My daughter and I wake up each morning and go over her memory verses. Currently they are Philippians 4:7, Philippians 4:13, Hebrews 11:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 1 Peter 5:7, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 20:4, John 3:16, Deuteronomy 28:11-13, and the Lords Prayer from Matthew 6. Her favorite is Philippians 4:7. Whenever she has a bad dream or is upset or anxious about anything I ask her to recite it and she boldly proclaims, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart, and your mind in Christ Jesus!” and she feels better. She writes those words on her heart and takes them as a true promise. She accepts the peace God offers and she claims the protection He gives over herself and her heart and her mind and her dreams. It’s the perfect most precious example of a childlike faith and it’s a blessing to see in action.
I pray for my faith to grow more like hers each day. The last 24 hours have been difficult. Instead of claiming God’s peace and resting in His strength I have fought a bit with my own. Today I had to face my abuser in court. I had to testify as to what I endured at his hands. Needless-to-say, I was full of anxiety. Leading up to today I’ve been sick with allergies and migraines to the point of going to the doctor. I received a steroid shot at the doctor yesterday and promptly passed out in front of my frightened four year old daughter. I suffer of vasovagal syncope syndrome but I haven’t passed out from a venipuncture in years! It’s been an out-of-control couple of days.
The dictionary defines anxiety as “worry, uneasiness, nervousness, tension or stress.” Fear is at the root of anxiety, and because of that, it’s something we need to resist by the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells in us. Anxiety will steal that peace and joy which The Lord guarantees us, and that’s evidence enough that it’s a tool of the enemy. In Proverbs 14:30 it says, “A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body.” Since anxiety steals our peace, it can make us susceptible to sickness and disease, and I believe it can take years off of our lives. If you spend enough time being anxious you will find sooner or later that you’ll be plagued with headaches, stomachaches, backaches or other illnesses. God never intended for us to shoulder our own burdens, and trying to do so can have terrible consequences. Anxiety has the ability to zap our strength and lower our energy levels. As a result, we’ll be less productive and fruitful as employees, students, parents, ministers, or anything else we apply ourselves to. Anxiety can even harm our relationships. Those around us can suffer when our anxious thoughts make us short-tempered, depressed, or overly sensitive. If we really care about our friends, family, and others we come in contact with, we’ll do our best to walk in peace each day.
God simply desires that we acknowledge our need for Him by promptly bringing all of our concerns to Him in prayer. Our focus then shifts from our unsettling circumstances to our all-powerful God, Who loves us and wants the best for us. In other words- instead of focusing on how big your problems are, look up and focus on what a huge, wonderful, loving Creator you have! Then you’ll see little problems and a big God! As you make a conscious decision to put your trust in the Lord, God’s own indescribable peace will settle over you and quiet your fear. Isaiah puts it this way, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!” (Isaiah 26:3) Besides prayer, we can take a note from Raelee. Devoting ourselves to God’s Word can counteract anxiety. Psalm 119:165 says, “Those who love Your instructions have great peace and do not stumble.” As we meditate on God’s faith-building promises, peace and joy spring up inside of us and crowd out anxiety and fear. Sometimes a specific sin is at the root of our anxiety, and can keep us from enjoying the peace that God wants us to have. When this is the case, we haven’t failed until we’ve completely given up trying to cooperate with God’s Spirit to become all that He created us to be.
I recall awhile back I was sitting in my car and the Holy Spirit lovingly told me that I cannot both obey and disobey God at the same time. Partial obedience is STILL disobedience. I wasn’t giving God control. I wasn’t giving him my anxiety and fears and hurts but was still expecting His promises of peace and love and comfort and joy. It doesn’t work that way. You either have faith or you don’t. There’s no such thing as half-faith. So today I had a choice. Did I want to hold everything on my own shoulders like I did yesterday (and consequently passed out) or did I want to let go and let God? I walked into the silent court room and sat on the bench next to my attorney and in my mind I said, “I can do this. I can do this. I CAN DO THIS. Don’t cry. DONT CRY. YOU’RE STRONG. WARRIOR WOMAN. I can. I CAN do this. Stop….nope…not going to cry. Not gonna do it….” This process continued for the better part of a half hour. Finally the judge called our attorneys up to the stand and my adrenaline started pumping. I got hot all over. I was trying so hard to be brave but I felt the fear gripping my chest and the tears welling in my eyes. Suddenly a song that my friend wrote started playing in my head. It is a song written in Gods perspective to us. The lyrics are so comforting. It talks about how God will stick by our side. He will help us through the night. He will be with us. We will be forever His child. This song played over and over and over in my head until our first recess. During that recess I called my friend Marco who wrote the song and thanked him for it. Subconsciously, it had pointed me back to Christ instead of looking within for strength. He reminded me that God was with me in that court room and I wasn’t alone. He told me that God’s angels were fighting by my side and I can rest in Him. I walked back into the court room and for the first time since I had been in court, I prayed. I asked God to come in and take my fears and anxiety and be my strength. I let go and let God.
The rest is history. I was still an emotional wreck but I was strong. And the judge ruled overwhelmingly in my favor. God had already fought the battle for me. It was amazing.
Just before the Savior went to the cross, He gave His disciples a priceless gift. In John 14:27 Jesus says: “I am leaving you with a gift: peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” Our Savior has left us with an unshakable peace which will sustain us in the most difficult times. The apostle Paul confirms this when he says in 2 Thessalonians 3:16, “May the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance.” Let these words from the Savior encourage your heart today: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matthew 6:34) God bless y’all.
Written by Whitney Wells