Let's pick up where we left off last week in Part One of Anxiety Busters. To read Part One, click here.
I often have conversations with people–both saint and sinner–who are driven by anxiety on a frequent, if not daily, basis. This thing called life can be wrought with stress, pressure, and friction. What we don’t draw from others we bring onto ourselves.
This isn’t new, despite the heightened pace at which much of the western culture lives. The Apostle Paul wrote to a fearful, anxious group of believers in Philippi. They were concerned about the cultural turmoil, uprising in their government and religious leadership, and persecution of the saints. Sound familiar? In the wake of that whirlwind, Paul challenged the believers to let their gentleness be known to all men. Why? “The Lord is at hand.”
It’s as though he could hear them respond back with raised eyebrows because he went further to answer with instructions. “Be anxious for nothing, which means you’ll have to pray with intense fervency and with much gratitude.” Leaving anxiety behind wasn’t something Paul expected the believers to will themselves to do or just dismiss with ease. He knew such thinking was insufficient as he combated this struggle himself. Just a few lines later he confesses in verse 11, “…I have learned to be content…” The key was fervent prayer in partnership with sincere gratefulness and thanksgiving.
The Crazy Cycle of Anxiety
There is a moment in every crazy cycle of anxiety where we have a choice to get off the cycle. As with any habit, it’s easier to create a new habit than to break the old one. But this week challenge yourself to recognize the moment and pause, giving yourself an opportunity to get off the cycle, focus your heart on the Lord, fervently pray, give God praise, and move forward. This may require you stepping away from a heated moment of “discussion” with a friend, family member, or co-worker. It may look like pulling over to the shoulder on the highway during heavy traffic and taking a praise break. You may need to find your prayer closet for the first 15 minutes after you arrive home from work before proceeding with family obligations. Join Paul this week in learning about how to be content in all situations, giving it to the Father, and lifting your heart up in thanksgiving.
The result? I love that only a few punctuation marks separate the problem, the action, and the results in verses 6 & 7! “…And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Could anybody use a little peace that blows your mind?
Paul lets us know here that not only will the peace of God rush in at that moment, but it will also put a guard about us for the future anxiety that attempts to erupt within! Wow! The most critical phrase closes the verse with “through Christ Jesus”. The formula requires the intervention and involvement of Christ Jesus. Keeping ourselves aligned with the plan of God brings about the peace protection plan of God.
We as believers on the Lord Jesus Christ must rely upon His Word to bring Truth to whatever situation we face each day. May the Holy Spirit bring the peace of Jesus Himself to your life today. Remember: don’t be anxious! But pray, tell Him about it, give Him praise, and take in His peace.
Anxiety Busters, Part Two is ENTRY THREE in our blog series, Beneath the Surface. Did this message speak to your heart? It would thrill us if you'd share it with the women under your influence and other ministry wives.
Bridgette Tomlin, founder of Sanctuary, and her husband, Chresten, have been married for 20 years and have been in the ministry together for every single one of those years! (whew!) 19 of the 20 years have been spent in full-time evangelistic work, both stateside and overseas. They have two beautiful blonde babies--ages 13 and 8--and base out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Like many ministry wives she often feels like the red flag on the tug-of-war rope with the children on one end and her husband and the ministry on the other end! When she finds time for personal hobbies, Bridgette enjoys entertaining, blogging, singing, browsing the local antique shops, and sipping on a cup of hot tea for a few precious quiet moments. Her heart is to lead others to the authentic presence of God--through worship, through Word, and through one-on-one connection.