It was a particularly difficult month at work because of numerous firefights going on, not having enough staffing on my team, and dealing with personnel issues that were taking up a huge part of my time. On top of that, my wife and I were in the process of closing on a house and all the preliminary actions required for that.
I was definitely feeling
overwhelmed, defeated, and
wanting to throw in the towel.
I saw how it affected me outside of work by being less engaged and connected at home, not spending adequate time in the Word and prayer, and being more short-fused with my responses to Brittany. It wasn’t a very Christ-like attitude in any way. It got to the point where I felt so distant from God because of the stress and anxiety I was facing. It really forced me to call out to the Lord and just cry out for help! I am so glad the Lord responds in the way He does because that following week, he revealed some truth in scripture that pointed out exactly what I needed to change about my outlook on life.
I was studying from the book of Philippians during my quiet time and came across this passage of scripture that is so familiar but had new meaning for me just because of one word:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. | Philippians 4:4-13
I had to think long and hard about this passage, because it was extremely convicting. I realized I had been basing my faithfulness (or lack thereof) on what was going on around me.
I just thought circumstances was such an interesting word and was thinking about the etymology around it. Circumstance comes from the Latin word “circum,” which means “around,” and “stare,” which means “to stand.” So, in the simplest terms, it meant “to stand around.” It is the same place where “circa” comes from when referring to an approximate date, or “circumcision,” which is to “cut around.” The dictionary definition of what it means to us today is “a fact or condition connected with or relevant to an event or action.”
Looking at the way I was responding
in my own life, I realized my faith
was very dependent on what was
happening around me at the moment.
I may have not struck a deal with God and laid out terms and conditions that said, “Lord, if everything works out the way I plan it to be and I don’t have to deal with any problems or issues in of life, I will be faithful to you,” but my life was showing otherwise.
Check in next time with Despite the Circumstances | Part 2, where we talk about how Paul responded to each of the challenges that came his way and how we should adjust our spiritual walk accordingly!