Colossians 3:8-10 says, “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. ….” (NIV)
Get rid of anger…how? Is that really possible? I think of a recent situation and wonder why I felt so angry at a couple of the women involved.
One reason—My old self wants to be in control and make them do what I think is right and possibly even get back at them in some way. But the “new self” me wants to obey Christ and forgive and remember that vengeance is God’s job, not mine.
Second, maybe I’m not trusting God to make everything work out for good. Perhaps I need to remind myself that Almighty God is still on His throne and that He is accomplishing His plans and purposes in ways I can’t imagine.
I can grow from this situation which is beyond my control if I will humble myself and submit to Christ’s Lordship and allow God to renew my thinking (Romans 12:2).
“Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome” (Genesis 32: 28, NIV). So said the “man” who wrestled with Jacob.
How could Jacob win against God? Maybe God let him win. Or maybe the victory was Jacob overcoming his own stubbornness of doing his own way instead of submitting to God’s ways.
I struggle myself sometimes with that submission. I tend to try to manipulate people or circumstances to make things turn out the way I think they should. Maybe I’ve even tried at times to manipulate God.
I’m so glad that You, God, won’t allow that! You are sovereign, all wise, good, and faithful. Your plans are always better than mine. Sometimes I forget.
A hymn from my childhood by Eliza E. Hewitt (Verse 3):
“Give Me thy heart,” says the Spirit divine;“ All that thou hast to My keeping resign; Grace more abounding is Mine to impart—Make full surrender and give Me thy heart.”
The blue-violet blooms along the fence first caught my eye, And milk-white blossoms splattered the green weeds around them.
I found a bunch of bright golden black-eyed Susans nearby.
And look! A puff of pink wild roses.
Fragrant white-crowned yarrow marches beside the road While tumbling water clatters through the rocky roadside ditch.
Thank You, Lord, for these beauties attending my morning walk On this cloudy day in June. This visual feast—Your gift to me—eases my weariness from yesterday’s disappointments. My faltering faith leaps to life again as I remember Your presence and love. All praise and thanks belong to You, God. Let heaven and earth, all people and all creation give Glory and honor to You, O Lord our God! Amen.
When our boat overturned, the river started to pull me downstream. Then one of the men reached to pull me out of the rushing water. I felt his strong arms lifting me up.
Jesus, when the world pulls at me and I feel as though I’ve lost my footing, please rescue me! Lift me up with Your strong promises which reach out with arms of faithfulness.
My church children’s group used to sing, “Safe am I in the hollow of His hand. Sheltered o’er in His love forever more. No ill can harm me. No foe alarm me, for He keeps both day and night.”* Lord, I will trust You no matter what happens. I can find rest in You. (See Psalm 62:1)
Psalm 145:13-14 “…The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.” (NIV)
“For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the Lord. They rejected my [Wisdom’s] advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit ofliving their ownway….” (Proverbs 1:29-31, NLT)
The bitter fruit of living my own way– Hmm, not my idea of a great lunch. So I need to choose to fear the Lord today and listen to wisdom’s advice and correction. But how? What does that look like in practical living?
Maybe to receive this day from God’s hand and trust in God’s love for me and in His power to accomplish His purposes.
Or to let go of trying to control or struggling to prove I’m right.
Or perhaps to go God’s way as He teaches me in His Word, biblical teaching, and counsel, instead of leaning on my own understanding. (See Proverbs 3:5)
Proverbs 1:33 gives blessed assurance to those who listen to Wisdom: “But all who listen to me [Wisdom] will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.” (NLT)
At one time when my anxiety symptoms intensified, I reached out for help. Through a series of misunderstandings, I ended up spending a night in a “suicide watch” unit, even though suicide has never been an issue for me. But while I was there, I met a young mother who had tried to take her own life. I wished I knew how to help her.
Since then I’ve learned of others with similar struggles. I prayed privately for one young woman: “Father, she can’t seem to grasp how much You love her or how precious she is to You or how faithful and mighty You are or how You are for her and not against her. Please help her.”
2015 San Francisco, CA
I understand where she’s coming from. I remember when I went through my own storm of anxiety. My troubled mind latched onto doubts and let truth slip out of my hands. I wrote wonderful verses in my journal, like Romans 5:5, “…For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” Also, Psalm 56:9, “…This I know: God is on my side.” (Both are New Living Translation) Still I felt unable to trust and believe the truth.
Doubt pointed at me (and my focus followed his pointing finger) and whined: These things are true for others, but maybe not for me. I don’t have as much faith as other people. I might not love God enough, or perhaps I’m not good enough. There could be conditions on these promises that I’m not meeting.”
Two things that helped me were getting proper medication and understanding that I could choose to believe God no matter how I felt. Now that storm has passed, and I’m learning to turn my gaze away from me and back to God. It occurred to me that whatever I’m lacking, He is great enough to make up for. He calls me to believe Him, trust Him, and rest in Him.
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Speaking to his infant son John (John the Baptist), Zechariah said, “[You will give the Messiah’s] people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins…[and the Messiah will] guide our feet into paths of peace.”
Thank You, Jesus, for guiding my feet into paths of peace.
When I go Your way regarding anxiety, I receive peace beyond understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). If I trust You and anchor my mind in You, You keep me in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). You give real peace, not the shaky peace the world gives (John 14:27).
Jesus, You tell me not to let my heart be troubled or afraid. Sometimes I think I can’t prevent my heart from being troubled and afraid. But the truth is that with Your Holy Spirit in me, I have all the power I need to choose obedience, trust and peace instead of fear, agitation and anxiety.
Yes, thank You, Lord, for Your guidance into pathways of peace.
When did I begin this journey toward wholeness? I had thought I began in early November of 2016, but really, I’ve been on the journey all my Christian life. Likewise, I had thought it ended by the first of March 2017, but again, my walk toward wholeness won’t end until my life on earth is complete and I see Jesus face to face. (1 John 3:2–Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him as He is.”)
Nevertheless, during that 4-month period, I struggled with the brokenness of anxiety/ depression in a way that made that part of the journey particularly noticeable. So how can I encourage others who find themselves on the same road? There is one thing I could say to those who follow Christ yet feel overwhelmed with anxiety or depression symptoms: You can be sure that God is with you. I was so wrapped up in anxiety that I had trouble believing that. Frequent verbal reminders helped me. Many Scriptures tell us this truth, but because I couldn’t feel God’s presence, I wavered in unbelief. I hope you’ll do better at believing than I did, but even if you don’t, He’s still with you, loving and helping you through it all. And He will still be with you when you come out on the other side.
How do I know? First, because God has promised and He is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”) Second, because of what God did for me. How thankful I am for God’s faithfulness to me and His patience with me!
Psalm 139:5 “You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand on me.” Psalm 23:4 “Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me.”
Hebrews 13:5-6 “…for [God] Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you. Therefore, we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
(Scripture quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.)
As I said in my August reblog, God offered spots of sure footing as I hiked through my valley of anxiety. In addition to those in that post, He gave me these:
My enemies say, “There is no help for her in God.” If there is no help in You, then there is no hope. Only You can help. But surely there is hope and help in You, Lord. You are almighty, and Your Word is true. Your Word says You love me and will help me. (Psalm 3:2-5)
I feel powerless, but I’m not. God has given me a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). I will walk by the Spirit and be victorious.
I am in the hands of the Lord God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. Nothing can pry me loose from His hands (John 10:28-29). Even my failures, sins, and poor choices cannot loosen God’s grip on me. When fears or insecurity block my view of God, He is still here (Ps. 139).
I need to believe God rather than fears and doubts and feelings. My anxiety feelings are lying to me. They don’t change the truth of God’s Word. The fears and doubts are lies. The “what-if’s” are lies. I will stand on the truth.
Lord, Your delayed answer is better than the quick fix answer I want right now. Your ways are always better than ours. Help me please to trust You and Your love and mercy and to wait for the best answer. Help me believe You are holding me up even though it doesn’t feel like you are
Thank You most merciful Father and God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3).
A couple of winters ago, I went through a 4-month long battle with anxiety. Most of the time, the anxiety had the upper hand, but God, using various means both “sacred” and “secular,” faithfully helped me through the struggle. During that time, I felt humbled as God exposed pockets of unbelief and pride in my soul.
All my life I had tried to perform to perfection (unbelief pocket). I constantly compared myself with others, looking down on some and looking up to others, thinking I ought to be like them and feeling ashamed that I wasn’t (pride pockets).
My prayer: Lord, I need help! How can I break free from these ugly traps? I need to trust Your grace instead of thinking I have to be perfect for acceptance. You hate pride. I don’t want to continue in it. In Your Word, You tell me to keep my eyes on Jesus and to set my mind on things above (heavenly things) where Christ is. Holy Spirit, please help me put these Scriptures into practice in my daily life. Amen.
With my eyes on Jesus, and my mind set on heavenly realities, I can get away from self-focus, dump the ungodly stuff out of my pockets, and fill up on the life God gives.
From Hebrews 12:1-2 “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith….”
Colossians 3:1-2 “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
Psalm 16:8 “ I have set the Lord always before me [One version says ‘I keep my eyes always on the Lord’]; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.”
(All Scriptures NKJV.)