumstances to have that trust become truly mine. That’s what I am believing.
    Once I read a commentary on that verse in Is.26, and it said I could read it, “Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose imagination is stayed on Thee.” That gave me a new perspective-my thought life during these hard times is so important. I must not go to the “what ifs”; I must “take every thought captive.” The “what ifs” make me scared and hopeless because seldom, if ever, do I go to the positive “what ifs.” If I went to those positives I would be full of faith and hope and excitement and peace. Lord, change my “what ifs” to the positive!
    I also just discovered Gungor via Toby. His one song “Please Be My Strength” goes over and over in my mind because “I don’t have anymore.” But I remember “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
    Actually, I needed to read your blog and process a few things for myself; I hope in these ramblings something helps you.
    So once again thank you for being honest and sharing your heart. As we were reminded in our Bible study yesterday, we need each other to help us in our faith. You surely help me!

  2. J.

    Praying for you guys. Leaving is no fun. John 14:27 ~Justin

  3. Thank you so much for your comments. Encouragement is so necessary for life.

  4. Jackie O.

    It’s interesting to read this when I met you at a time of great transition in moving to a foreign country. I remember you as brave in facing the new world we entered and ready to take on whatever life had in store for us. So I know it’s in you to make the most of this transition and be incredibly blessed by it. It makes me think that God likes to keep us on our toes and not too comfortable lest we forget we are not of this world. He has so much more in store for us in heaven, and that’s where our focus should always be. I’m praying for your sister and feel your “pusillanimity”.

    • Thanks, Jackie. God is definitely keeping me on my toes, and one of the things that makes me feel better in the midst of this is that if he didn’t keep me on his toes… I would indeed start to forget. (Heaven forbid!)

  5. Julia

    God is not the God of “easy”. But He is a God of equipping. My fall-back prayer in times like this is “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) Substitute the word trust.
    From my vantage point I see that your trust is there. In every box you pack. In every to do item on your list. By God’s Grace you are stepping out in faith. Easy? No way. Which is precisely why God journeys with us, through His word, through family, and through friends. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”(Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV)
    I love you, sister. I thank God for your beautiful heart and your deep love for Him. And I continue to lift you all up in my prayers.

  6. debbie

    Rachel, I too thank you for these words and your honesty. I know that word and feeling. Praying for you. Please pray for me 🙂 debbie

  7. Rachel, I have read this post several times over now, and every time I take away something new. Thank you. Here is a thought I wanted to share: We may actually be trusting God most not when we feel like we are trusting him (those are the easy times), but when we don’t feel it but act as though we do. Trust is a verb. It is not an adjective or an emotion; it is an action. When we are most scared but still moving forward, that is trusting God. We can stand at the top off a cliff and feel that we trust God to catch us, but we don’t really trust until we step over the edge. What we feel at that moment (sheer panic!) is less important than the fact that we are doing it. The emotion is just an emotion; the trust is in the action. I second Julia’s comment that she sees the trust in your actions. Keep going. Peace will come.

  8. Bethel Larsen

    Dear Rachel,
    You and Toby have many good gifts to take to the table in Seminary. Because of your cross-cultural ministry experience, you will be able to share with those who have not yet had that kind of experience. The learning will be mutual and multi-faceted. That said, I know it is a big undertaking to move your family to an unfamiliar place with uncertain income and disrupt your human support systems. We prayed for you in our women’s Bible study today, and we’ll continue to pray for you. God will take care of you, day by day, step by step. May His grace to you be abundant as you go forward in His Name!

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