So many of us struggle with fear and anxiety, and sometimes that struggle escalates to a full-blown anxiety attack. We know that God does not intend for us to live in debilitating fear, but how do we break free?
I’ve personally found much relief by applying these 6 Bible verses:
- 2 Corinthians 10:5 “we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ”. This means when fear-based, hopeless, defeatist thoughts enter my mind, I need to examine them and ask whether this is something God would say!
- 1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be sober-minded and alert. The devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” This means when I notice my thoughts are becoming hopeless or fearful, I need to recognize the devil is whispering those thoughts to me! I must take a stand and refuse to align my thoughts with the devil! Sometimes I even hold out my hand and shout “NO”.
- Isaiah 41:10 “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.” This means I remind myself that I am not walking through my challenges and worries alone. Jesus is right there beside me all the time and all the way.
- Romans 8:28 “And we know that God works all things together for good for those who love him” This means that I remind myself that even if my worst fear comes to pass, God can still bring something good out of that situation. That brings me comfort.
- Psalm 139:16 “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” This means that when fear-based thoughts enter my mind, I choose to remind myself that God already knows my future and my kid’s future. Nothing that happens to me or my kids will take God by surprise! He knows the future. He’s already there.
- James 4:8 “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you” This means I choose to pivot from the fear and turn toward God in a very deliberate way. When I do that, He comforts me! “Drawing near to God” could mean everything from turning on a worship song, to reading the Bible, to calling a faith-filled friend, to hugging my actual Bible as I lay down to go to sleep at night.
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I hear quite a few stories of women, both married and unmarried, who tell me how arguments get heated in their relationships. Their husband says something critical, and they dish it right back at him. Their boyfriend says something unkind, and they lash right back at him. In both cases, arguments quickly evolve into a really ugly war because neither one paused before responding. Pausing is one of the most important moments in any relationship! It is the KEY moment!
The Bible says in Proverbs 12:18 “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” It is SO important to pause instead of reacting with reckless words! So the next time you feel your temper about to erupt, pause for 5 or 10 seconds. Ask God to show you in that moment how He wants you to respond. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what will likely happen if you say what you feel like saying in this tense moment! (Usually, the Holy Spirit will show me that those words I was about to say will cause some serious damage in the relationship!) You may even need to leave the room during this pause.
By the way, if you’re texting back and forth with your guy, you may need to put down your cell phone and pray before you text back!! Remember, once those words have been voiced in person or typed in on your text, you can’t take them back. “Pausing” is one of your best friends in any relationship!
Even though you may have accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, you and I will still encounter trials and hardships in this life here on earth. They are inevitable. In fact Jesus told his disciples in John 16:33..”In this world you will have trouble.” Sometimes, the trouble is inside our marriage, and when that’s the case, we often find the need to practice great patience, endurance and “longsuffering”. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:2 that we should act “with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love…” (KJV). Other translations use the word “patience” in the place of longsuffering.
However, the Bible doesn’t always advise us to just sit on our hands and settle into a long season of quiet endurance and longsuffering. Jesus says in Matthew 18:15-17 that we’re supposed to confront someone who is sinning against us. We always need to be respectful, compassionate and loving, yet he tells us to confront that person.
So yes, there is a place for patience and longsuffering in relationships. However, it occurs to me that perhaps the best time for longsuffering is when you’ve already confronted the person sinning against you and they are working to turn away from that pattern of sin. I guess my question to you is this: Have you lovingly and firmly confronted your husband if he is sinning against you or your children? Have you drawn clear boundaries on what you will accept and have you followed through with appropriate consequences when necessary? If you haven’t, then there’s a chance you are longsuffering outside of God’s will. There’s a possibility you are suffering needlessly. Pray about it and see what God reveals.
Holy cow! The saying really is true…”If mom ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”!! I found this out recently when I was having a super stressful, overwhelmingly busy day. My husband was away from the house and he called to see if I had time to take care of a low priority task. I responded by saying “I really don’t have time for that. I am so busy I can hardly breathe.” Well, as soon as he heard me say that, and as soon as he grasped my stress level, I could tell his own anxiety and stress level shot through the roof. He got increasingly agitated on the phone. It was then that I realized that a wife’s stress is contagious! I was spreading the stress virus.
Now, I’m not saying that you or I should try to hide our stress from our husbands or pretend it doesn’t exist, but I did get to thinking that my husband’s anxiety and stress is directly tied to mine. So, I believe what I need to do is re-examine my schedule and my priorities. Perhaps I need to cut some things out of my schedule so that my stress level drops. God wants us to live a peaceful life where we actually have time to spend refreshing moments with him. This reminds me of the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10. Jesus comes to the home of these two sisters and Martha is stressed out trying to take care of the hospitality details, while Mary sits quietly at the feet of Jesus. Martha complains to Jesus about her sister, but Jesus says this in verses 41 and 42: “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better…”
Maybe it’s time for us to re-examine our busy schedules. Maybe it’s time to cut back on our activities or the kid’s activities. Maybe we need to spend less time scrolling through social media and checking the latest news, so that we are not so squeezed for time to do the tasks in front of us. Maybe we need to start each day by meditating on God’s Word and bringing all our concerns to Him in prayer. For me….it will not only be good for my health, but also for my husband’s health. How about you? Are you stressed out a lot? Do you need to take a hard look at your schedule? Would your anxiety and stress level drop if you spent more time with the Lord?
Who would have thunk it? (Yes, I know thunk is not a word). Anyway, I discovered something absolutely fascinating several years ago, and it was confirmed by a young wife at Squadron of Sisters during a subsequent meeting. Husbands can become very stressed, anxious and uneasy when their home is a mess! I had read surveys about this before, but it was really underscored by what a wife shared with our group.
She said her husband started to have pretty severe anxiety problems. She didn’t understand why. He had a good job. She had a good job. Their relationship was going well. So what could be the problem? Well, she attended an SOS meeting where we shared that men really desire a tidy household. So, she went home and created a chore chart with stickers (yes, like parents use with their kids!). She didn’t do all the chores herself. She simply took charge of creating a plan to make sure the house could become tidy and clean.
The result? Within a very short time, her husband’s anxiety completely disappeared! Wow! I guess that Proverbs 31 wife really has it figured out. In verse 27, the Bible describes her as a woman who “looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Coming up with a plan to keep your house tidy and clean can really boost your man’s sanity! P.S. You might find that your anxiety drops a notch or two as well!
You’ve probably heard the saying, “If mom ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Although the primary message of this saying is that mom’s attitude affects the whole family, I think a secondary message is just as significant. If a wife conveys to her husband through her constant complaints and criticisms that she’s not happy, her husband begins to feel like a failure and starts to close his heart to her.
Unfortunately, many wives get stuck in this dynamic. We tend to point out one disappointment after another to our husbands. We remind him that we notice he forgot to take out the garbage. We point out that he hasn’t communicated in our love language recently. We remind him that he hasn’t played with the kids in a while. In short, we can’t seem to resist pointing out his flaws. Adding insult to injury, we then get really upset that he seems emotionally withdrawn from us!
Perhaps it’s time to pick our battles more carefully. Maybe we should let the small stuff slide. Proverbs 12:16 says, “Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.” Let’s ask God to help us affirm what our husbands do right, overlook the small imperfections, and only confront our husbands if they are truly sinning against us and/or the children. EVERYBODY in the family will be happier!
In a recent prayer time, God gently confronted me. He asked me this simple question. Are you going to be a slave to your to-do-list today, or are you going to focus on bringing me glory? Another way of putting this is: Are you working tirelessly to bring yourself glory as the “perfect wife’, “perfect mother”, perfect Christian, etc, or are you releasing your day to God and asking him to show you what to do and what NOT to do in order to bring HIM glory?
Oh man! Busted. To be honest, I tend to drive myself to always do more and do it better, because I want to look good in other people’s eyes. I become exhausted and stressed in the process. The good news is that God didn’t design us to be people-pleasers. Yes, we are to love people, but our focus shouldn’t be on doing whatever they want. Our focus also shouldn’t be trying to look good in people’s eyes. The Bible reminds us in Galatians 1:10 “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?”
I am confident that if you and I were both to release our days to God and ask Him to guide us, we would find much more peace! We would be free of performance-exhaustion. Instead, we would be free to follow God’s promptings, which will lead to greater joy and peace than we’ve ever known. In fact, if you listen for God’s voice, he might even tell you to take a nap or relax while listening to praise music! God’s Word promises that those who seek to follow Him (instead of following their own agenda) will enter peace! (Isaiah 57:2 says, “For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace.” And Isaiah 26:3 reminds us, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
You may be a wife like me…a wife who is stunned when her husband does or says something that isn’t exactly kind and loving. To be honest, at some subconscious level, I guess I expected my husband to always make me happy and do the right thing. In short, I rather expected him to be like Jesus. I mean, after all, he is a Christian, for heaven’s sake!
Hmmm. On the other hand, the Bible makes it clear that no human being is perfect. Psalm 14:3 says, “there is no one who does good, not even one”. So, perhaps it’s time for both you and me to take our husbands off the hook. I’m not saying that we should give them a free pass on blatant, destructive sin. Jesus makes it clear we should confront someone who is truly sinning against us. You can read his instructions about that in Matthew 18:15-17.
However, I do believe it’s time we started being gracious to our husbands in terms of looking beyond their minor faults and annoying quirks. Does he sometimes drive more aggressively than you would like? Maybe we can be gracious about that (while praying for safety!). Does he often have a hard time sharing his deep thoughts and feelings? We can be gracious about that too. Let’s remember he is a flawed person, just like us! We’re all a work in progress…in the master’s hands.
I don’t know about you, but I can sometimes get consumed with the “what if” questions. What if my husband were to pass away? What if we lost our income? What if my kids make a really bad life-altering decision? What if my husband becomes attracted to another woman? When I start thinking this way, my serenity level plunges and my anxiety level shoots through the roof!
Well, here are some decisions that both you and I can make in order to regain peace of mind:
1) We must decide to follow the instructions given in Philippians 4:6-7, which 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.” In other words, we need to tell God all our concerns and ask Him to be in control!
2) We need to decide to trust Jesus with all things! I mean, seriously, do we believe God loves us and that He is perfect in all His ways? If we REALLY trust Him, then we can relax and realize that, even in difficult circumstances, He has a plan to bring about good thing in the lives of those who love Him. This is the essence of Romans 8:28… “and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.”
Does your mouth often cause trouble between you and your husband (or between you and other people)? If you’re one of many women who end up “venting” on their husband or saying harsh words you later regret, God’s Word gives us 3 clues on how we can respond appropriately when we start to feel our anger rising.
1) Pause. Just stop. Leave the room for a moment if you need to. Don’t react in the moment because your gut-level reaction will almost always cause trouble! James 1:19 puts it this way, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” So pause before you react verbally.
2) During the pause, consult the Holy Spirit and ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand how to love and respect your husband with your response. Would your husband be positively impacted by a gentle and encouraging word from you? Would your husband be more willing to make changes that you’re requesting if you showed him respect by asking him to help you understand his perspective? Philippians 2:4 says “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others.”
3) When you’re ready to address the issue with your husband, say a silent prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to be the one speaking to your husband by using your mouth. Trust me. The Holy Spirit will come up with much better words than you ever could, and will utter those words in a much more respectful way! When speaking to his disciples, Jesus said in Matthew 10:19-20, “But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”