My year hasn’t exactly gone as planned. The company I founded, These Numbers Have Faces, went through stages of great growth last year, but the maintenance of it all has been really challenging.
For months I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. Anxiety has come roaring back into my life and all the while, there are hundreds of talented students on the waiting list to join our programs in Africa.
To top it off, my wife and I are expecting our first child in only a few weeks time. We’re thrilled of course, but the future is downright scary.
Worry, fear, dread, regret.
We’ve all been there.
Like many of us do in times of trial, I’ve rushed back to the foundations of my faith, praying in earnest for rest, peace and spiritual renewal.
Then I found a passage in Sarah Young’a Jesus Calling that changed it all. They were words that gave me the first leg up off of rock bottom. Words that, for the first time in a long time, quelled the battery acid of worry in my gut:
They helped me rest in these truths:
- My future is uncertain. This is how it is meant to be.
- Secret things belong to the Lord, and future things are secret things.
- My worry is an act of rebellion.
In my top office drawer I have a green folder that holds some of my most prized documents. They aren’t awards, certificates, or photographs; they are clippings of prayers and quotes like the one above. These brief reflections, handwritten or printed from my office computer, act as anchors of hope in times of uncertainty.
Over the last few months, this folder has grown and grown.
What has saved me this year has been opening this folder every morning to read and reread its contents. I set aside 20 minutes each day and let these familiar words pour over me. The same words from the same people, over and over. This repetition, this act of obedience, has become the foundation of my day. And, miraculously, it has brought peace.
Are you going through hell right now?
Build your own green folder. Allow it to become your spiritual and emotional survival kit.
It’s not out of the norm to keep a first aid kit in your car or a few gallons of water in your basement for an emergency.
We should follow the same guidelines for our souls.
In your times of mental clarity and hopefulness, file away the quotes, phrases, verses, prayers and letters of encouragement you know you will need in times of disbelief and despair.
Then build on the habits of repetition. At the same time every day, read the contents of your folder. You’ll be surprised at the way this habit will guide you into the future.