Over the weekend, I woke up a number of mornings with a sore jaw and sensitive teeth. I finally realized I must be grinding my teeth in my sleep. Ugh! I haven’t done that for years.

shadow boxingTaking time to think about it, I realized I’m stressing about an upcoming meeting. I cope fine with direct attacks or specific roadblocks. In those situations, I make my plans and ready for the fight. But this? It feels like I’m shadow-boxing, turning this way and that, trying to avoid an attack, trying to prepare an offense, all with no specific opponent clearly in sight. There has been no attack, no specific dissatisfaction voiced, no direct opposition. There are only innuendo, vague comments, and possible displeasure, all voiced with concern, stated in terms of “someone said…”

I HATE feeling like I’m at the mercy of others, especially ones who don’t seem to be willing to take responsibility for their own thoughts, concerns and feelings by talking to me directly.


Then I was reminded that I am NOT at the mercy of others—I’m under the mercy of God. On the one hand that is a comfort. My God is bigger than any obstacle or roadblock. He is the one who protects me from unknown assailants. I can stop shadow-boxing and let Him hold on to me.

On the other hand, God is not physically with me. I can’t SEE Him protecting me or working on my behalf. It’s easy to have faith when life is good. And when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I usually turn to God. It’s hard to have faith when I’m feeling strong but under attack…

handsGod works hard to catch my attention during those times that I’m independently readying for battle. The same day I realized what was happening and why my jaw was so sore, I had two encounters that were greatly encouraging. One was a person that has a vision for work which might end up being mutually beneficial with things we want to be doing. Another was a conversation with a few young men who gave me excellent ideas for resources and possible funding sources for future ministry in this area.

So…I guess I will try hard to stop the shadow-boxing; remember often that God really IS taking care of the details. I will unclench my fists and reach out for HIS help.  And maybe, just maybe, I will stop grinding my teeth in my sleep. It would sure be nice to get rid of this jaw-pain…


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