2 ways to combat worry & anxiety

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 two 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, ask Him to be in control, and then LEAVE the concerns in His hands!

2)  We must remind ourselves every morning that Jesus is FOR us and that we can trust Him to bring something good out of even the most daunting or difficult situation.  I mean, seriously, do we believe God loves us and that He is perfect in all His ways?  If we REALLY do, 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.

Do NOT make major decisions if…

You may have heard of the acronym H.A.L.T.  It stands for hungry, angry, lonely, tired.   It is a caution often used in addiction recovery where people are urged not to make any drastic decisions when one of those 4 conditions applies.

That’s a really good caution for wives as well!  Don’t make any major decisions about leaving your husband, filing for divorce, or even giving full vent to your temper if you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired.  However, I would like to add one more condition.  Don’t make any major decisions when….it’s that time of the month!!  Women are often so overly-emotional in the days leading up to their period, that we become drama queens!  Everything happening around us is exaggerated in intensity.  So, even though you feel like reacting in a dramatic way, remind yourself to pause and see if you still feel the same way 3 or 4 days later.

This verse comes to mind.  James 1:19-20  My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

The art of being still

If you’re like most women, you’re busy…REALLY busy.   Most of us are multi-taskers to the max.  We are trying to balance housekeeping, with nurturing children, with investing in our marriage, with maybe even working full-time outside the home.  Oh, and you might be trying to help out at the local food bank or your church too!  More than likely, you’re exhausted, stressed, and maybe even a bit cranky.  Did I hit that nail on the head? 

How about if we all intentionally slow down?  What if you and I were to ask God in prayer for His direction on where we can cut something out of our busy lives?  Is there a better way to divide responsibilities in our home?  Should you cut out one of the kid’s activities? 

Do you simply need to take 10 or 15 minutes twice a day to be still with God?  Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”.  Maybe it’s time for us to carve out some time to be still for a few minutes each day, perhaps with a cup of lemonade sitting outside on a summer day or snuggled in a comfy chair listening to soft worship music.  I have a feeling that we will find our stress drain away as we enter a time of stillness, and as we become less stressed, everyone around us will benefit!  In fact, your husband may become the biggest fan of your “be still” time with God!  You’ll probably be less cranky. lol

If you’re facing something daunting

If we could all truly embrace the Biblical principle of taking just one day at a time, we would all be better off!  Yes, this is a Bible principle.  Jesus says in Matthew 6:34: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  In other words, instead of worrying and fretting about the “what if…” questions, Jesus tells us to just focus on doing what we should do today. 

How does this apply to you?  If it seems overwhelming to you to put your marriage back together after betrayal, just choose to move forward, one day at a time.  If you tend to avoid confronting your husband or establishing boundaries on wrong behavior because you fear the possibility of future tension, trust in Jesus and move forward, one day at a time.  If it seems daunting to take off the 50 pounds you’ve gained in recent years, don’t think about how hard this is going to be for the rest of your life. Just choose to eat healthy today and take it one day at a time.

Worrying about the future is pointless.  Being consumed by the “what if…” questions will only keep you trapped in fear.  Let’s do what Jesus says.  Let’s decide each morning to do what we know we should do that day, and let’s trust God to handle tomorrow.

Vision-casting for Christian wives

God has given me a vision for Christian wives.  I see him raising up an army of strong but gentle wives who do specific things in such a focused and powerful way that their husbands are propelled to become mighty men of God!  Don’t we all want that?!

The qualities of these strong Christian wives are all Biblical, and if we press into them, I’m confident we will have a tremendous, positive impact on our men!  As we encourage and pray for our men, our men will be much more likely to step up and become mighty men of God.  Hallelujah!

The most important thing we can do is to respect, honor and love the Lord.  But beyond that, catch this vision of the wife He is calling you to become.  He is calling wives to be…

  • encouraging (1 Thessalonians 5:11…encourage one another and build each other up)
  • respectful   (Ephesians 5:33….the wife must respect her husband)
  • gentle  (1 Peter 3:4 …the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight )
  • compassionate  (Colossians 3:12 …clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience)
  • courageous (Joshua 1:9… Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.)
  • loving but firm confronters of sin (Luke 17:3 If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him)
  • prayer warriors  (Colossians 4:2… Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful)

If your heart is heavy or burdened…

Are you having one of those weeks or months?  Has your husband broken your heart?  Are you an emotional wreck over a situation with one of your children?  Don’t try to carry that burden alone!  It’s too heavy.

Even though it would be so helpful to reach out to some godly female friends, many of us tend to isolate during really hard times instead.  Unfortunately, that only makes it easier for Satan to beat you down.  With no other voices speaking hope into your life, he has free realm to whisper one lie right after another. 

Jesus describes Satan this way in John 8:44: “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”  The lies may sound like this:  No one really loves you.  Your life sucks and there’s no hope.  You should have never married your husband.  God doesn’t really care about you. You’re a failure as a mom compared to all the other moms. There is no way in the world to recover from your financial mess.  God could never change your husband’s heart.  Blah, blah, blah.

One of the keys to drowning out the voice of the enemy is to listen to other voices!  Spend time reading God’s Word.  Also, spend time with godly women who can speak truth, wisdom, and hope into your life.  If you don’t know any women like that, then it’s time to start building new friendships.  I know you might be scared to tell another woman what’s really going on in your marriage and family.  However, you might be surprised to find that other women will start opening up to you and sharing their own challenges as you begin sharing yours. Just keep in mind that the point is to encourage each other and pray for each other…not to trash talk your husbands or have a pity party!

Do you need a miracle?

Are you and your husband at odds?  Are you discouraged in your marriage?  Pray.  Are you longing for more intimacy and love in your marriage?  Pray.  Are you concerned about the choices your husband or children are making?  Pray.  Prayer really can change everything! It can produce a miracle! James 5:16 says “The prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective.”

I have witnessed God do absolutely amazing things when I have prayed with total faith in His mighty power. I have witnessed miraculous healings.  I have seen God soften my husband’s heart in areas.  I have witnessed loved ones turn to Christ for the very first time.  I have witnessed God supernaturally supplying much needed financial help in the nick of time.  I have even seen God “heal” completely broken computerized equipment in our sound studio!

Here’s the thing.  I don’t have the power to do any of those miracles.  I especially don’t have the power to change my husband’s heart or my children’s hearts….but God can and does change hearts!   In Ezekiel 36:26-27, God says “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.  I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”  Awesome!  So, seek God in prayer.  Be persistent in your prayers for your husband and children.  Your situation might seem impossible, but nothing is too hard for God.  He can even change hearts.

Drawing out the best in your man

Our words are SO powerful!  If you frequently tell your husband how he’s falling short, he will likely close down emotionally and search for an escape door.  He may turn to alcohol, porn, excessive recreational pursuits, or even other women.

However, if you choose to tell him about the good things you see in him, he will begin to grow in confidence.  I believe this is why God instructs wives in Ephesians 5:33, “the wife must respect her husband“.  Your respect and admiration mean everything to your man.  If you intentionally take note of his talents as well as the effort he puts forth, and then tell him you are proud of him, his feelings of inadequacy will fall away.  He will start believing he can be successful in what he tries.  He will gain courage to try tackling even bigger things.

If you notice his positive character qualities (and every man has at least one!), and tell him how much you respect him for those qualities, he will be built up on the inside.  He will likely begin believing that he can become a man who makes a difference in his family and for God.  A wife’s words of respect and encouragement can propel her husband forward to be an even greater man than he would ever have been without her!

One key to getting your joy back

I know this might sound too simple.  I know you could be rolling your eyes as you read this. But give this a chance.  A huge key to regaining some of your joy during challenges or after a heartbreaking event is…to focus on the things for which you can be thankful.

All of us tend to focus on what we don’t have instead of what we do have.  By doing so, we become bitter, jealous, and depressed women.  Now if you actually enjoy being bitter and depressed, you just go right on concentrating on what’s wrong in your life.  However, there is a better way to live.  God recommends it in the Bible.  It’s called being thankful for what you do have.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances“.  This means disciplining your mind to focus on what is good and right and beautiful. God puts it this way in Philippians 4:8 “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Do you have shelter and plenty of food to eat each day?  Wow! You’re in the top 10% of the entire world!  Do you have someone in your life (husband, mother, friend, child) who loves you?  Wonderful!  Do your legs and hands work?  Can you see, hear, and taste?  Thank God for the health that not everyone enjoys.  Has God made himself known to you and drawn your heart to him?  Awesome!  That means he thinks you’re special and he decided before the beginning of the world to select you to adopt as his child!

Yes, there is a time to grieve losses in our lives.  But we can’t stay camped out there!  Let’s make a concerted effort to focus our minds on being thankful.  Little by little, you may find your joy returning, even during hard times.

3 Bible principles reduce financial stress

So many couples, especially young couples, argue over money.   They disagree over how much to spend, how much to save, the financial priorities, whether to help loved ones in need, whether to give to the church, and on and on.

You might not be aware, but the Bible actually gives a ton of guidance on how to handle money and possessions!  I have found 3 particular Bible principles to be especially helpful for couples who have been suffering from financial tension and strain in their marriages.  Allow me to summarize those principles for you.  (You can look up the verses for yourself and ask the Lord to counsel you directly).

Bible Principle 1:  Live intentionally below your means!  (Hebrews 13:5)  So many couples are under heavy financial strain because there is no real cushion in their budget.  They’ve bought the biggest house they could possibly afford or the most expensive car they could afford, and then when something unexpected comes up, they become super stressed-out and start ugly arguments!

Bible Principle 2:  Don’t wear yourself out or stress yourself out by working too much to accumulate possessions and wealth because those things will mean nothing at the end of your life.  The only thing that will matter is your love for the Lord and the people he placed in your life. (Proverbs 23:4)

Bible Principle 3:  Take a step of faith and cheerfully give some of your money back to the work of the Lord because He promises to reward those who trust Him by doing so!  (Malachi 3:10).  I’ve done this faithfully for several decades whether I felt like I had the money to give or not.  The Lord has always provided for me, sometimes in strange and unusual ways!