Encouragement for Today - June 7, 2006
Encouragement for Today
Van Walton, Director of Hispanic Ministries, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
Proverbs 16:9, “The mind of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (NASB)
When was the last time you found yourself at your wit’s end? Maybe we can relate to each other because I have been there many times in my life.
Once I stole a dollar from my mother, so I could treat my entire first grade class to doughnuts. That was when classes were small and a dollar bought 20 doughnuts! When my mother arrived after school, Mrs. Nash thanked her for the generous snack. Of course, Mother was clueless. Both women turned their curious faces toward me, and I found myself at my wit’s end!
I cheated on a test because I chose not to study. It seems many of us in the class made the same decision – to play instead of prepare. We hatched a plan in the hallway before class. Days later, the teacher called us to his desk and exposed our crime. We collectively stared at our feet, and I found myself at my wit’s end!
The day started badly. My husband was out of town. The children dragged themselves from their bed to the bathroom and then down the stairs. Meanwhile, the phone rang, and I talked longer than I should have. Grabbing granola bars and juice boxes, I herded the boys to the car. Then I returned to the kitchen to retrieve keys, purse, and list. A glance at the clock reminded me that time had not stopped! Late again. Shame on me. Eventually, I reached the main road and relief set in. Maybe I could make it. It was then I simultaneously heard the siren and saw the flashing blue light. I pulled my car over and found myself at my wit’s end!
In addition to getting ready to leave town on vacation, I had volunteered at the church to help with landscaping. My preoccupied mind took over as I arrived home from the church, forgetting about the packed car-top carrier strapped on the roof of my mini-van. Consequently, I took out the garage door with it! Hearing a strange crunching noise, I stepped out of my car. In slow motion I sank to the cold concrete floor and put my unbelieving head in my hands. I was at my wit’s end!
There have been other circumstances in my life that took me to my wit’s end: A son’s repeated bad grades; a student’s persistent poor choices, decisions that might be life altering; unreturned phone calls; doctors’ inability to perform miracles, etc.
I have felt trapped, cornered, desperate, exhausted, and exposed all because I had reached my wit’s end.
Being at my wit’s end does not feel good, so I am working to keep from going there. With God’s Word as my guide, I can honestly say that it has been a while since I visited my wit’s end. Here are tips that have helped me avoid wit’s end.
ü Slow down – Plan out my day so I’m not rushing. Learn to say “no.”
ü Think – Before I act, consider the consequences.
ü Do the right thing – Realize that some choices inevitably lead to trouble.
ü Prepare – Think ahead. If a particularly busy week is upon me, be flexible, change my schedule, accomplish some tasks earlier.
ü Drop the pride – Use sticky notes as reminders. Keep one on the dashboard as a reminder to drive under the speed limit.
ü Control the pressure – Pressure and stress build-up with each added activity. I need to be wise and understand my limitations.
It is true that some circumstances are entirely out of our control, and sometimes we find ourselves at our wit’s end through no fault of our own. I have also learned that wit’s end can be a good place to be. God allows us to reach our wit’s end, so we can experience His restorative work that eventually exceeds all expectations.
Freddy, a handsome young man, stepped into myplace.com, a popular on-line gathering place for teens. He met a girl and became entangled in a strange relationship. His mother, a godly woman, wisely asked questions, attempting to guide her son, but he would have none of her discernment. The “secret” girl hooked her guy, and Freddy felt powerless to walk away. He was infatuated with an image – not reality. The situation became addictive, as the girl grew more illusive. Friends rallied to pray. Private investigators searched, making background checks. All the while, my dear friend watched her son spiral down into a deep trap.
Then one day a crack appeared, and true to His Word, God began a work that exceeded all expectations. Not only did Freddy see the light and the folly of his youthful choices, but his friends realized the sometimes dangerous allure of the internet. What man meant for evil, God used for good. Today several young men, who will be going off to college in the fall, have a healthy fear and understanding of Satan’s tactics. They learned important lessons. Parents who were once at their wit’s end, through no fault of their own, experienced God’s intervention and now have a deeper faith and trust in a God who answers prayers.
The next time you find yourself at your wit’s end, remember:
“My wit’s end = opportunity for God’s work to exceed all expectations.”
My Prayer for Today:
Father, sometimes I have to admit that life has gotten out of control. More often than not, I feel like a wild woman losing her grip. Please help me to be wise with my decisions. I want to be a dignified woman, not a defeated woman. At the end of each day I want to be able to laugh at life and hold my head high. I ask You to help me overcome this weakness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Review the above mentioned check list. Plan to use it so “wit’s end” will not be a place you often visit.
Do I find myself too often overwhelmed or preoccupied?
What steps do I need to take so that I can control my choices instead of allowing ‘life” to control me?
Can I ask some trusted friend or family member to step into accountability with me to help me change my ways?
1 Kings 3:11-12, “So God said to him, ‘Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment…will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart.’ ” (NIV)
Proverbs 16:3, “Put GOD in charge of your work, then what you've planned will take place.” (MSG)
James 4:6, “But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’" (ESV)
Who Holds the Keys to Your Heart? by Lysa TerKeurst
Becoming a Woman who Listens to God, by Sharon Jaynes
What Happens when Women Walk in Faith, by Lysa TerKeurst
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