It stepped in like a thief in the night, and stole from me, which meant it also stole from my family.
I wonder if that has ever happened to you?
Things were going well and then it happened.
It? The worry, the anxiety, the doubt, the overwhelm.
Almost like I’d given it a key to my front door, to let itself in without even asking.
But then, I did give it permission. I listened to those thoughts, entertained them, and let them stay. I didn’t catch their suave entrance or take them captive.
“What makes you think they want to hear what you have to say?”
“What would they say if they knew you weren’t perfect?”
“If you don’t take care of it, no-one will.”
“If God cared, wouldn’t He have answered your prayers by now?”
And in listening, it stole my peace.
Anxiety and worry are an insidious thing. They creep in like a weekend guest and then take on a life of their own and move in for the long haul before you even realize what happened.
But in gaining entrance to my mind and heart, it stole from me. Anxiety stole my peace.
Worry stole my joy.
Fear stole my present as it projected old events on my present and my future. And it stole from my family, as I couldn’t be truly present with them when I was worried about the past or the future.
As God has walked with me along the journey to relinquish anxiety, He’s shown me that exchanging anxiety or worry for His peace isn’t a one time event. It’s a process.
Jeremiah gives us clues about how to approach that process:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV
First, ridding ourselves of worry and anxiety requires that we trust in the Lord. Worry is really a misappropriation of our trust, giving it to a counterfeit that never satisfies. Trusting in Him, however, brings a sweet, satisfying peace.
Second, just like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, we too must prepare. The best way we can prepare in advance is to first learn God’s word and plant it firmly in our hearts.
Then we must take every thought captive and discern if it is a thought from God or a thought from the enemy. When it is from the enemy, we must exchange it for God’s truth that we already learned. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV).
Lastly, we choose not to be anxious but to keep our peace by trusting that just as God caused the leaves to remain green, and a continual crop to grow, so too will He help us fulfill whatever He asks us to do.
I frequently have to remind myself out loud, “whatever He asks us to do, He equips us through!”
When it comes to keeping our peace and trusting God, rather than letting our hearts become troubled or anxious, we have a choice to make: God said it, I believe it, and that’s that!!
The enemy has stolen many things from us. But the good news is that God promises to return everything that he stole! “The LORD says, “I will give you back what you lost…” (Joel 2:25 NLT).
What do you need to trust Him with today?
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
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