The last couple of weeks have been a blur-hence no blog post. I’ve been reading Max Lucado’s new book Anxious For Nothing and the timing is perfect. God knows. Being anxious doesn’t just happen when I’m going through a rough time in life, everyday occurrences can create underlying pressures which fly under the radar. Good things can create just as much chaos as bad when focus is on the things.
Daily schoolwork, wonky head squeezing sinus pressure, drivers ed sessions, a dear friend who’s lost her father, and the purchase of a truck are just a few of the stressors that I have given over to someone much larger than I. It’s pretty easy to get caught up in things.
Over the last week I’ve practiced a slowdown. Oh I was still busy, and those things- good and bad- kept rolling over me, but I made myself take the time to look out the window when the sun was shining and thank God for it. Thankfulness isn’t just something we are to practice between halloween and Christmas. It is a lifestyle that first begins with a conscientious choice at times. It is a close friend to peace as well.
Our brains learn some things by repetition. Repetition forms habits. When a habit of looking for things to be thankful for is formed the storm clouds of life look a little less ominous. They are still there but one can see the sky lightening behind them.
Anxious thoughts are soon taken captive by ones that line up with Philippians 4:8 (NLT)….”fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Even if circumstances don’t change you’ll see that your whole world doesn’t revolve around them. ….but you’d be surprised how little by little the circumstances actually can change. A mindset aligned with Gods allows Him to do the work in your spirit, soul, and body. An anxious person quite often is a sick person regardless of their spiritual identity. I know so many who profess Christ, but are sick as dogs because they choose to carry their own loads. 1 Peter 5:7 was written not as a mere suggestion but as guidance for followers to be able to endure through tough times. It says to give ALL your worries and cares to God, for He cares for you. Many stop reading here, but the following verses go on to say that we have to be on alert watching for the devil and his tactics. He wants to destroy us. Remember that everyone goes through ‘life’ but God supports, restores, and strengthens us. So what’s the point here? Previous verses tell us to stay humble before God and men. When we follow this plan of humility we give our lives, our worries, to a God who helps lift us and restore us from enemy attack. Holding on to everything screams distrust and pride. One of my main takeaways from this passage is that Satan uses our own lives to destroy us….and sometimes we don’t even make it hard for him. He gets us to focus on ourselves rather than on the One who desires for us to dwell in Him. It sounds so simple- and it is. We make it hard.
I’m guilty. This last Saturday at a local flea market where my mom and I shared a booth my close, (in distance only), neighbor happened by. Barely have we shared words in almost nine years. I knew she had been through a tough year as I’ve seen her in the yard wearing only a scarf on her head instead of her normally stylish hair. The sadness poured over me as she told of the struggle she has faced, without knowledge of Him who was there to help her. Oh she’s made it through but I wasn’t a light in her life, and I have never introduced her to the source of light that would’ve made her journey much easier. I have been too caught up in my own cloud of anxious thoughts to see through to someone else’s.
Not only do our clouds affect us, they affect others. So another thing I’m thankful for today are times of correction.