As he talked, I wasn't as focused on despair as I was focused on the fact that there were sins I didn't even know about. I was an adult at this time, and I was shocked that I probably had been sinning in many more ways than I realized.
I thought that sins were basically tied neatly inside the Ten Commandments, and anything outside of that wasn't sin.
It changed my way of thinking about sin completely.
Despair is a lack of trust in God. Despair reveals that our faith in our Creator is conditional. And I must be honest to tell you, I am so faith-less at times. I'm not proud of it.
Well, as I type this, I am filled with worry. I've been consumed with it for weeks. Maybe I've been consumed with it my entire life, or at least my adult life.
What I've known is this: worry robs me of joy, peace, contentment, life, love and so much more. Worry is a tool of the enemy to steal my focus from the God who provides, the God of enough, the God of grace and mercy. And instead my focus becomes the issues, the problems, the situations in life that inevitably arise.
Before my race, I worried about dying, not finishing, sleeping too late, wearing the wrong shoes, chafing, falling and so many other things. I spent the race telling a perfect stranger (whom I met and ran with the entire time) about all the things I had worried about. By the time I said, "I worried" for the 100th time, I realized she must really think I'm crazy. I also realized how much of a focus worry has become in my life.
You'd think I would have learned after that.
But then I was planning a short trip away from home with the kids. I can't even tell you all the things I've worried about for this trip. I can just tell you that I'd probably be better off at home instead of worrying about all of this stuff. But then the enemy would rob me of time away with my kids and family.
I don't have all the answers. I don't have this problem squared away. And most days I forget what to do as my stomach churns with fear and anxiety.
But God. He whispers to me. He speaks in the midnight hour (literally) reminding me to call His name. He reminds me to trust Him. He reminds me to speak His Word. He reminds me that He will supply all my needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. He reminds me of Psalm 91.
The enemy is relentless at times. Attempts to distract me are as constant as machine-gun fire. There are more moments of weakness right now where I let those worries, doubts and fears creep in. And then there are moments when I trust Him completely...because I have nothing left...but to trust Him.
If you worry, if you doubt and if you fear, remember that God didn't give you those fears and those worries. They come from the enemy of your soul and mine. The devil is a liar and the father of lies. He wants only to steal, kill and destroy all those who were made in the image of God.
But God. He wins. Jesus paid the debt for us so that we would have an everlasting, abundant life.
So today, take hold of the promises of God. Every time you worry, remind yourself of what God says about you. Remind yourself that "God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind..." 2 Tim 1:7.
Repeat it. Over and over. Until you confidently believe it and stand in faith until you see God do the impossible in your life.