Saturday, March 19, 2016
No Worries, Man!
In my attempt to figure out why people struggle with the idea of abundant life in Christ – I started thinking about the opposite of peace which could be anxiety and strife. I came across this great book by Linda Dillow called Calm My Anxious Heart. I began reading it the way you would read a psychology text book to understand how other people let anxiety and worry steal their peace. After reading the first several chapters, a light bulb turned on in my head and I realized I had anxious thoughts! I hadn’t realized when my mind was consumed with researching topics on Google or running through all different types of scenarios of "what ifs" and exploring all my options; whether I was thinking about picking the roofing company for our house, my son’s health or our finances - I was actually having anxious thoughts. Who knew? I certainly didn't. I learned from this book that instead of than running things over in my mind or google-ling them to look at every aspect and possibility in a situation - I could choose to pray rather than be anxious. Philippians 4:6-7 says; “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. Linda Dillow writes, "Paul commands us to have nothing to do with anxiety and everything to do with prayer. Sadly many of us reverse this and worry about everything, praying only as a last resort! It is easier to worry, fret, get heartburn, lose sleep, yell at our husband or our friends, the kids, or our roommates than it is to pray. We've flip flopped the biblical prescription not in belief but in practice... When confronted with negative circumstances, we have a choice: will we pray about the problem or will we worry about it?”
Prayer, along with making our requests and giving thanksgiving to God releases the peace of God that passes all understanding and will guard our hearts and mind in Christ Jesus. Here’s a thought, if we don't have peace, it could be because we haven't given our fears and anxieties to God. We can take our thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and not let them invade our mind. First, imagine the thought flying through your mind; next, capture the thought; and finally, imagine giving your requests, desires, concerns and worries to Jesus. You don't need it. I promise you He will do a much better job with your situation. Holding onto worry, fear and the what ifs of life doesn't do any good except to distract you from the abundant peace-filled life Christ died for you to have. After you have gone through this process, give praise and thanksgiving to Jesus for his victory. Nothing is too hard for him. He has the victory. He knows the future. He has it all under control.
Isaiah 26:3 is a great verse that contains this important concept. It says, "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you." Clicking on the link of this verse shows that the English phrase "perfect peace" is "shalom, shalom" in Hebrew. The key to abundant life and perfect peace in our relationships with God and others is trusting that God will "keep" and guard us. The word "keep" has military roots going back to the idea of a castle keep, which was the most secure part of the castle. Perfect peace is not a passive, boring place but a place where God is actively keeping us safe and providing for us so that we can live an abundant life. Jesus said in John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." I have learned by taking our thoughts captive and giving them to Jesus, we can keep the unwanted invaders of anxiety and worry from stealing the peace and abundant life that Jesus has planned for us.
I am new to understanding this whole anxiety and worry thing, let me know how you give your anxiety and worries to Jesus.
Posted by Penny Noyes at 5:55 AM