NEYSA NOVAK | GUEST
Have you ever felt like the pressure from life has pushed you to a breaking point? As women, we tend to have a lot on our plate. Many of us care deeply for those around us. We raise children, work hard, and are involved in our communities. Balancing all these demands can be hard, but if you add in strained relationships, it can feel impossible. Outside of Eden, the struggle is real.
I once found myself in what felt like a hopeless situation and chose my own way.
On the Run from God
I’m a public high school guidance counselor and work stress was taking a toll on me. In addition, my three kids played on three different sport teams, I’m a pastor’s wife, and a women’s ministry leader. One Saturday evening, my husband and I got into an argument—it’s classic spiritual warfare before the Sunday sermon. But I took the bait and came out of the argument feeling like he didn’t appreciate my efforts at church.
The next morning, I woke up early before the rest of my family and instead of praying, decided to go to a coffee shop to do some work. I know that willful disobedience to God never goes well, so I don’t know why I found working on the Sabbath so appealing. I thought that if I could just get one hour of work in, I would feel better about my situation. I soon discovered that the entire student information system was shut down. This never happens without notice. My plans to work were thwarted, so I decided to go to a park instead. I thought it would be peaceful to sit in the car and shut my eyes for a few minutes of quiet. I heard worship music and realized I had parked near an outdoor worship service. Psalm 139:7 says, “Where shall I go from your spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” God reminded me that I can’t escape Him.
I should have repented and headed home to ride with my family to Sunday School, but I was frustrated and didn’t want to give in; I found myself in a battle of my will. I then decided that what I really needed was a bath. My husband’s car was still in the driveway, so I circled the house three times until they left. Each time I circled the house, I was more resolved to have my own way. I then went into the house and started the bath, but there was no hot water. This had never happened! I boiled water to make a hot bath, but it was to no avail. It was useless. My anger increased; I was mad not only at my husband, but also at God. Why wouldn’t God let me have a moment of comfort for myself? Psalm 139:5: “You hem me in behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.” God reminded me that He would keep me exactly where I was supposed to be and that I can only find comfort with Him. I laid on my bed in defeat. I lost my battle with the Lord. I pulled myself together and headed to church.
What’s the point of the story? It’s not: go to Sunday School or else you’ll frustrate yourself and have a cold bath. It’s much deeper than that; I needed to repent of trying to be God. I am part of Parakaleo, a ministry for church planting wives, and we have a tool called “The Omni’s.” The tool taught me how to see God and myself. Only God is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. That Sunday morning, I tried to be all those things and failed miserably. I tried to be omnipresent. Work had been rough; I could have delegated more to my intern. My kid’s schedule was packed; I could have asked my husband and friends for help. Ministry had been busy, and I had no limits at church. Every yes took a toll on me. I’m grateful for all the opportunities that God has given me, but I also need to practice discernment in my commitments.
I also tried to be omniscient. I woke up that Sunday morning feeling unappreciated and thought that if I did not help in the morning, my husband would see how much he relies on me. I thought I knew what was best. I also wanted to be omnipotent. I wanted to be Queen of the Sabbath. If the student information system had not been shut down, I could have gotten a little work done, would have felt better, and still made it to Sunday School. But God was intent to show me that He was not only Lord of the Sabbath, but also Lord of my life. No matter how hard I run, or how hard I fight, He is Lord. Not because He is a cruel Father; rather, He wants better for me. He wants me to abide in Him and know in my soul that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. Even in the most intense seasons of life where pressure seems insurmountable, He is with me.
A few days after my battle with the Lord, I saw a sticky note on my computer with Psalm 139:5, 7 written on it. The week prior, I had sent texts messages of those verses to encourage my friends who were struggling. When I read the verses again, God showed me how I lived them out that past Sunday. It comforted me to realize that His Word was not just for my friends but for me as well. The Word of the Lord is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword. And it reminded me that He alone is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.
So, what did I learn that Sunday morning? Rather than run from Him, I learned to run to Him.
Photo by Artem Kovalev on Unsplash