Yesterday morning I did a lot of whinging to the Lord about my stress levels. I don’t feel bad about that because He commands me not to be anxious about anything and to cast my cares on Him. So the way I figure, if I need to whine, then He’s the best Person to whine to.
Anyhow, I was telling Him how overwhelmed I felt. And, as He sometimes does, He probed. He wanted to know why I was so stressed.
“Because I am responsible for too many things, Lord!”
You view responsibility as if it were a virtue, I thought I heard Him say in my spirit.
“Isn’t it?” I asked, genuinely surprised.
I am the responsible one, Child. I own responsibility for how the universe works out. You do not always have to “make things happen.”
It probably shouldn’t have, but this felt like revelation. In my world “being responsible” is right up there with holiness. It might as well be the 11th Commandment as far as I was concerned.
“But Father,” I protested. “Everyone evaluates me on the basis of being responsible!”
Not Me, He said, before I could go any further. I value your love and faithfulness. It is I who does the work and manages the outcomes. Your job is to trust Me, depend on Me, and to love people.
After a bit more protesting and a lot more dialogue, I yielded. I confessed my need to control outcomes. I admitted the anxiety it causes is me. I repented of my pride about my reputation for being responsible. And I asked God to help me be faithful and loving instead. As I prayed these things, God’s peace washed over me. That matter settled, I was ready to move on. So I opened my Bible to where the bookmark was and started to read.
It was a familiar story—but the words jumped off the page at me: Just as He had needed to change my perspective mere minutes earlier, God needed to change Peter’s perspective, too.
Just as He had done with me, God showed Peter a vision that challenged his personal sense of piety. Peter would not be effective in his ministry if he continued in his old mindsets. So, while Peter was at his regular prayer time, at 3 in the afternoon, God grabbed his attention. He gave Peter a startling message that went contrary to everything Peter had believed. Peter was credulous at first, so, like me, he protested and asked questions. But God patiently continued the conversation until Peter was convinced—just as He had done with me.
If I hadn’t known God was speaking to me earlier, I sure knew it now. By following up our out-of-the-blue dialogue with scriptural confirmation, I knew I needed to take to heart what He had said.
And I also realized how important those established prayer times are. When I meet with God regularly, sharing my true self with Him, He meets me there. He grabs my attention and changes my direction. It’s no different now than it was a couple of centuries ago when He did an about face for His friend Peter. The old saying is true: prayer changes things—but prayer also changes me!