How are you feeling, friend?
Has anyone asked you that today or even this week? I know that for most of us, this year has felt heavy and weighted. Weighted down by uncertainty, unanswered questions, and unexpected changes, which can all lead to anxiety.
A few weeks ago, I shared with you my run-in with anxiety and how God has been speaking to the anxious corners of my heart. Well, friend, the Lord showed me something again this week related to this topic of anxiety, and I feel like He wants me to share it with you. If you’ve been battling the hardships of life recently and feel like you’re in desperate need of some solid ground, my prayer is that the words you’re about to read would land your feet, and your worries, on the sturdy shoulders of Jesus.
The last time we met, I shared with you how the Lord revealed to me that I hadn’t been totally humbling myself before Him. I had been battling with anxiety, which translated to panic attacks, and I found myself sitting in His presence with a confused look on my face with the question of “why?”. If you’ll remember, He directed me to 1 Peter 5:6-11. And pointed out that the command to “humble yourself under God’s mighty hand” comes directly before the command, “cast your anxiety on Him.” He showed me that I couldn’t live my life with fists clenched tightly closed and receive His peace at the same time. I had some surrendering to do. Sis, since the Lord has revealed this to me, I can honestly say that my heart feels lighter. I know there is still work to be done, though, because when you’re trying to dispel the grip of anxiety, it takes intentionality and a whole lot of grace.
Most of my anxiety comes from struggling with the tendency to grasp for control when my life feels out of whack, rather than lifting my hands to the Prince of Peace. When I’m faced with a situation in my life that seems above my paygrade, I strive and striving leads to anxiety. I start running a race that I wasn’t created to win because I’m afraid that my world will spiral even further if I don’t. All the while, I don’t realize that while I’m running a race not meant for me, Jesus is still walking at the same pace He always has. He’s not anxious, He’s not taken off guard by my circumstances, and He’s not striving to get ahead of the storm. He walks with the peace of a man who knows He’s in total control of the thunder and directs every flash of lightning. The rain doesn’t intimidate Him, the hail doesn’t even touch Him, and the winds and waves are hushed by a single whisper of His voice. If this is the God I serve, the God who goes before me, behind me, and beside me…
Why do I run?
Why do I strive for control that leaves me riddled with worry and anxiety? My head knows who Jesus is, but it seems all too frequently my heart forgets to check in with my head.
Why is there such a disconnect?
It’s because I suffer from spiritual amnesia and forget who He is when life gets crazy. I struggle to believe in those moments of uncertainty that He will be enough for me. There’s this soul weed inside of me that battles with believing He is who He says He is when things aren’t going my way. It’s easy to praise His name when my life is going the way I want it to. It’s harder to trust and praise when life feels like it’s turning upside-down.
So, Sister, I’ve had to do a lot of remembering as of late.
Remembering who God is.
I have found that when I take time to remind myself of the truth of who God is, my heart catches up with my head. So, to wage war on this disease of unease, I would like to take the next couple of weeks and dispel the grip of anxiety 2020 has wrapped around us by remembering the attributes of God.
Let’s start today by remembering that God never changes. He is unchangeable and unmoveable.
God gives us clear assurance of this in Malachi 3:6 when He says:
For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.
I love looking at this verse through The Message translation as well:
I am God—yes, I Am. I haven’t changed. And because I haven’t changed, you, the descendants of Jacob, haven’t been destroyed.
The I Am never changes, Sister.
The storms of life will come and go, but Jesus remains the same person He was five minutes ago before your world flipped over. His goodness doesn’t falter, His love never fails, and His faithfulness remains the same. He still sits on His throne, and His pace never changes because He can’t be caught off guard by the turn your story is taking. Why?
Because He is the Author of your story.
The Author can be trusted. The Creator can be counted on.
We must choose not to be consumed by the anxiety that seeks to steal our peace and make us forget who God is. It cannot destroy us because the Great I Am holds the reins of our lives, and He is oh, so good, and we are oh, so loved.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me. It’s ok to have freakout moments, Sis. Have a meltdown. Feel your emotions. Please don’t run from them. But do it in the presence of Jesus. Freakout into Him, not away from Him. Ask Him to remind you of who He is and who you are in Him; you belong to Him, He’s your Heavenly Father, and He aches when you do.
As I wrap up this message that I believe it is for someone special out there, I am watching October coming to an end outside of my window. The leaves are changing and falling, signifying that summer has come and gone and fall is here to stay, if only for a little while. It reminds us that life is meant to bring change; seasons were meant to come and go, which makes me wonder if things are supposed to shift to remind us that Jesus never does.
I leave you today with this thought…
What if our comfortable lives are meant to be turned upside-down every once in a while to remind us that He alone truly is enough, our only constant and our greatest reward?