Do you ever feel like you are in a pattern of ‘not again’? Something happens and it’s hard! Losing a job, car trouble, failure in one form or another? That’s exactly where my husband and I found ourselves. Let me start from the beginning…
Imagine two newlyweds just getting home from their honeymoon, getting settled in the routine of life depending on each other. Sounds so sweet and romantic, right? Well, that was us. We had just drove from Colorado, my home state, to Iowa where we would live while I finished school. My husband had a job at a bank, and I was doing my student teaching. One day I was sitting at the kitchen table with a cramp in my hand from writing thank you notes for our wedding guests, when my husband came in from work. He had a look about him and said “you will never guess what happened today?” Well, I guessed right and said, “you lost your job?” He sure had, because he didn’t want to be friends with the other employees. Do you have a scrunched up, what-in-the-world look on your face? Yeah, me too! He was escorted from the building and fired for honestly no reason. If only we knew then that that would follow us for the next 10.5 years.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
That moment of ‘what just happened to us’ was the first of it’s kind but not the last. It snuck up again just recently. My husband came home with that same look and I knew just what had happened. This time he tried not to tell me for several hours but the look he had was all too familiar. Do you know that look?
The world tells us to worry. It promotes and encourages us to freak out and not know what to do. Facebook and social media have become a place to run immediately following a crisis and vent out our anxious thoughts.
Romans 12:2 says,
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Worry is a mind game. A battle of darkness and light. In those days and weeks where we fear how we will make it through our struggles it becomes a time where our mind can be our worst enemy. I have had a few panic attacks in my life and what I remember so clearly is the battle happening in my mind! I know something isn’t a big deal, but I just can’t calm down. My heart is racing, and my palms are sweaty. My mind is fixated on something and won’t let go of it!
How do we transform our minds in those times of distressing anxiety? I believe the answer is in Philippians 4.
DON’T BE – Don’t be anxious about anything. Don’t conform to the world’s standard of thinking. View your anxiety from God’s standard.
BE – Be prayerful and thankful! Gratitude is the key to finding your path to peace. Transform you mind to a place of thankfulness. Be thankful for ANYTHING in the anxious moment and don’t let go of that thankful thought. Talk to God about your anxiety but then switch your prayer into one of deep gratitude for whatever you can muster. Let that grow. Cultivate that thought and it will bloom into peace.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
Did you just read that? Read it again… Your Savior just promised you rest. Anxiety and worry are a burden we are not meant to carry. It is a result of a fallen and broken world.
Yet, we read those words and still can’t let go and allow His promises to saturate us. I have a kid who has an incredible talent… for getting stuck. He climbs and climbs and then all of a sudden realizes he wants to come down but doesn’t know how. I give him advice, nope, he won’t budge. I offer him a hand, nope, still won’t lean down to take my hand. I tell him to jump because I promise to catch him. Again, not going to happen.
in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your
6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
We all act like that kid sometimes. Our worries over power us and blind us from trusting in the strong and righteous hand of God. The moment my husband walked through the door and told me he didn’t have a job I instantly had a running total of how many bills we had coming out and how much we had in the bank. Of course, we are human and need a minute. But let’s not stay there, let’s look for the promises of God and cling to them.
1 Peter 5:6-10
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
We are in a battle, friends. Satan doesn’t want to see us running to God and accepting the promises of His peace. He doesn’t want to see us transforming our minds and fixating our thoughts on gratitude to our Savior. No, he wants to see us stuck. He wants to see us captivated by fear and worry. Be alert! Be mindful of Satan’s tricky ways and desire to keep us blinded. Be aware of your weaknesses, triggers, and temptations. Pray for your own worries and then keep praying for the needs of those around you. Pray for me! My heart often wonders to the ‘what-if’ situations. What will people think? How do people perceive me? That is a fear driven anxiety that puts more focus on man’s thoughts than God’s. Don’t forget God’s promises to you! He will give you peace, He is trustworthy, and He loves you deeply! His mission is reconciliation! Let the transforming of your mind bring you reconciliation with God and peace in His presence. When He says, “cast your burdens,” do it! He cares for you!
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