Overwhelm. I think that’s my word so far for 2022. Last year began as a year of weary, needing change. My husband was jobless. We lived in a one-bedroom apartment with our toddler. My work was remote, and our lifestyle was very limited. But this year the changes are hitting me hard.
None of these changes are bad, or even negative. My husband found a job with a fantastic company. We bought our first house. Both of us returned to in-person work. The possibilities grow every day.
But they have finally shaken my world enough that I’m honestly afraid of where God is leading me.
I am frozen, suspended in motion. And panicking a little bit. You know the feeling: where you go through the everyday routine, but may not be mentally taking on any new information. I’m not in a fight or flight response, but I’m not far off.
The latest change has done that. I cannot move on to planning mode because I’m mired in one more change that I did not plan for my life. God is no longer asking, but prodding me forward. Out of my comfort zone and into a spotlight of sorts.
But in my plan, I’m not ready. I was happy with my simple, quiet routine. Life was slowing down for us. But I guess we don’t get that right now.
I am afraid. I’ve had weeks to mull over this newest change. And all I have is fear.
I could say no. I could keep my normal. But where is the obedience in that? Part of the change already happened, regardless of me. But the other part requires a response from me. Will I step out? Do I dare? Is this the right choice? For me? For my family? For our context? For our Lord?
Here I am. Back where I started. Overwhelmed again.
I first heard “Out of the Deep I Call” on a CD from my sister’s college collection about fifteen years ago. It stuck with me this whole time. And often portrays the journey my feelings take me on better than my own words: Recognition that I cannot do this on my own. Asking the Lord’s forgiveness when I try alone. Falling on my face to once again revere the Lord Almighty. Undeserved mercy, given freely by my Abba Father.
W. Baker wrote this hymn in 1868. I find comfort that people have been going through this cycle of submission to God for ages. At least I am not alone.
Out of the deep I call
To Thee, O Lord, to Thee.
Before Thy throne of grace I fall;
Be merciful to me.
Out of the deep I cry,
The woeful deep of sin,
Of evil done in days gone by,
Of evil now within;
Out of the deep of fear
And dread of coming shame;
All night till morning watch is near
I plead the precious name.
Lord, there is mercy now,
As ever was, with Thee.
Before Thy throne of grace I bow;
Be merciful to me.
The value of naming my fear cannot be overstated. It takes away the unknown and helps me recognize how to move forward. Because in my fear, I know the One who holds it all. My Abba Father hears me. I can give my fear, my anxiety, my plans to him. He knows. Not only that, but He created the plan that never stays the way I anticipate.
Perhaps you’re feeling like me this year. Perhaps you need a good listener to hear you name your fear. Someone who will not only hear, but possibly even suggest a next step so you may surrender that fear to God and find freedom there. If you are in this place, please reach out to a good listener, friend. It could be a trusted friend, a pastor, a counselor, or simply a call out to the Lord. I find comfort in knowing he lovingly hears every word: Even while I am still afraid, slowly letting go of my latest expectations to make way for His glorious plan. Even as I continue grasping while God gently plucks my fingers off my plan. He meets me here and gives me hope for tomorrow.
– Leah Honnen is Copy Editor for Illinois Baptist media.