Most of my life I have struggled with anxiety and insecurity. There were days, if I could get myself out of bed, I would not leave my home afraid of what evil or injury may befell me. Honestly, there are still days my Germaphobia paralyzes me at the entrance of a building afraid to touch the door handle or hinders me from even shaking people’s hands. When fear is not wrestling with me insecurity is. Unsure of my abilities and fear of failing has left many a dream incomplete or unfulfilled.
Discovering the Word of God has been this empowering gift! While I continue to battle my fears and phobias, the Scriptures have given me strength that nothing else was able to. I can stand on the Word of God to battle those demons that threaten to steal my joy and derail the plans God has for me. Listening to Jesus in the Gospels teaches me how to trust in Him, have hope and discover that I am loved beyond measure. Those battles that have lost in the past are now squished beneath the weight of the truth the Scriptures speak to my heart.
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” ~Jeremiah 29:11
How often I look at the current circumstances of my life and wonder – does God REALLY have a plan for my good in this mess? As I struggle to wiggle out from the burdens and anxieties of this world, it is very hard to believe in the promise found here in Jeremiah. Then I remember the hope of my future is not for this world but for one in Heaven. We will not be abandoned. God is with us and He has promised us eventually it will all work out – that is our hope. If that promise is not enough to ignite a spark of trust, maybe the next line from Jeremiah 29 will, “Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord.”
“Have no anxiety 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 passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:6-7
There is no beating around in this verse – St. Paul is clear what will bring us peace. He throws around words like ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. However, in my state of worry I usually mix them up, having anxiety about EVERYTHING and not bringing ANYTHING to prayer. So much can steal our peace – illness, finances, teenagers – even the innocuous words of a friend. Bring it to Jesus. Maybe the answers will not be exactly what you expected or hoped but you can be assured it will always result in a peace that is beyond understanding.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” ~Proverbs 3:5-6
How do I stray from my path? So often detoured – tempted and distracted along the way. In all things and with all my heart – I will praise and thank the Lord. I will trust in His way! How often he has shown himself trustworthy though I deserve no such proof.
“Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.” ~1 Peter 5:7
Peter was a fisherman. When Peter went fishing, he would cast a large net over the side of the boat and wait. When he speaks these words of comfort to us, casting is meant as an image of giving it all to God and letting him take care of whatever is bringing you woe. I am a fisherman too but I bring a rod and reel. I cast and reel back in, again and again. This is how I approach trusting God. I cast the care, worry or trouble to God then either out of guilt (should I really be bothering the Creator of the Universe with my problems) or impatience (waiting is not my favorite) I reel it back to myself. May I learn to trust in the amazing way St. Peter instructs; cast the anxiety (such as finances, my health or family) and then be ever confident in God’s care of me.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life?” ~Matthew 6:25-27
Worrying certainly does not extend a life; stress can actually have the opposite effect. Worrying never solved a problem nor has it brought peace. Anxiety paralyzes. The lesson here – realizing that God knows what you need well before you have even thought it. While we may go without things we want, God promises we’ll always have what we need.
All scripture taken from Revised Standard Version on Biblegateway.com. Copyright 2017, Allison Gingras
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