One night last year, I couldn’t sleep because of a mountain of a problem that was inconveniently dropped on my path a few weeks prior, and I was allowing the matter to steal my peace and joy. After realizing sleep was not on the horizon, I went outside to let my dog use the bathroom.
My dog is an extremely slow bathroom goer. He unapologetically takes his sweet little time. So, I sat down on the steps of my front door, where my eyes were drawn to this black ant walking, what seemed to be, frantically in walking circles. The ant was stuck between two of my large running shoes. (I say large because my feet are big! Go ahead, call me… stompers!)
I observed this ant go in circles, walking in one direction and then pivot with confusion in another direction, only to return to the same direction. As I watched him with the eagle eye view, I thought, “silly ant, walk over my shoes; you can fight gravity, or walk the 4-inches toward the heel of my shoe, and you will be free.” That is when I realized what it must be like to be God watching over us when we frantically try to grab control or try to defeat the mountain that has been dropped in front of us without him. He can see what we cannot see.
Are you trusting yourself more than you trust God?
Similarly is how the person who is not close to our problems can see alternative ways around our obstacle. Sometimes we are too locked into one perspective. The ant was too close to my shoe. He could not figure out how to successfully move the mountain in his way! He needed to calm down, breathe, and think of another way.
At that moment, I realized I was behaving identically to the ant. He was frantically walking around, unable to adapt to the change he was facing, and make up his mind on which direction to go. I was exhibiting the same behavior towards my mountain. I was focusing on the problem and not the solution. I was focusing on overwhelm, not the end result. What was the better choice of focus?
To move, walk over, walk under, walkthrough, or around the
mountain. In perfect unison, as the epiphany overtook me, the ant realized he
was small enough to go under the shoe where there’s a slight rise against the
sole of the shoe and the floor. When I saw the ant walk through the mountain
via the natural tunnel, the shoe and the floor created, I thought, “hmm… I
wonder how many natural tunnels we miss because we too are too frantic,
anxious, and overcome with suffering and hopelessness to see a way around, through,
or move the mountain?”
Right as the ant went through the mountain’s tunnel, my dog had finished his business. We both went inside and off to bed. The next morning, as I took my dog back out to go to the restroom, I saw the shoes, which trigged the memory of the ant as well as the teachings the ant taught me.
The inconvenient mountain that I had given a significant negative meaning and viewed it as a humongous obstacle was probably the same size as the shoe was to the ant. Physically it seems big in comparison to me, but to God, it’s so small, just as the shoe seemed so huge to the ant, but to me, it seemed so effortless to move.
In a way, it was adorable to watch the ant freak out over such a small problem. I remember smiling and chuckling at the ant, thinking, “calm down, little guy – all you need to do is trust me. If you can’t free yourself, I will help you get free.” And, wouldn’t you know it, the little ant found a way out once he stopped moving and (what appeared to have) calmed down.
Isn’t it ironic? I was so confident regarding getting the ant freed from the obstacle that I told him to trust me, yet how many of us don’t trust God in that same situation? God’s declarations in these situations are the same, TRUST ME. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).
Just as I wanted the ant to trust me, God wants you to trust him
with your problems. God is always there to help. “I will never fail
you. I will never abandon you. So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my
helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?'” (Hebrews
Isn’t that life? We frantically and sometimes recklessly search for answers when we feel a huge mountain has been dropped in front of us. Instead, our faith and trust need to be bigger than what is indeed a simple obstacle that only has a meaning that we give it. Problems are just big shoes in our way, barriers that mean only what we tell it to mean.
If we were to calm down in the moments of hopelessness, think of finding the solution, and not giving mental energy into turning the obstacle into a problem with tangled roots of despair. Imagine how much more energy, power, and bandwidth we would have to do what our heart wants and craves to do? Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, what if I am still too afraid to follow my heart?” The best part here is, when you have more bandwidth, we have more energy. When we have more energy, we can address our fears with a little less stress, anxiety, and overwhelm. Everyone is better when their stress and anxiety is minimal!
Next time when you believe a dark, hopeless mountain has been dropped in front of you:
1). Pray to God. Remember, to cast all your cares on to him, for he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
2). Say out loud, multiple times a day: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). I say to say it out loud because it is so vital for your inner ear – your spirit man – to hear you say scripture. Remember, faith comes from hearing, and your spirit man favors your voice!
3). Spend at least 90% of your energy brainstorming solutions or strategies to walk around the obstacle or move the mountain.
What are other ways I can look at this? What is the result I want? What do I have control over that will help me achieve this result? What does trusting God with this mountain look like? What does believing I can move this mountain look like? Ask questions to get you thinking and believing it’s possible! Maybe you need to do this with a coach or whomever your wise counsel is.
When you find yourself focusing on the problem, remind yourself to find the solution. Ask God to help you. He will answer – it might not be when you want, but he will!
Have faith in God and yourself that the answer and hope of light are more significant than the silly running shoe.
“but those who hope
in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah
Go and do it today with FAITH, and CREATE a great day!!