I remember a time when I felt very self-conscious living in a foreign country. (Okay, at times I still do!) It seemed I was always drawing unwanted attention to myself. Everything I did was apparently wrong. I made language mistakes. I’d say “thank you” too much or “excuse me” too much. I was too smiley. I didn’t wear the appropriate item for the current weather. And on and on.
During that time, God gave me a truth that I held onto as an anthem. It didn’t make the awkwardness go away, but it gave me strength and courage to go through it.
My anthem for that particular time was, “The Lord is with me.”
On one occasion as I was buying bananas at the market, I couldn’t remember the word for “bunch”. I tried what I thought was the right word, but alas! I looked and felt rather silly trying to communicate my need for 14 or 15 bananas to the fruit lady. You can probably picture it, “Umm, could I have 15 bananas please?” (Weak smile) Somehow, I got my 2 bunches of bananas. While paying for them, I received a phone call from my husband, (in English of course!) which made me feel even more conspicuous. I felt sure I had drawn the attention of the entire market.
As I walked home, my awkwardness and foreign-ness came crashing down on me in a wave of discouragement. I felt embarrassed and not good enough. Just then, my anthem came flooding into my mind, “The Lord is with me”. God Himself was walking with me. The spirit and presence of God Almighty were right there with me! Wow. What did anyone else’s opinion matter?
For quite some time, I repeated those words over and over in my mind. I held onto them as a buoy of hope when I was lonely or discouraged. I carried them in my heart while washing 3 little heads and getting them ready for sleep. Or while doing dishes late at night.
We are the guardians of our hearts. God has told us to keep our hearts with all diligence, for out of them are the issues of life. That’s right…LIFE is at stake here.
It is of utmost importance that the thoughts of our heart be good ones. Life-giving ones.
What are you carrying in your heart today? What is consuming your thoughts?
Perhaps you are carrying some deep pain over someone you love. Perhaps a frustration, or a problem for which there is no ready solution. With life’s many trials, it’s easy for our hearts to take up negative anthems –a complaint about someone else’s behavior, a bitter repetition of what they did wrong, a fear of the future, or a personal inadequacy we repeat over and again to ourselves.
Instead, we need to seek God’s truth for our particular situation. Find an anthem from the Word of God and carry it boldly. Take it to heart. Say it out loud. Think over it in bed at night. Believe it.
Let’s carry courage in our hearts.
P.S. Here are a few of my favorite heart anthems: (Drop one of yours in the comments!)
“Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.” (1 Thes. 5:24)
“Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for You.” (1 Pet. 5:7)
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5)
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee, be not dismayed; for I am thy God.” (Isaiah 41:10)
“Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19)