2 decisions to combat worry

I don’t know about you, but I can sometimes get consumed with the “what if” questions.  What if a loved one passes away?  What if I don’t have enough money to be secure in old age?  What if my kids make a really bad life-altering decision?  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.

Getting unstuck

Most every person I know struggles with something, and often in the midst of that struggle, we get stuck in a rut.  Even though we don’t like where we are, we often do the very things that keep us mired down in that area.

Some people get stuck in a rut regarding a dysfunctional coping mechanism such as drinking too much alcohol, or overeating, or over-shopping!   Other people get stuck in a rut in terms of unhealthy and unhelpful communication with their family members.  They might get stuck in the habit of yelling and criticizing or complaining.  And still other people get stuck in a rut regarding depression and despair.  Obviously, no one wants to stay in this rut, but we can’t seem to get ourselves unstuck!

Please allow me to share a few Bible insights that have really helped me get unstuck so I can move forward with joy, peace, and hope.

  1. I’ve learned to do what Paul teaches in Philippians 3:13-14….  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.   Let me make this personal.  I lost my husband about 10 months ago.  It was shocking.  It was devastating.  My world tipped upside down.  And I could have easily got stuck in depression and even resentment toward God.  However, I distinctly remember the moment I decided to pivot from the pain and turn forward, asking God to open up new adventures and new joys in my life.  That was a choice.  It was a really good one.  I was able to heal and start grabbing hold of joy again.
  2. I’ve learned to pause and consult God when I notice dysfunctional habits in my life.  I ask Him to change my heart so that I desire good things, healthy things, and behavior that please Him.  On my own, I don’t really have the strength to make these changes, but when God comes in and changes my heart in response to prayer, then I have the strength and strong desire necessary to make those changes!  Listen to what God says in Ezekiel 36:26-27  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. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.   Ask God to change your heart. That’s the first step in getting unstuck from bad habits and unhealthy behavior.

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How to refresh your weary soul

Are you feeling weary, discouraged or burdened?  Perhaps you’re feeling frustrated with others or even yourself.  This remedy might seem strange, but God says that when we meditate on His principles and begin applying them in our lives, our souls will be refreshed!  Psalm 19:7-8 says “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.  The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.”

Maybe your soul is weary or discouraged because you’ve been trying to handle difficult people and circumstances with your own wisdom.  Maybe it’s time to search out God’s wisdom instead.  For instance, if you are depressed about your husband’s continuing verbal abuse toward you and your children, maybe your soul will be refreshed as you read God’s instructions for dealing with someone who is sinning against you.  You might want to read Matthew 18:15-17.  

Perhaps you’re dealing with a rebellious child who isn’t responding to your explanations about why he or she should listen to you.  Maybe your soul will be refreshed as you read God’s instructions for molding your children into people of character.  You might want to read Proverbs 13:24 “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” 

How to find fulfillment & purpose

I seem to bump into quite a few women who seem to either struggle with discouragement and mild depression or simply feel unfulfilled.  When it comes to both these conditions, there aren’t necessarily simple answers, but I’ve come to realize that taking one particular step often brings significant help.  That step is to get outside yourself and begin serving those less fortunate.  Yes, really!

This is God’s instruction to us all.  In fact, He says in Isaiah 58 that the kind of “fasting” that he desires is not to appear super religious by denying yourself food or pleasure.  Instead he desires us to “loose the chains of injustice”…to share your food with the hungry…to provide the poor wanderer with shelter. He says “then your light will break forth like the dawn and your healing will quickly appear” (Isaiah 58:8)

Is it time to stop focusing on what’s wrong with your circumstances and to look for opportunities to serve those in need all around you?  I can almost guarantee that you WILL become more fulfilled when you begin helping others.  You will find purpose in each day. You will find soul-deep joy along the way. Try it!

Replacing your worry with peace!

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel my shoulder and neck muscles getting really tight.  My head starts to throb.  I even sometimes feel a little short of breath…or like I can’t even draw a full breath.  These are all warning signs that I am filled with toxic anxiety and worry! 

What is the remedy for anxiety and worry.  Well, the solution is often really quite simple (although hard to remember to do!).  We must remind ourselves that Jesus loves us and that he is completely trustworthy!  We need to speak truth to our souls!

King David, who wrote many of the Psalms. often talked to his soul.  In tough situations or when he was consumed with fear, he would basically give a pep talk to his soul.  He would remind his soul of the truth about God. For instance, in Psalm 42:5, David writes “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”   Is it time to talk truth to your soul?

I regain peace when I remind my soul that God is loving, God is powerful, God is wise, and God is in control!