Many, many people suffer from anxiety. Anxiety is a big ball of fear or worry and can lead some to experience panic attacks. In my last article, I shared how I have been shackled by fear most of my life. What I did not share was how to break those shackles from a practical perspective. I have had the opportunity to spend time this week to study Scripture verses offered by friends. During my time of studying, I learned that Paul gives us practical steps to overcome anxiety. I had a “duh” moment after I reread, several times, Philippians 4:6-9.
Loud tearing and creaking noises fill the air as the front part of the two-story building
slowly rips and falls away from the building. Contents of the small apartment
begin to slide toward the new large opening where the wall has pulled away
and falls toward the earth. I jump into my toy-box, the one with chalkboards for
doors, hoping it will keep me safe. I’m too scared to scream. I saw my mother’s
bed slid out of apartment. Her bedroom is closest to the wall that ripped away.
The noise is getting louder. Where is my mom? I don’t know if she was in bed,
or in a different room. I begin panicking in the small box until … I wake up.
I watched Paul Tripp give an hour long talk about suffering this week, Suffering: Gospel Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense, while speaking at The Gospel Coalition (TGC) Conference in Indianapolis. He used Psalm 27:1-5, grounding his points in the beginning words of verse 1, “The LORD is my light and my salvation.”
Most, if not all, of us have heard the concept of how people use different filters to interpret the world, interactions with others, and circumstances. Thinking about this concept, I starting to think about filters, actual filters. Filters exist for furnaces, water, cars, coffee pots, cameras, and more.
One of the things our church does in life groups is ask, “What evidences of [God’s] grace did you experience this week?” I’ve known this question as, “Do you have any praises?” I think the former, rather than the latter, question is a bit more accurate because any praise we can give to the Lord for blessing us is due to His grace being extended to us. This morning the Lord extended His Grace to me in a big way.
JD Greear shared in his Gospel with JD Greear devotion on the YouVersion app that while he was growing up, he felt that being a Christian required checking off a list of responsibilities. Did he read the Bible? Check. Did he pray? Check. Did he tithe? Check. I, too, felt the Christian life was full of checking off lists of doing the right thing: praying, reading the Bible, tithing, witnessing, going to church every time it was open, not drinking, not having illicit sex, not using profanity, not cheating … you get the idea. My experience with learning about the Bible in church was academic in nature as well.
I recently attended a women’s retreat at my church where the topic was Joy. More specifically, it was about having joy in the Lord. One of the things that robs believers of joy is guilt. I began thinking about my own struggle with guilt. Experiencing guilt isn’t always bad, but how do I know when guilt is from the Lord or from Satan? How do I discern guilt that is the Holy Spirit convicting me to confess and repent, and when Satan is heaping shame on me?
I thought I had it figured out. That I was clued into understanding something important. A simple concept...our significance is in the Lord. Our significance is not determined by our relationships, professional success, intelligence, health, accomplishments, or our physique. Seems easy to understand and live, right!? I am finding that it isn’t. A friend suggested the article The Secret to Living Well in a Scary World by Matt Smethurst, which I read. Wow, did it hit me and expand my understanding of how I fail to find my significance in the Lord. While reading Smethurst’s article, I realized our significance is also not determined by our fears, failures, illness, or being rejected by others.
Have you ever found yourself going through the week and then it was interrupted with humanness? You know, when another human hurts your feelings through their words, actions, or both? That happened to me this week. I was going through the day this past week, when my blissfulness was interrupted with humanness. Okay, maybe I wasn’t experiencing blissfulness. However, I was excited and hopeful. And, surprise, my feelings were hurt by another person.
Have you heard that phrase, “Let go and let God?” Maybe you have said it to others? Or, perhaps you have had it said to you? I used to hate that phrase . . . literally . . . after hearing it a hundred times during my teen and college years. Okay, maybe it wasn’t a hundred, but it sure seemed like it!