Tag Archives: anxiety

All you need is prayer

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Prayer is good for the soul. It connects us with our Creator. Our hearts, minds and will are molded, bent, and yielded to God’s will when we truly are seeking after Him. So, if this is all true, and we know that it is according to God’s Word, WHY is it that we don’t find ourselves in a posture of humility and prayer? Why do we think we can solve it all on our own, as if there’s some badge we’re aiming to attain declaring our wisdom? Why do we allow ourselves to be anxiety riddled trying to figure it all out on our own? And why do we go to Him only after we’ve exhausted all other options?

For me, I’m guilty as charged. I allow myself to get distracted by other things. I pray at mealtime, bedtime and over my husband as he heads out to work; the rest of the day, I find myself “sending sky grams,” as our former pastor used to say, which isn’t bad but on the other hand, isn’t near enough. God knows it all but we still need to be (get to be!) in a conversation with God. And a conversation is a two-way street, involving both listening and speaking. You can’t be in a true conversation with someone all the while running hither and yon, not focused on what you’re doing, spouting off a grocery list of needs. Sure, you can talk up a blue streak, but the most important part of a conversation is listening. Hate to break it to you, but to really listen, you have to be still and quiet.

My husband likes to tease me that when I’m in a conversation with a friend, I’m so focused on them and what they’re saying that the building I’m in could be on fire and I’d never know because I’m so “locked in,” as he says. Why do I do this you ask? Because I don’t want to miss out on important details of the conversation out of being distracted by what is going on all around me. Now, if I feel this way about a conversation with a dear friend, how much more should I defend and protect my time in conversation with the Lord?

I’m well-versed on how to pray and even assuming the posture of prayer. I have loved reading Pastor Cymbala’s books on the power of prayer, as well as many other wonderful reads over the years. I know prayer is where our power is found as believers in Christ. I mean, the God of the universe, Creator of all things, wants a conversation with me! That trumps (pardon the pun!) a phone call from the President of the United States!! However, I also know that our enemy hates for us to pray for this very reason. In fact, he will do whatever he can to distract us, stir up doubt and disbelief all to keep us in a place of defeat and spirit of hopelessness. Therefore, it becomes imperative for us to be intentional. Intentionally carving out time daily to not only be in God’s Word, but to be in constant conversation (prayer) with Him.

Once again, I’ve read and re-read books on praying for my husband; Stormie Omartian has some great resources! I want to be a prayerful wife, mother, daughter, friend….my desire is there and I’m confident this is where power and solutions are found, so I must ask God to help me carve out uninterrupted time daily. After all, we are in a battle for our marriages, children, families, and on and on it goes. I’m not dissing counseling, wise biblical counseling that is, but God’s Word is chock full of counsel if we’ll just open the Word and pray scripture. He should be our first go-to, not our friends or spouses. I’m confident I’d have much less stress if I’d simply go to Him first who is the only One who can advise me and give me the wisdom I’m seeking.

Will you join me in praying fervently for our homes to be a place of peace, our marriages to be shored up on the foundation of Christ, our children to thirst and hunger for the things of our Lord and coming to saving faith at an early age?

 

 

 

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hApPy??? NeW yEaR!

Most likely, you fit into one of two categories:

One, you love, love, love the blank slate of a brand-new year laid bare before you and you’ve already outlined your goals for the 365 days ahead. Or two, you’re a little fearful and possibly a little anxious about what the new year may hold and resolutions are the furthest thing from your mind because in your estimation they will never materialize, so why bother.

Perhaps surprisingly to some, I tend to lean more toward the second category. After all the excitement of the holidays, time with family and “get togethers”, I tend to feel a little blue once December 26th hits.  Possibly due to the fact that when I was growing up, it meant time to take down the tree, all the decor, and very quickly getting back into “the (dreaded) groove”. Then, there’s the weather which tends to be grey and gloomy with or without snow. The days just seem to melt one into another. At this point, I’m ready for summer. Heck, skip over spring! I’m ready for longer days with more sunshine and time to be outside.

At the heart of the “post Christmas” blues, at least for me, is the fear of the unknown. I am a little afraid, if I’m being honest, of what the next year may look like; or maybe, I’m just anxious about what the Lord may require of me in the year to come. What I fail to remember, however, is that God goes before me. He’s already in my tomorrows. He gives me the grace to face whatever comes my way when I need it. No, this grace doesn’t come early or late, but right on time. In fact, when I think back to times in my life when things did look quite grim, all I can recall is that God carried me through those times. He put people in my life (I call it ‘God with skin on’), to minister to me, to help me, to encourage me; sometimes in person and sometimes in the form of a cheery card, or a meal, even a meaningful prayer. The Lord is with me. He never leaves me or forsakes me. I have to make a conscious effort to factor God into all of my days.

A very wise former co-worker of mine used to remind me that most of the things we worry about in our lives never come to pass. They don’t materialize. They don’t come to fruition. So, why do we put ourselves through the torture of buying trouble for our lives? Why do we torment ourselves with such anguish? I’ll tell you why: the enemy wants us to forget that we have the Lord Jesus Christ at our disposal. He wants to render us useless and have us while away our days wringing our hands in disbelief. We need to remember that God is on our side, as believers in Jesus Christ. If we truly put our faith and trust in Him, we have nothing to fear!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Phil. 4:6)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  (Isaiah 41:10)

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)

 

 

hApPy??? NeW yEaR!

Good Day/Bad Day?

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Good Day/Bad Day?

As I dropped off my newly-enrolled son to his MDO (Mother’s Day Out) program this morning, I was absolutely giddy. Giddy because I had before me 5.5 hours of ME time. In nearly 4 years, this is the first time I’ve enrolled him in any kind of program like this. Sure, he attends MOPS with me, which is also fabulous, but I am new to having ME time to do whatever I want. In my head I’m thinking of all that I need to be doing: cleaning, cooking, organizing, picking up, laundry, errands…yada, yada, yada. In my heart, however, I am overdue for a little peace and quiet at home. My soul needs the refreshment and my mind needs a break. I’m not requiring a nap, which I enjoy, but just time to read my Bible, thumb through a new book, peruse a magazine and check up on social media. No TV, phone or the like. Just me, my puppy and a comfy chair. Oh, and a nice tall glass of cold lemon water.

I’m excited to delve into a new-to-me book, Keep a Quiet Heart, by Elisabeth Elliot. I love her godly wisdom, insight and encouragement. In fact, I keep a shelf full of these type of books to spur me on this journey I’m on. The journey of Motherhood. My mind settled on this thought of having a quiet heart after engaging briefly with a girlfriend this morning. Here, I thought I’d had a bad week, which to me is still classified as such; however, when I heard about her week, I had to take a step back. She’s been through it and her family is going through it. However, what is different about this gal is she has a quiet spirit. She confessed that she doesn’t allow the enemy to have a foothold as he throws these fiery darts of sickness and back pain to her already overwhelming  plate. She with her husband and 2 young boys just moved to town from out of state as he is beginning training for full-time ministry that will take the family to only God knows where.

As this new friend asked about my week, suddenly I didn’t feel quite as overwhelmed after hearing about her week. I was challenged by her quiet spirit, her faithful heart, and prayerful attitude. It wasn’t a “fake it til you make it” attitude, rather a peaceful heart and mind that is grounded in God’s truth of who she is in Christ, the power that is hers through the Holy Spirit as a believer, and the fact that the enemy has limited power. It’s no wonder I pulled this book off my bookshelf this morning, Keep A Quiet Heart.

Now today’s encounter with my friend was only confirmation of what what we studied in church last night. We’ve been studying I Corinthians and last night focused on chapter 7. Reading this in context of course, verse 32 really spoke to me as I tend to be full of anxiety. I would say I have an anxious spirit rather than a quiet or peaceful spirit. There was much discussion in our small group last night as to what Paul was teaching. We’re not to be burdened with anything; we’re to be free from concern.We shouldn’t allow our lives to be dictated by our circumstances. We looked at fear as being anything that has power or control over our lives. What then? We’re to remember that things of this world will pass away >, where as things of God go on forever <. What does God require from us? Obedience. We are to approach God’s call with obedience and willingness.

Once I stopped long enough to look, break down the scripture, and hear God’s teaching, I realized that having a good day or a bad day is really irrelevant. What matters is, are you being obedient? Are you filling your mind with truth? Are you praying for God’s peace? Are you seeking to know Him and are you hearing His voice above all others? Sure, as my wise friend said “Sometimes I think, ‘I didn’t sign up for this‘” referring to the difficult circumstances we find ourselves in, the bad news, the naughty children, fiery darts from our enemy. The takeaway: be obedient to His Word. We are not to be anxious and not to fear. The kicker: in order to be obedient to His Word, we must first read and be well acquainted with His Word.

I’ll pray for you and you pray for me. Let’s encourage one another to have quiet hearts, minds and spirits. God is in control and we are not. Let Him navigate our lives for us and in return choose obedience.

 

 

 

 

Calm Down!!

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So,  I don’t know about you and your personality but I am quite familiar with me and mine. Confession time: it’s not pretty.  I’m ashamed to put it like this but I need to be honest with you.

I struggle with anxiety. There,  I said it. The Bible has allot to say on this subject. We’re told, commanded actually, not to be anxious.  I try and try on my own not to allow it to get the best of me, but it’s beyond me. I have to ask God to help me with it on a daily basis. I have to surrender these feelings and my tendencies to be anxious to the only One who can help.

I wish that I could be calm as a cucumber through life’s up and downs; however,  I’m not wired that way. I guess much of it stems from pride and selfishness on my part. It probably has some control issues mixed in as well. Do you struggle with this, or is it just me?

Some days are more of a struggle for me in this area than others, I’m sad to say. I find myself getting anxious when things aren’t gong the way I think they should. See there? That’s control. Or, I find it particularly trying when I turn on the news and everything seems so heavy and seemingly hopeless.

Anxiety, for me, transcends well beyond parenting, like for instance, in a marriage or in a job. As a matter of fact, it infiltrates into the most mundane and silly places of our lives. This is truly something I have to die to on a daily basis. As a friend once said, “as a new creature in Christ, you’re dead to that.” I like the way that sounds. ..it has a nice ring to it! But oftentimes it’s easier said than done.

This is where I personally struggle in my day to day life. I know what to do, but more often than not, I don’t. I love what God’s Word says to us about this subject:

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:6-7 (The Message)

When I’m studying more in-depth, I like to look the same verse up in different translations. Here’s the same verse in yet another:

“Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.”Philippians 4:6 (Amplified)

And one more!

“Never worry about anything. Instead, in every situation let your petitions be made known to God through prayers and requests, with thanksgiving.” Philippians 4:6 (International Standard Version)

I’d say this pretty well clarifies what we’re to do with our anxiety. Another thing I like to do is to envision telling God about my anxieties and asking Him to take them, put them in a bottle, cap it and toss it away from me. Someone very close to me gave me this word picture and it helps me to see it in my mind’s eye.

The other thing I do, which for me, is very therapeutic! I like to journal my thoughts. It’s as if I’m writing my heart out to God. Once I write it (or type it!), I feel so much better! Doing so leads me to look up Scripture to help me combat my feelings as well. After all, Scripture tells us:

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow, as it judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

I hope you, too, can find some relief from your anxieties. I’d love to hear what you may do to combat your personal struggles.