Have you ever been in a time where your troubles are so big, so insurmountable, that you panic? I’ll be honest, I’m really good at panicking. It’s my go-to response to big-deal issues in life. Fear is absolutely my most natural response to tough situations.
Here’s my problem. I am in the habit of comparing the size of my problems with the breath of my own strength and resources. And every time I come the the same conclusion: This is impossible. This situation will defeat me. What is truly happening when I do this is what Paul David Tripp calls spiritual amnesia (BTW, read everything you can by this man). I’m forgetting my true identity as God’s beloved child. When I allow my worldview to be reduced to me against the world, the result is fear and panic.
As a special needs parent, I am often faced with issues that seem insurmountable. Daily, I face challenges related to Preston’s ADHD and high functioning autism, in addition to decisions about his health and special diet. Recently, our family went through some major trauma. Our community was impacted by both the Thomas Fire and the mudslides in Montecito, CA. In both of these situations we were evacuated, and especially with the mudslides we witnessed a lot of frightening things happening around us. Our home was only 100 yards away from the slide and our street was badly damaged. Having a child who thrives on routine try to function in a time of chaos was beyond challenging.
In the midst of this, we all got the flu. Afterwards Preston’s behavior rapidly deteriorated due to an autoimmune response to the virus called PANDAS.
I’ll share with you that this time has not one of my finer moments. I stood in the middle of this life storm, feeling traumatized, depleted, and frankly, freaked out. I panicked. I didn’t handle any of this with strength or dignity. Why? Because I forgot that I am a child of God.
In my most recent book Bible Promises for Parents of Children with Special Needs, I focus in the promises we can claim to help us find hope for our daily lives. Let the promises below soak in for a minute . . .
So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. Ephesians 1:6-8
For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 1 John 5:4
Spiritual amnesia makes me forget that I am God’s child. I am the beneficiary of God’s kindness and his wisdom and understanding. I also forgot that my storm is a puny gust of wind compared with the strength and power of my heavenly Father. A word from his lips can transform the swirling seas to calm waters.
What if I looked at my life this way? What if, like David, I looked at the giants of my life and declared “I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies!” (1 Samuel 17:45) What if I looked at my life through the lense of God’s awesome character and unlimited resources? I think the answer is, I’d discover courage. How does remembering I belong to God produce courageous living?
I am showered with God’s kindness - therefore I am the recipient of all God has to offer me which is more than I could ever need or want.
I am forgiven - therefore I can face my problems with confidence that God’s righteousness will prevail.
I am showered with God’s wisdom and understanding - therefore I don’t have to have all the answers because I walk with the one who does.
The end result of the lives of God’s children is victory - therefore I can walk into the battle feeling fully confident that ultimately the win will come by God’s strength and power.
What storms are you facing? What giants taunt you and threaten to reduce you to fear and trembling? This key to living a courageous life is remembering who God is. Remembering who you are. You are God’s child. Chosen. Showered with kindness and access to his wisdom and understanding and the promised victor of the battle.
“David walked into that valley because he had his identity clear and won a victory because he knew what he had been given . . . May God give you grace to remember your identity as his child in those moments when remembering is essential.” --Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional