I step onto the trail behind our home early one morning. The grass is still wet from sprinklers, the birds just starting to greet each other for the day, the bullfrogs around the pond sitting like sleepy sentries on the shore. I love the quiet of this time but my mind is loud and crowded with concerns and worries.
I ask questions that I imagine you’re asking too. What’s going to happen? How long will this last? What does the future hold? I don’t know the answers and God seems silent this morning. So I do the only thing I can: take one step forward, then another, and another. I pray as I do—messy, frustrated, confused prayers.
I think of one of my favorite Psalms, one I’d just reread in bed that morning. “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!” (Psalm 42:5 NLT) Can you relate to those words too?
I’d not looked at this Psalm in awhile and I became curious about how it ends. I was surprised to find the last verse is exactly the same as the one above, “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!” (Psalm 42:11).
I expected a neat bow tied around a truth, a restoration of confidence and certainty, a revelation that now everything would be different. But, no, the Psalmist still had the same questions. This is comforting to me right now in a season where so many questions don’t seem to have answers. It’s helpful to know that uncertainty doesn’t equal a lack of faith or trust.
What does the Psalmist do in the face of unanswered questions? He makes a choice. “I will put my hope in God…I will praise Him again.” One of the hardest parts of not knowing what’s ahead is that it makes us feel powerless. But that’s only an illusion. We can still choose our response.
Months ago on an overwhelming day when the news just seemed to be getting worse, I wrote a phrase on a piece of paper and put it on my desk where I could see it often. It said simply, “God is in control, and I am in charge.”
That is what we need to know when life is uncertain. God is still in control. He has not forgotten us. We have not been abandoned. He is with us, for us, working on our behalf even now. We can trust Him no matter what happens. He has also given us stewardship of our everyday lives—what we do with our energy and emotions, resources and relationships. We are not helpless. We can all ask ourselves like the Psalmist, “What will I do today?”
As an introvert, I find I need solitude to answer that question, which is why I went to the trail that morning. When life is noisy and the world chaotic, I can’t hear my soul or the whisper of God. We can look at solitude as selfish but it’s a sacred act of service. It’s what empowers us to keep moving forward, loving well, being brave, making wise choices.
Solitude can be hard to find, so as a life coach and counselor I recommend people schedule it into their day, even if it’s just a few moments. This can look like putting solitude on your calendar or creating a rhythm that lets you incorporate it into your life.
For example, fellow introvert, former Fixer Upper star, and entrepreneur Joanna Gaines says, “For an introvert like me, being alone for any amount of time recharges me. In the midst of a busy day I’ll sit in my car for a few extra minutes before coming inside just to enjoy a few minutes of rest or silence before jumping into whatever’s next.” All of us, introverts or extroverts, need at least a little solitude in our lives. And the busier we are, the more essential it becomes.
As I complete my route on the trail I, like the Psalmist, still have the same questions. But I feel calmer inside. I remember that even when I don’t know what the future, there is a mighty God who holds me.
I will put my hope in Him.
I will praise Him again.
Thank you, Holly, for this timely post. I needed to hear this today. I like what you say- God is in control and I’m in charge. A wise lady once said to me just do the next thing that’s in your hand. I find this to be true in every aspect of life. I often want Him to be the light for my path, when He wants to be the lamp for my feet. Learning to appreciate each small step. Bless you!
Linda Wilson says
When I first read your post and read God is in control and I am in charge I thought it was a misprint! I thought how can I be in charge but he is in control. But then I thought it is a choice for me that he gives me. How I react and my actions, thoughts and responses are mine to make.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I love reading the words of the psalmist, David. He asks many of the questions that are on our hearts…”Why am I so sad? Why am I so discouraged?” He vocalizes our humanity in the midst of suffering and trials. Yet, he makes the conscious choice to put his hope in the Lord and to praise Him. That’s a huge step. The great thing about God is that He offeres us assistance in putting our hope in the Lord. All we have to do is call upon the strength of Jesus living inside us. Through HIM we can do all things. Joining with you in continuing to put one foot in front of the other and do the next best thing at hand. I’m looking around and there are still MANY blessings for which I can praise Him – first and foremost is praise that He is in control and He is victorious in the end.
Blessings from a sister introvert who loves her solitude,
Kellie Johnson says
Solitude is necessary to hear from God and allow time for truths from His word to soak in, at least for me. My need to have solitude, nearly daily, may seem selfish or strange to some, but it’s a necessary piece of life if I’m to settle in the fact that sometimes, there are just more questions than answers. We are all wired uniquely but I am thankful for the quiet when it comes.
It is a blessing to spend time with your words this morning.
M @ In Beautiful Chaos says
That’s one of my favorite Psalms:) I can so relate to needing times of solitude, especially during these chaotic times! Thank you for this post today!
Beth Williams says
Your words resonate so with me. My hubby & I have loud, noisy, stressful jobs at hospital-(CT him) (ICU Step down clerical). After his 3-4 long days he is ready for solitude. He needs much time alone to calm down & just relax. Our world has gotten noisier & more confusing. People get confused & discouraged with all the busyness & noisy of our world today. They don’t take time for themselves. Bonnie Gray wrote a book “Spiritual White Space”. She talks about putting margin in your daily lives. Each of us introvert or extrovert needs to set aside time to be alone with God. Just you & Him. That will recharge your batteries & help you to think more wisely. He will give you the answers you are seeking. All of us need to make it a practice to praise God for All He’s done/given us. Thank Him for being there & willingly going to the cross for you.
Ann O'Malley says
Luke 5:15-16: “Crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” It was such a blessing the first time I really noticed that little word “often” in this verse. If Jesus often left those who came to Him for help, if He withdrew from them in order to spend time alone with God, then who am I to think that my to-do list is so important that I can’t get away by myself on a regular basis? Who am I to think that I have the strength to continue giving to others without needing to take time to recharge my own batteries, as Jesus did?
As an introvert, I get frustrated with the message, even from my Christian brothers and sisters, that solitude is selfish and that I have to justify taking time to be alone. Thank you for addressing this issue.