Have a seat with me for a few minutes. It’s time for me to really share what has made the biggest difference in my life to help me learn how to let go of stress, anxiety, depression, and fear.
There’s Old Laura and there’s New Laura and I’m quite certain that there’s sure to be a Newer Laura every day in the future because God continues to teach me and refine me. Growth and healing never stop as long as we’re seeking Him.
First I’ll talk about Old Laura (in third person, apparently). She sure was a go-getter. She’d start tackling her to-do list as soon as her feet hit the floor and wow could she get a lot done each day! Between homeschooling four sons and writing a blog and making all of her food from scratch and keeping up with marriage, housework, and the ministries she was involved in, she could tackle a huge to-do list every day. Boom. Way to go, Old Laura.
Except for, yikes. Old Laura was nervous all the time. Anxious. Worried. Fearful. Tense. What if she wasn’t doing enough? What if all she was doing wasn’t being done well enough? What if she let someone down? What if her children didn’t turn out perfectly? What if all of her efforts didn’t turn out perfectly?
So she worked even harder. Year after year, she tried and she strove and she dug in her heels with determination. Through all of her many tasks she would pray! “God, help me to do all of this. I need your help!”
God was listening.
He listened with love and He knew what she needed. So He began to lead her down a new path; one that required deep inner healing and cleansing to show her that her life wasn’t about getting it all done. No. It was about surrendering to the One who had already done what was most important.
What Made the Biggest Difference
Old Laura slowly started to learn a new way. She still had four boys to homeschool. She still had food to cook. She still had a blog and a husband and ministries and laundry and housework. But she learned a new way to do it, and the Truth was surprising.
Old Laura started to recognize in a brand new way how much she needed her Savior. She learned that tackling her long to-do list successfully wasn’t really what made her successful. That at the end of the day, nothing really mattered except for love. And that love conquers all – even the laundry piles.
As God helped Old Laura heal from her chronic sin of people-pleasing and hurtful tendencies to worry and over-think, He helped her learn that the only way to truly get through a day successfully was to begin with prayer and time in the Word. Not the “Good morning God, help me get through this day!” kind of desperate prayer spoken on the fly while heading into the kitchen to make a perfectly nourishing breakfast. But the calm and peaceful prayer breathed in and out while sitting humbly in the quiet.
Old Laura died and she started to become New Laura because God completely changed her focus. God taught her that true peace, true calm, and true love only come from surrendering self and seeking Truth. And His Truth could only fill her mind and heart when she spent real time with her Savior – daily.
Time with God could happen while washing dishes and folding clothes and scrubbing toilets. It did happen while in the car on the way to soccer practice with the boys and while reading novels out loud during school time.
But true calm and peace weren’t achieved without first spending as much quiet, alone time as possible each day talking to God and listening for his voice of direction and Truth.
Laura learned that nothing on the to-do list was as important as spending time with God – in His Word and in prayer. Without it, Laura learned that she was not okay.
But the to-do list!
The to-do list remained long, and in fact, it became longer!
God added foster children and adopted children to the family, and with them came caseworker visits, extra phone calls, court dates, appointments, the extra needs of traumatized children, and ultimately, the necessity to learn to juggle all of life while caring for kids from baby to elementary to high school to adult.
More to do = More time with Jesus
As the needs around her grew bigger, and as the to-do list became longer, she discovered that she needed even more time in the Word. Life’s needs were too intense and challenging to even attempt to tackle on her own. Nothing on the to-do list was as important as hearing from God – His voice of Truth in the middle of many storms and trials.
But how is this even possible?
Doesn’t more on the to-do list take even more time than before? Yes, one would think. But New Laura continued to learn about dying to self, seeking His Truth instead of worldly wisdom, and listening for the Spirit’s direction.
And that is how New Laura gets everything completed on her to-do list each day. You see, the to-do list is no longer penned by a person. The to-do list is detailed and directed by the Holy Spirit.
If He doesn’t need it to be done, it doesn’t make the list. And if it’s not on the list, it doesn’t cause anxiety, because well, it didn’t make the list.
The family still eats three times a day. The necessary chores still get done. The dishes get washed. The laundry gets folded. The needs get met.
But New Laura is learning that she is not the one who meets the needs. God meets the needs. And now, in place of fear and worry, there is peace – the kind that can only come from the Spirit who fills a heart and overflows into the home.
New Laura continues to be Renewed Laura. There is no “arriving” on this earth as there is always a need to surrender self and let God refine and heal and stretch and grow.
Oh hi. (New) Laura here.
Thanks for listening. This is getting pretty long, and shucks, I’m not even done yet. :)
I’m sharing all of this because I think it’s important for you to hear that I’ve realized that I am an absolute mess when I don’t spend focused time with God every day. I used to live life doing good and being good and it all seemed good – except for the fact that my heart and mind were always in turmoil as I was striving to BE ALL THE THINGS and DO ALL THE THINGS and HOPE EVERYONE WAS PLEASED WITH IT ALL.
This was not okay. I was not okay.
I realized that I actually need Jesus.
I knew this, but I didn’t really know it, you know?
I never used to really crave time in the Word. I’m not sure why. Because I was too busy?? (Shake my head.) Because I already knew a lot about the Bible? (Yeah, right.) Because I was intimidated by all I didn’t know or understand about the Bible? (Well, there’s that.) The reasons I didn’t make time for it are many.
God changed all of that a few years ago when I found myself in a deep, dark pit. I found that I had to go all-in with Him if I wanted to find healing and Truth to live by. Through that, I discovered that time in the Word, time in surrendered prayer, and time listening to Him are life-changing and life-giving.
So now, because I’ve learned now that I must, and because now I actually crave it, I spend as much time as possible in the quiet, before the family wakes up each morning, drinking coffee, and talking and listening to God. I soak in the Word as nourishment because I’ve found that I truly am not okay otherwise. Without it, my flesh easily takes over and I slip back into worried-mom mode. Shoot, even with it I struggle if I don’t use scripture Truth I’ve learned to fight the lies that the enemy wants me to believe. He’s crafty and he knows my weak places. I must spend time in the Word and in prayer each morning or I truly struggle emotionally and spiritually.
And after I read and talk to God for as long as He allows each morning, I journal. Sometimes just a few words, or sometimes several pages. I do this because I want to write down what He is teaching me and the scriptures He’s bringing to life. Writing it solidifies it, and for me, this brings healing.
So what about you?
One of the biggest reasons I’m sharing all of this with you because I kind of want to beg you to do this. Maybe you already are. If so, I’m so glad. It is life-giving.
If spending time in the Word each day and in prayer is a struggle for you, I understand too well. Old Laura didn’t even really want this because well, she was too busy and focused on doing good things for her family, you know? But I was missing the peace and joy that came from loving my family God’s way.
No matter where you and I are on our journey with Jesus, we can all continue to learn more about listening and walking with Him in humility and fullness of His freedom! So do this. Make yourself do it at first if that’s what it takes. Eventually, you will crave it and find that you can’t live your days without it. :)
If you have babies or crazy work schedules and the logistics don’t allow for quiet time in the morning or ANY time – I want you to know that I understand that too.
But I also want you to know that God wants heart-to-heart time with you. Therefore He will provide it in some way! I know this from experience. :)
Daily time in the Word truly has made the biggest difference.
Dig into the Word and learn more about who He is and what He has to offer!
When we surrender ourselves and let God truly be Lord of our lives, we become incredibly fruitful. That’s why it’s called the “fruit of the Spirit.” His work in us overflows, and it is powerful!!!
So let’s dive in deep together! His work and his ways will astound us all!