From the beginning of this particular struggle with anxiety, God sent me comfort in Scripture verses. For example:
Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.” Psalm 116:5 and 7 “The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.” “Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” Romans 8:39 “[Nothing] in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (All New International Version or NIV) I often went back to Isaiah 41:10 in the Amplified Bible: “Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.”
I wrote these and many others in my journal, but I also wrote:
“The feelings of anxiety are so strong that my mind can’t seem to grasp this comfort. In anxiety mode, I feel unable to believe or trust. I feel like I can’t hold onto truth.”
Maybe I couldn’t hold onto truth, but God held onto me. When I believed in Jesus Christ as God’s Son and committed my life to Him, God made me His child. (John 1:12-13 says that whoever wants Jesus and believes He is who He claimed to be—that person can become God’s child. God becomes their Father.) At that time, God took me in His hands and has never let me go. He has promised that He never will, and He keeps all His promises. Hebrews 13:5—“…God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Jesus said, “No one can snatch [My sheep] out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (from John 10:28-29). (Both verses NIV.)
My feelings can’t change the truth of God’s Word. Neither can my self-doubts, sweaty palms, trembling body or overwhelming panic change the truth of God’s secure hold on me. Because I had trouble believing that in my journey through Anxiety Valley, I’m thankful for our pastor who reminded me of the truth when I needed to hear it. And since I’m feeling better now, I offer it as hope to those who are feeling the way I did.
“Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” (Proverbs 15:30 NIV)
Light in the eyes means the messenger brings good news. That news brings joy to both the bearer and the hearer.
<p class="wp-block-syntaxhighlighter-code brush: plain; notranslate">Whether I'm bringing good news or just contributing to conversation, I want my words to help and bless.I can see that I need to choose my thoughts wisely since the things I say result from the thoughts I think. (Luke 6:45 NLT–“What you say flows from what is in your heart.”) </p>
Lord, please help me think about what is right and true and excellent and praiseworthy. (Philippians 4:8) Then the words that come out of my mouth will build others up and bring blessing. Holy Spirit, thank You for persistently reminding me to practice wise thinking. The more I do that, the less I fall back into old habits of self-pity, anger, jealousy, and criticism.
Today let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart please You and bless others. (Psalm 19:14) Amen.
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2-3 NIV).
I didn’t do very well at this today when I ran up against a rule I didn’t like. The man I talked to said he didn’t make the rules; he just had to obey them. It was a state regulation. “Stupid rule! Grumble, grumble. How inconvenient!” Oops. That’s definitely not “what is above” thinking. Either I had forgotten to set my mind on heavenly things, or it had drifted off. I felt disappointed because I couldn’t do what I’d planned. But why was I so irritated? Maybe in pride and self-focus I think I have the right to say how things ought to be. Then I’m upset when they don’t go that way.
Next time, I hope I can do better at setting my mind on things of heaven and at remembering that I have died, and my life is now in Christ. I want to bring every thought captive to Jesus (2 Corinthians 10:5) and reorient my thinking back to its set point—things above.
(Set point=the level or point at which a variable physiological state (as body temperature or weight) tends to stabilize.
Once in a small group meeting, I lamented the fact that I had wasted much of my life in living more for me than for Jesus. I added, “And now I’m old. I don’t have very much time left to live for Him and not myself.”
One of the women responded, “Yes, but when you repent and go God’s way now, you aren’t just changing for the rest of your earthly life; you’re changing for eternity.”
Wow! That’s right. I had forgotten. Remembering this truth helps me “forget what lies behind” and “press on toward the goal of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).”
1 Peter 1:23 NLT “For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.”
One of my goals this year is to learn to listen better—especially to God. The following reminded me of my need to work toward this goal.
At a family holiday gathering, one of the exhausted children whined for his father’s attention. All the adults, including his father, were busy with other pursuits. While I worked on a craft project, the Holy Spirit nudged me to help the child. I thought, “I’d comfort the boy, but I don’t know what to do. My attention or attempts to comfort would only get him more upset because I’m a rather distant relative.”
So I asked God what I could do, but I kept on working on my craft instead of stopping to listen. After a few minutes I got an idea of what to do. By that time, however, the child had sat down on the couch and fallen asleep.
By being too busy to listen to our Father, I missed an opportunity to obey Him and perhaps become less distant to my young relative. Maybe I can learn from this experience to stop and listen next time the Holy Spirit nudges.
“…Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled.” -Hebrews 3:15 New Living Translation
As a young person, I prayed to know God’s will, mainly wanting to know what career I should choose. I didn’t hear any answers to that prayer. I had grown up in church and committed my life to Christ at an early age; however, I didn’t learn to rely on Him and to submit my will to His until years later.
Most of the time, I tried to live by feelings, fear, “ought-to’s,” and my own understanding. This resulted in my making many poor choices in life. Those decisions never gave me the happiness, satisfaction, or sense of being loved which I craved. It’s no wonder they didn’t provide those things, though. What I longed for comes only from trusting and loving God with my whole being, letting go of my own ways, and living for Jesus. I wanted good things, but I didn’t trust the Giver of all good things.
Although my faith has grown since then, I still don’t always make wise choices. But I’m learning to trust God more and ask Him about things in life. I’m also trying to focus more on Jesus and less on me. How thankful I am for God’s patience and forgiveness! He never quit loving me, and He never gave up on me.
Thank You, Lord.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 – NKJV
“But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for ‘the just shall live by faith.’” Galatians 3:11–NKJV
Today as I focused on Jesus—His beauty, wisdom, goodness, and grace—a thought of past failure came to distract me. So I had to remind myself that my past was taken care of at the cross.
Thank You, Jesus, for carrying my sins away there.
Yesterday’s gone. I can’t go back there. If I keep trying to go back, I’m going to miss Jesus in the now. He is living TODAY. Likewise, I won’t see Jesus in this day if I get off into the lands of “What if…” or “If only….”
My thoughts, words, and actions today are writing a page in the story of my life. When it is written, I want it to bring honor and praise to God my Father and His Son Jesus Christ. His Holy Spirit gives me power to do that.
Jesus calls me to follow Him and abide in Him in this “Today.” So I tell myself, “Stop looking at guilt and regret, and quit trying to control tomorrow. Look at Jesus and trust Him.”
“Blessed is the [person] who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For [they] shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8 NKJV)