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Karen Estep explains the importance of stepping back to make sure you have the right tools for battle.  

I tend to live my life the way I came into this world. I entered into the world when I was good and ready and then I entered into it as quickly as possible. I was about a week past my due date but as soon as I was ready, boy was I ready. My mom went into labor and then I was in the world one and a half hours later. This is kind of my life trend.  

I always seem to take my time deciding if I am really ready to do anything. I am also terribly indecisive. I make pro and con lists until the cows come home and then still can’t decide. Until … I decide and then I want everything to fall into place right then and right there. Often, well more like 100% of the time, that is just simply not how it works!  

I made a pretty big life-changing decision recently. It will change a lot for my family, not only with where I will be working but also with our financial situation. I am going from being a public-school educator to working in a Catholic high school. I made mock monthly budgets, a huge pros and cons list, spoke with family and friends, prayed, went to adoration, prayed some more, read Scriptures, did Lectio Devina, and still couldn’t fully determine whether I was making a good choice. In the end, it is the right move; however, it comes with a future that makes me uncertain. Which in turn is causing me a bit of anxiety.  




When I talked to my best friend about this anxiety, she shared something she'd seen on Instagram. It was a post about how Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego didn’t pray to get out of the furnace, Daniel didn’t pray to get out of the lion’s den, and David didn’t pray to get out of fighting Goliath: they all prayed to get through it with God. Her telling me this, me hearing it, we both felt the Holy Spirit talking to us that night. I was praying for God to just take my anxiety away, I wasn’t asking for help through it.  

As we were talking, I wandered back to the story of David and Goliath. I remembered that Saul had tried to give David armor and weapons to take down Goliath, but that David could not move in this armor from the King. (Thank you, Veggie Tales!) Then I recalled that the Bible says David carefully picked out five smooth stones from a brook. I realized in that moment that maybe God was calling me to go pick out my figurative five smooth stones. 




You see, I had been trying to tackle this anxiety on my own for a few weeks. At first, I let myself dwell in it, and I kind of had several pity parties. Plus, it was Lent and I think for several of us this Lent was a very “Lenty Lent.”  Then, I just wanted this anxiety gone and it needed to be gone like yesterday. The problem was that I had been trying to tackle it with my normal coping mechanisms which happen to be wasting time on social media, procrastinating, and avoiding working through things.

None of these “armors” I had been using seemed to fit, and because I was doing really nothing to help myself, I was just making matters worse. I needed to step back and go find the right tools, my figurative five stones, to help me slay this Goliath of anxiety. 

Do I currently know what these five smooth stones are? No, not really. However, I know that God is calling me to not rely on just myself and my typical delay to action but then rush to want something done immediately. I can hear the Holy Spirit calling me out and telling me that I need more patience. I cannot try to tackle this problem in my usual rush to just finish it. I need to pay attention to the details. And of course, I need to remind myself that I have been called to this and called to go through this with God.  


David put his hand into the bag and took out a stone, hurled it with the sling, and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone embedded itself in his brow, and he fell on his face to the ground. (1 Samuel 17:49)


David needed only one carefully cultivated, smooth stone, but he had to take the time to look for that one stone. In the end, he slayed the giant. I am so glad he looked for the details instead of rushing in with armor that would not work.

This seemingly tiny detail of David going to pick out five smooth stones should teach us a lot. I know I am learning to ask for God to help me through things, not just out of things, and that rushing to finish something (good or bad) is probably not the best plan of action. I need to look at the details, collect the right tools, and have faith that God is with me in every Goliath situation.  


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Copyright 2024 Karen Estep
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