Tag Archives: Truth

Learning in the Struggle – Journey Reblog #12

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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Source of Sabotage

In a conversation with a respected friend, one remark flew right past the logic center of my brain and poked a hole in my heart. My friend had said one thing and somewhere between my ears and my soul it got twisted so that I heard something entirely different.

I heard blame: “XYZ’s unpleasant behavior is all your fault,” and I heard put-down: “You are a bad person, worthy of rejection.”

Aha! Rejection! There’s a mental stronghold where the enemy twists thoughts, shreds meanings, and shoots out his lies. I see other strongholds in my soul too, but what can I do?

Asking the Holy Spirit to show me the truth might help. He points out a foundation stone of pride—thinking life should work the way I want it to. So I could start with humbling myself before God and remembering that He’s God and I’m not.

I’ve let past rejections and hurt feelings build up instead of dealing with them God’s way. Now fortress walls guard a breeding ground for grief and misunderstanding. They ought to come down as I choose to repent of my bitterness and to quit focusing on myself.

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NIV).

(Picture by Colin Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13083522)

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Too Late? (Journey Re-Blog 9)

 

2016 GNP falls A

Twisted thoughts and fears aggravated my anxiety in the journey toward wholeness. I suspected that so far, I hadn’t lived very well the life God gave me. I’d been tangled in self-focus and tripped up by mixed motives and other things displeasing to the Lord. I feared that now it was too late, and I was too old to be useful to God.

I argued with the anxiety. I said, “Moses was 80 years old when he started leading the people of Israel,” and, “Surely one is never too old or too young to serve Jesus.” But neither my trembling body with its sweaty palms nor my panicky mind seemed to be listening to my logic.

So I asked God what to say to the doubts and fears. I think He told me to call them what they are—lies. God’s promises in His Word contradict these mental messages. For example:

“They [the righteous] will still bear fruit in old age; they will stay fresh and green” (Psalm 92:14). [I am righteous in Christ.]

“…I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last…” (John 15:16). [Thank You, Jesus, for appointing me to go and bear lasting fruit. Let me fit into Your plans.]

“[For] it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).

“Because of the Lord ‘s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

“…Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (from Hebrews 4:7, emphasis mine).

TODAY!  It’s not too late! It’s still today. I won’t let my heart get hard. I will choose to listen to God and believe and obey Him today.

Thank You, Lord, for another day—today—to serve You and seek to bring honor to Your name. Amen.

At that time I still didn’t feel better, but now that I’m out of the valley, I have some ammunition against those “too old, too late” fears that sometimes attack.

(All Bible quotes are New International Version.)

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Hope in the Lord

(Picture from Pintrest)

“I try to take one day at a time, but lately several days have attacked me at once,” so the poster said. I laughed because on some days it does seem like life is like that. On those days, maybe I could take some tips from the Psalms:

Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God…!
Psalm 62:1, 5 “I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him. Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him.”
Psalm 100:3 “Acknowledge that the Lord is God…!”
Psalm 131:2 “I will calm and quiet myself like a weaned child with its mother.”

And I could remember Isaiah 40:31 “Those who wait on the Lord renew their strength….”
Oh, may I remember to put these verses into practice next time I feel overwhelmed!

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Journey Reblog 6 – More Stepping Stones

Reblogged 10/12/19

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:

 

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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).

 

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Journey Reblog 5 – Stepping Stones in the Valley

Reblogged August 14, 2019

God gave me “stepping stones” amid the muck of physical symptoms, doubts, and fears in Anxiety Valley. They didn’t make me feel any less anxious, but they helped me get through the days of struggle. Here are a few I wrote down:

  1. Psalm 116:1, 5, 7 (New Living Translation): “I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.” “5 How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours!” “7 Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me.”

I will believe God’s love. Then my soul can rest because in believing I remember God’s goodness and His presence with me. I choose to believe Him instead of listening to the lying anxiety feelings.

Romans 15:13: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Holman Christian Standard Bible).

  1. I love God. I want to love Him more. I want to grow in knowledge and discernment and depth of insight so I can know what is best and what really matters. (Philippians 1:9-10 “I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return” New Living Translation.)

 

  1. Father, You have sent help. Praise music and Your Word offer comfort. You said that You will never fail or forsake me (Joshua 1:5 and Hebrews 13:5). You have promised, and You are faithful (Hebrews 10:23). You sent the pastor and the counselor. You even provided a calmative medicine to help me get through this. You gave me friends and family and church family who love and support me. And the devotional readings! Some seem especially appropriate on the particular days they show up in my e-mail.

Thank You, Lord, for all these expressions of Your love and grace. Amen.

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Journey Reblog 4 – God Sends Comfort

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.

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Looking Through the Faith Filter

 

At times I have approached the Word of God—whether reading, hearing, or studying it—feeling fearful. I feared I could never do enough or that maybe I couldn’t please God or that I would find that I was a hopeless failure. That kind of thinking interfered with the benefit or growth I might have had.

But fear lies. The truth is that Jesus took care of my failures at the cross. Another truth: I could never be good enough to earn God’s love, but God loves me anyway. And another: I’ve received God’s gracious gift of salvation and have become His child. Furthermore, God has given me His Holy Spirit. He is a spirit of power, love and a sound mind (1 Tim. 1:7).

Because of these truths, I can look at Scripture in the faith that says God loves me and wants to show me His ways which are life-giving. When I use that filter—the faith filter—in my reading, hearing, and studying of God’s Word, I can learn to really live.

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Search for Treasure

God is the giver of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. They come from Him (Proverbs 2:6). I need to tune my ears to wisdom and concentrate on understanding, cry out in prayer for insight and ask for understanding. I’ll seek and search for them as the treasures that they are (Proverbs 2:2-4). That’s how I’ll prepare my heart to receive God’s Word, His communication to me. I’ll understand what it means to fear the Lord and will gain knowledge of God (Proverbs 2:5).

Then the wicked one won’t have a chance to snatch away what is sown in my heart. Nor will my heart become stony, preventing my roots from growing deep in love and truth. Likewise weeds of worldly cares and riches won’t have opportunity to crowd out knowledge of God and His ways, which would make me unfruitful in His kingdom. (Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23)

Dear Father, giver of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, grant me these things that I may learn to fear You and be fruitful in Your kingdom. Amen.

(Image from FreeImages.com/kristian stokholm

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Escape

I almost got pulled down into that snake hole of regrets. Again. This time, though,  I saw the way of escape. I said aloud to myself, “I am determined to forget what lies behind and to shut the door on regrets and lock it.
Closed_weathered_door_cr commons
Today is real. I can live in today. The past is no longer a reality for me. I can’t live there. I am determined to live today!” (“Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.”—2 Samuel 14:14 New Living Translation)

Then I thought maybe Jesus was saying, “Come. Let us reason together. Though your sins were like scarlet, now you are white as snow. Every sin was washed away in the blood of the cross. Those sins were removed as far as east from west, forgotten never to be remembered again. Even your poor choices have not interfered with My continued love for you and goodness to you.”
God has loved me with an everlasting love. His plans cannot be thwarted. He can use everything in my life to make me into the person He wants me to be. He doesn’t regret making me His child. Jesus isn’t sorry He died for me.
Thank You, Father! Thank You, Lord Jesus!

(See 1 Corinthians 10:13, Philippians 3:13, Isaiah 1:18, Psalm 103:12, Romans 8:38-39, Jeremiah 31:3, Job 42:2, and Romans 8:28.)

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