I remember the first time my little boy looked at me and told me he was worried. He was four years old. Four! What in the world did a little boy who was in his car seat on his way to the store with his Mom have to worry about? He let me know that he was worried that we would get lost.. I don’t know how that idea popped into his head, but I asked him if getting lost would be a bad thing and he assured me, “Yes, Mommy, that would be very bad.” I’m glad I immediately recognized this as a Teachable Moment.
In asking my little guy “why” getting lost would be so very bad, he let me know that getting lost was scary and no one should ever be lost. My response to him was, “You are feeling worried; you believe that it is a bad thing to get lost. But honey, in our family, if we get lost, we call it an adventure.” At the time, I didn’t realize how life changing that discussion was, not only for him, but also for me.
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another” (sayingimages.com). Stress happens to everyone, even our children. We have to help them navigate it. I have no other response to stress, but to tell myself and my children a different truth than the one we’re currently experiencing. We change “lost” into “going on an adventure.”
Scripture says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:8). No matter the situation that brings stress to life, bring a whatever thought to counter it.
Whatever is the one word in scripture that reflects a totality of commitment to having what we believe transform our everyday experiences; it’s the best response to stress. Don’t run from the tension that results from whatever – instead, press into it with truth.
- Mary, Jesus’ mother, told the workers at Cana to do “whatever” Jesus told them to do; they were to believe what Jesus said and then do it. Without hesitancy or question. Wow – Mom – what a tense situation. But – voila – we have Jesus’ first miracle as the wedding planners pressed into their whatever.
- Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.” My entire day is filled with things to do from brushing my teeth to speaking on the radio. Whatever it is, in private or in public, my whole Christ-absorbed heart should be fully engaged. In whatever I’m doing, I must try to live my life everyday with my heart on the line, which brings a purpose and passion to my everyday existence.
- A favorite “whatever” of min is found in Phil. 1:27. “Whatever” happens, I am always to conduct myself in a manner worthy of the Gospel of God. This all-in, all-the-time awareness that I represent my God who died for me before a watching world is stressful, for every believer I imagine. But, I don’t want to miss one of my whatevers. I want the world to see my God in me and to show my God how grateful I am for the gospel He has provided.
As I was driving my son to the store that fateful day many years ago, I am grateful that I remembered that whatever we do as a family, we are to do to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). Whether we get lost or not, and with me as the driver let’s be honest, we could definitely get lost. But when we admit our tension and respond to it with a whatever thought, we engage our hearts to live a life that shows radical obedience to Christ that is worthy of the gospel and brings glory to God. Life becomes the adventure God intends for all of us. Tension does not draw us away from God; rather, it is our whatever moment that draws us back to Him.
Dear Reader, what will stress you out today? Where do you hold tension? Whatever it is, choose a whatever thought (there are 173 verses in scripture that speak to whatever) and turn your tension into an adventure in which God meets you at every turn, whether you get lost along the way or not. Go do it – I know you can!
Blessings to your whatever moments. I can hardly wait to see what God has in store for each of us and our families today.
Fondly yours – always, Elizabeth