Wednesday Words #9


“A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

Now I don’t always quote ancient Chinese philosophers and I don’t know much about Lao Tzu, but this proverb was just what I needed to hear today. I was (once again) feeling overwhelmed by all that I had to do.

I have to study for at least four whole hours each day?

I have to finish this 100 page reading assignment in only three days?

I have to be study and prepare for an exam that I will take in less than 2 weeks?

Those all sound so big and scary. Four whole hours. 100 pages. An exam and less than two weeks. How will I do it? But that’s when I remember that “a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.” One single step.

Four hours of study? The first step is simply to sit down and actually study.

100 pages? I have to start by opening the book and reading the first page.

An exam in two weeks? I simply start studying.

There are definitely times when I need to look at the big picture. There are times to keep deadlines in mind. There are times when I really need that kind of motivation. But there are other times when I really just need to take that first step and watch as the 1,000 mile journey flies by.

And it’s when I stop living in the future and just start taking steps that I remember that my God is Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23). He isn’t just waiting for me at the end of this challenge. He is God with me. Right here, right now. Giving me strength to take that first step and every single one after it. He’s not far ahead at the finish line; He walks beside me, strengthening me, supporting me, and upholding me.

Instead of looking only at the big picture, I need to take that first step, remembering that my God is with me all the way.


On Being Overwhelmed

I have a tendency to become overwhelmed when I have much to do. I have deadlines coming up for school and I’ve got a lot to do in a very short period of time. Yesterday I had plenty of time to get caught up, but instead I allowed myself to get distracted and do anything but what was really important. Now the load is hanging over me. 

My tendency in times like this when I’m overwhelmed is to do anything but what I should be doing. This makes absolutely no sense, but it is what always happens to me. Now that I recognize that, I try to overcome my fear and keep distractions from breaking my focus. 

This was my train of thought this morning as I was flipping through Psalms. I try to read a Psalm every morning in my devotional time, usually rearranging the verb tenses if necessary to make it a prayer to God. Today my eyes rested on Psalm 77. The subtitle said: “When Overwhelmed, Remember God’s Greatness” 

I went right away and underlined that. It was just what I needed to see. I went on and read through the chapter. (If you want to read it, click here.)

The first few verses describe how overwhelmed the Psalmist is. He feels like God is the one bringing hard times on him. He fears that God has forgotten him. 

Psalms 77:9
Hath God forgotten to be gracious?
hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah.

I can hear his heart cry, “God, have You forgotten about grace? Where’s the grace? I need some tender mercies over here!” But he isn’t angry. And he knows what to do when he feels this way.

Psalms 77:10
And I said, This is my infirmity:
but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.

So even though he feels like God has forgotten him, he’s going to remember all that God has done for him. Instead of dwelling on difficulty, he will dwell on all the times when he saw God’s hand at work. Yes, he’s in a hard time, but he is choosing to remember the good instead of focusing on the bad. 

Here are the things he says he will do (verses 11-12, my paraphrase):

– remember the works of the LORD
– remember His wonders
– meditate on His works
– speak of the things He has done

And then he does just that. He begins to describe God’s wonders and His glory and all the amazing things He has done. For example:

Psalms 77:14
Thou art the God that doest wonders:
thou hast declared thy strength among the people.

And then here’s one I especially love:

Psalms 77:19
Thy way is in the sea,
and thy path in the great waters,
and thy footsteps are not known.

His way is in the sea, and His path in the great waters. His footsteps are not known. How incredible is that?!

I need to make this a habit. When I feel overwhelmed, I need only to stop and meditate on all that The Lord has done for me. I need to:

– remember the works of the LORD
– remember His wonders
– meditate on His works
– speak of the things He has done

Psalms 77:10-12
And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.