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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Distraction = Anxiety

I am practically BURSTING to share with you what I learned yesterday.

If I could paste the Beth Moore video RIGHT HERE I would. 

Except that's illegal. :)

So, instead, if you have the opportunity, go HERE and purchase the video for Session 6. Even if you have not followed along with the rest of the study, this video is AMAZING, it can stand alone, and it's only $4.99!
By now, it is NO SECRET that I struggle with fear and anxiety. At least, it isn't if you've read any of my posts in The Anxious Mom Series.

Beth Moore looked right through my laptop screen yesterday and spoke directly to me. 

So today, consider this typing of the keys of my keyboard as being a message directly to you...you the one who struggles with fear and uncertainty and anxiety.

If you have your Bible, please open to Philippians 4:6-7. If you don't have a Bible, I'll post it below or you can look online at Biblegateway.org.

          "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,                      present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard              your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (NIV)

Look at the Message version too:

          "Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praise shape your worries into                      prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness,                          everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens                  when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life."

If you're like me, you have read and re-read those verses until your eyes glaze and they almost lose their meaning. 

But, let's look at it the way Beth Moore presented it...

When Jesus was tempted by Satan, how did Jesus make Satan run away?

By speaking the Word of God to Satan.

There is power in speaking the Word of God out loud! 

Why does God want us to pray to Him when He knows everything we're thinking, everything we're going through? I mean, He can read our minds. 

God can, but Satan can't.

Beth pointed out that there is power in speaking God's Word out loud so that those in the Heavenly realms can hear you. Satan hears you

And what he is hearing is our prayers of thanksgiving. Our praise. Our reaffirmation that God is sovereign and that He is Lord. Those verses say to pray when we are anxious and offer thanksgiving. That opened my eyes. Instead of just praying, like I usually do:

"Father, please remove this anxiety from me. Please keep my children safe. Please make me more like You..."

I need to be listing out all that I am thankful for and all that God has done for me. 

I think it's for many reasons.

Not only is is offering God the praise He rightfully deserves, but it is also, again, reaffirming that He is sovereign and He is my Lord. 

Also...it reminds me of all the times God has delivered. It puts in the forefront of my mind all the times I have been fearful or unsure or even unsuspecting, yet God has come through. And that He is trustworthy.
It's as much for us as it is to glorify God and to shame Satan.

Beth also drove this home...

Look at Phil 4:6 again...

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything..." (emphasis mine).

God tells us to pray about everything.

Not just what we consider the "big stuff".

Everything. And do it out loud!

And look at this verse from Daniel:

"And when Daniel was lifted from the [lion's] den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in His God." (Daniel 6:23b, emphasis mine).

Look also at verse 27 of the same chapter:

"He [God] rescues and He saves."

2 Timothy 4:18:

          "The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His Heavenly Kingdom.                To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen."

I believe that anxiety is a part of spiritual warfare and a way Satan attacks us and tries to derail our focus from our ministry (and we all have a ministry) and from honoring, trusting, and glorifying God.

Look with me at 1 John 4: 16b, 18.

THIS BLOWS MY MIND!

          "God is love...There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." (NIV)

          "God is love...There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life--fear of death, fear of judgment--is one not yet fully formed in love." (MSG)

Satan operates using fear and shame and guilt. God operates using love and forgiveness and grace. When those feelings of fear and anxiety rise up and threaten to take our very sanity, our joy, we need to recognize that those are methods Satan uses. Not God. We need to speak out loud to God, offering Him praise and thanksgiving, recounting--out loud--all the ways He has provided for us, been there for us, blessed us.  

Let's not be like Peter who took a few steps on water, while watching Jesus, and then when the feelings of fear stepped in, and he took his eyes off the Lord and got distracted, he sunk. 

And if we are like Peter, and we find ourselves sinking and focusing on the fear rather than God, let's at least reach out for Jesus, like Peter did, and grab His hand for all we are worth. Let's grab it and cling to it as He lifts us back into the boat. (Matthew 14:22-36).

These next 2 parts grab my heart and make me so excited and so thankful for Jesus being who He is:

When the disciples saw Jesus walking on water, they started freaking out (v 26). Verse 27 makes me tear up, "But Jesus was quick to comfort them. 'Courage, it's me. Don't be afraid.' "

Jesus didn't wait until they said the "magic words" or roll His eyes at them annoyed. 

He was quick to comfort them. 

Peter feels so good, he hops out of the boat and starts walking to Jesus on the water.

While Peter is starting to panic and sink because he got distracted, took his eyes of Jesus, and let fear take over, he cried out, "Master, save me!"

How many times have we cried out in the midst of our misery, in the midst of an anxiety attack, in the midst of thinking something bad is going to happen or we're going to die?

You know what happened?

"Jesus didn't hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, 'Faint-heart, what got into you?'" (Matthew 14:30b-31)

What is your lion's den?

Mine is anxiety and worry and fear that something will happen to my kids. 

Will I be lifted out with no wound, because I trusted God to protect me, or will I be eaten alive by my own wavering faith and fear?

Or will I lift up my hand to Jesus and take a hold of it with all that I am and all that I have?

Jesus is asking all of us, "Faint-heart, what got into you?"

It's not an accident those words were recorded for you and I to read. God is meticulous. He intended for us to read about the disciples' fear and how Jesus was quick to offer support and to remove that fear. 

He is offering that to us as well. 

Father, first of all we praise You for being all that You are...perfect, kind, loving, just, gracious, and merciful. We admire the beauty of the world You created. We thank you for all the blessings You have given us, some that we don't even recognize. Thank You, Father, for Your unfailing love and Your quickness to reach out Your hand to us. Please don't let us hesitate even a moment longer to reach out to You. Please let us feel You grabbing our hand and saying that You're here for us. Please help us keep our eyes fixed firmly on You and not on the waves and storms of life. We need You. We love You. In Jesus's name we pray, Amen. 

The Anxious Mom Series:
Post #1 is HERE.
Post #2 is HERE.
Post #3 is HERE.
Post #4 is HERE.
Post #5 is HERE.
Post #7 is HERE.
Post #8 is HERE.

*I am not a medical or mental health professional. The things that I share I have learned through Bible study, conversations with others and personal introspection. If you feel you will harm yourself or someone else, seek professional help immediately. Do not hesitate. There is NO SHAME in seeking help. A list of resources can be found HERE.        
  
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