Dave Boon and his family were on their way to a youth group ski trip when an avalanche swept his car over a guardrail. The blast of mountain snow sent the car down the mountain slope, where it was stopped by a tree.
Fortunately, they survived, but Boon said, "The signs say, 'Avalanche Area, No Stopping.' We've driven by there hundreds of times …. But in our wildest dreams, we never imagined getting hit in a car by one."
That's the way it is with our emotions. We can be going along normally when all of a sudden we feel like we are caught in a runaway avalanche—tossed from side to side, unable to get a grip as we ride at the mercy of the forces that surround us. Worst of all, we can't experience the joy and peace God offers us. It seems unattainable, unreachable. How can we get control of our lives again?
We need practical help, something to hold onto and to bring us back into the joy and peace God wants us to have. The next time you feel that you are in a runaway avalanche, look at the following list to identify and counteract the root of your discouragement, fear, anger, or stress.
1. I have forgotten who God is. God is sufficient for everything I am facing. He is the answer to all my fears.
Pray: Lord, I realize if you do not take away my problem it's because you have a higher purpose for me. You delight in my well-being. You are a great and loving God. Lord, I surrender _____________ to you now.
2. I'm not living in the here and now, but instead am focused on the future or the past. Often, we focus on the future or past because there is something we need to do today that we don't want to do. It can be as small as taking a nap, taking a walk, or having a difficult conversation with someone. What do I need to do today? If it seems overwhelming, what is one small step I can take?
Pray: Lord, you are the only one who knows the future, and I cannot change the past. I can only ask for, receive, and count on your forgiveness, and trust you to "repay [me] for the years the locusts have eaten" (Joel 2:25).
3. I believe lies. I need to read the Bible so that I can distinguish between what is true and what is a lie.
Pray: Lord, remind me of your truth, which is the only thing that can give me your peace and joy.
4. I have unrealistic expectations of my circumstances, myself, or others, or I'm too focused on what others expect from me.
Pray: Help me to remember Lord, that my thoughts have two sources. One at times feels true, but it's a lie—accusing or condemning, full of "shoulds" and "oughts" that produce fear or guilt. But your truth is sweet, gentle, and freeing, though at times hard to grasp and believe. Your truth is spoken in your great love.
5. I am ignoring feelings of worry, anxiety, discouragement, offense, injury, rejection, disappointment, fear, anger, or self-pity instead of dealing with them.
Pray: Thank you, Lord, for your gift of emotions, even the negative ones. Thank you for the window my emotions provide into my thoughts and beliefs. Thank you that you "pay attention to my groaning" (Ps. 5:1, NLT). Please help me to be as open and honest with you as David was in his psalms. Surely "you will hear [my] cries and comfort" me (Ps. 10:17, NLT).
6. I am making comparisons with others. Instead, what can I choose to be thankful for or praise God for?
Pray: Thank you, Lord, for your great and amazing mercy towards me. Thank you that whenever I doubt your love for me, I only need remember the Cross. Thank you for loving me and giving your life for me.