Ann Spangler

Ann Spangler is an award-winning writer and speaker.

Don't Shrink Back

A woman flexing her arm musclesSometimes I feel like the incredible shrinking woman. Some big, hairy problem comes stomping onto the scene, and I feel too tiny to stand up to it. Instead of holding my ground, confident that God is with me and will never abandon me, I start looking for the exits. But often there are none. And I, little person that I am, have to stay in place and learn how to trust God in the midst of my difficulties.

When it comes to facing up to trouble, many of us are experienced escape artists. But when escape is not an option, we may be tempted to try other strategies, taking refuge in things that promise to soothe or counter our pain. Here are a few of my own favorite strategies: eating, buying, blaming, complaining. Funny that none of these ever bring me real peace. Sure, brownies are soothing, but they don’t stop me from worrying. Buying things works for a little while, until the novelty of the latest purchase wears off. And blaming and complaining just spread the misery.

So what does help? Here are a few simple things from my list: (1) having a regular prayer time; (2) talking things over with friends and asking for prayer; (3) interceding for others, which takes my mind off myself; (4) using the wisdom God gives to deal with the problem at hand; (5) time, since some problems can only be dealt with by outlasting them; (6) doing everything with as much faith as I can muster.

Even if you have only a little faith, decide to put it to work. To grow strong, faith needs exercise, much like a muscle that grows larger when it’s challenged. The next time a big, hairy problem comes stomping onto the scene, resist the temptation to run. Instead, face it with the faith you have, asking God to reveal his power through you.


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