In Week 2 of the Sunshine and Scripture Tour, I’m welcoming blogger Julie Loos of Unmasking the Mess. I’ve always admired the story-telling, transparency, and passion in her writing, bringing biblical points close to the heart. And as one who also has struggled with anxiety, I’m especially happy to share her wisdom and prayer here with you all. May we cast all our burdens on our Almighty God!
As I looked around the room, I noticed others trying to keep themselves busy by reading, playing cards and watching TV. I yawned and debated about grabbing a cup of coffee, but my stomach felt upset and I didn’t think mixing the two would be a good idea.
The clock on the wall seemed to have stopped as I waited for word of the end of my husband’s surgery.
It was only a surgery for a broken wrist which needed a metal plate and screws fused to it, but being put under anesthesia always had its risks. My husband depended on the use of his hands as a carpenter and the hobbies he enjoyed.
What if the damage was severe? What if he couldn’t use it again? Our daily life depended on his use of his hands.
The knot in my stomach kept cinching tighter and tighter. I could use a worry prayer as I sat in this situation.
Anxiety Takes Our Focus From God
Anxiety has been a longtime friend of mine, and as I sat there, it wanted to pull up a chair right next to me and invade my thoughts. The problem with it descending upon me was it liked to stay longer than it needed.
A concern is a valid feeling, but anxiety can push our minds to the extreme. Anxiety is a lot like a spinning top. It begins and spins fast out of control affecting other areas of life. Many times, it takes us down as our health suffers.
As humans, we like to think we’re in charge of situations. When these conditions become out of our grip, we become anxious and worried.
The problem with these feelings is they make us focused on ourselves instead of God.
Have you been there, sinking under the weight of anxiety? Could a written worry prayer help you during these anxious times?
When we’re ultra-focused on other things than God, it becomes an idol. It causes us to miss out on the blessings in the here and now. We forget to be thankful when we are so self-absorbed in the midst of anxiety.
It might not be a golden calf idol, but it’s an idol nonetheless when it takes the place of God in our life.
Destroying the Stronghold Anxiety
(Philippians 4:6-8, NLT).
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Breaking down this passage:
1. Pray about everything – which puts our focus on God.
2. Give God all our concerns.
3. Thank God for all the blessings in our life.
4. Guard our minds by fixing them on God’s truth.
When we become intentional in these actions, then we will experience God’s peace.
We can’t expect God’s peace if we don’t follow these guidelines. When we have God’s peace, we won’t be a susceptible to worry and anxiety.
Many times I hear people saying, “I’ve given my concerns to God, but I’m still anxious.” Have you followed the steps in Philippians? Have you surrendered to God’s timing and are you patiently waiting and trusting?
Charles F. Stanley says, “God assumes full responsibility for our needs when we obey Him.”
Anxiety can be a massive stronghold on us which is hard to break. It requires us to be intentional in our thoughts by guarding them throughout the day. It takes strength and willpower; however, God can help us if we ask.
Living with Full Confidence in God
In John 4, we meet a government official who has traveled 20 miles by walking to see Jesus. This man’s son is dying, and he had faith that Jesus could help him.
Imagine the anxious thoughts swirling while he walked these 20 miles to Jesus. How many “what ifs” were plaguing his mind? Jesus was his only answer, the situation was dire, and his son might not make it.
As he walked mile after mile, I wondered if he had a worry prayer? How did he keep going instead of becoming overwhelmed with his situation?
This official asked Jesus to walk back with him and save his son. He was confident Jesus could heal his little boy. Jesus told this man to go back home and his son would live.
The man turned around and went home. He’s stopped on his journey by servants that tell him his son is alive and is better.
Here’s the significance – this government official had worldly superiority over Jesus, but yet he humbled himself to Jesus.
He believed and went back to his life fully assured God would come through for him.
This man didn’t get paralyzed by this anxiety, nor did he analyze the situation with “what ifs.” He practiced the four ways to combat worry and didn’t let fear overcome him. He didn’t just say he believed but returned home in full confidence.
Are we living in full trust and confidence that God is in control? When we pray about a problem, are we believing God will do what He says?
God promises to help us overcome anxiety and any other stronghold in our lives. It requires work on our part, wisdom from God and dependence on Him. We need to work in tandem with Him.
Life will always be trying, but when we have an intimate, daily relationship with our Father, we can leave the “what ifs” behind by focusing on Him. The key is we need our Savior every day, we need to humble ourselves to Him and ask Him to keep us secure in Him. He will guide and lead us through the difficult times.
My husband recovered quickly and has full use of both of his hands. God answered our prayers and used this situation to increase our faith.
A Worry Prayer
Father – you tell us not to worry about our lives (Matt. 6:25-34) because you will provide what we need. We can trust in you with all our hearts (Proverbs 3:5-6). When we use prayer and thanksgiving, the worry melts into your peace (Philippians 4:6-7).
You assure us worry doesn’t accomplish anything – rather it is a sign we don’t believe your promises (Luke 12:24-34). When we come to you, you will give us rest (Matt. 11:28-30) and leave us with your peace (John 14:27). Amen!
I have held many things in my hands, and have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.
Julie Loos is the mom of 5 kids and has been happily married to Greg for 19 years. She loves to read, eat chocolate, drink iced tea and spend time writing in the midst of messes.
You can find her blog at www.unmaskingthemess.com.
Julie also wrote Being a Woman of More Worth than Rubies on this blog.