Anxiety (or, pursuing Peace) · prayer

The Power of Being Thankful

Being thankful is so powerful, I’m surprised at how often I need to be reminded to do it. Recently I was struggling with anxiety because of some unanswered questions. I had been losing so much energy, joy, and mind-space to the fearful possibilities on which I was focusing. Fear is such a thief.

One good thing: I spent a lot more time with God because I knew I needed Him. He somehow kept patiently reminding me of what He’s told me hundreds of times before: Remember to be thankful.

Sometimes journaling helps. In an old journal I have written, in large, frustrated letters: “THANK YOU FOR GUACAMOLE.” It was clearly the only thing I could think of to be thankful for at that moment. Being thankful can be hard work, especially when we are stuck in a negative mindset. It often requires creativity. But I find that once I begin, it comes more easily, and can be fun once I get on a roll. 

Being thankful changes our focus, helping us to realize we are not in charge. It digs us out of the trap of negative thinking. And I think there is also an element that can’t be easily explained in the natural — being thankful somehow changes the spiritual “air” around us, and intimidates the enemy of our souls.

Best of all, being thankful is like a GPS driving us in the most direct route to the Presence of the Father. “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name” – Psalm 100:4. And from there, seeing Him more clearly without negative thoughts to blind us, we are more free to worship Him, and to just enjoy being near him. The enemy flees. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” – James 4:7. Being thankful is an excellent way to resist, and it brings freedom.

Anxiety (or, pursuing Peace) · Uncategorized

The Love of Most Will Grow Cold

During a very difficult time, when someone had hurt me and people I loved, Jesus brought this verse clearly to my mind: “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” Matt 24:12. My first thought was something like, “Surely not me, Lord!” It was actually the first time I had ever considered that verse as applying to myself personally. To me, it had always been a more general verse, for the future, for other people in the end times. But as I pondered it, with Jesus there with me, I began to realize that my heart already had heavy frost around the edges.cold

In the following months of journaling (my therapy, my best way of communicating with God and seeing His work and presence in my life), I came to realize I could do nothing about my cold heart. Outward attempts to be kind made me feel artificial. My prayers for this person were bitter. I discovered in a new way that the only cure for my frigid heart was to draw close to the pure and warm heart of my Father God. In this case, I retreated, took refuge. Spent days and weeks, not trying to love or even pray for the person, but instead running to His arms, and staying there. Not doing anything. That is where my heart began to melt. I looked to Him, He comforted me. I didn’t have to do anything else (I kept asking) for a long, long time. Every time I asked, “Should I call? Text?” I heard, “Wait.” Every time I got bombarded with hateful thoughts, I learned to run to His arms, take refuge there, hide in Him. I learned to stay there longer, and return more often.

As I spent time there, I learned that He cared much more about my situation, and justice, and grace, than I did. I was able to fully hand it all over to Him (with a few hundred set backs). I had to hand over the “record of wrongs” (1 Cor. 13) I was keeping, and let Him deal with that. I realized He had things timed, and that much was going on that I couldn’t see. I had to wait. I was learning to enjoy just being in His comforting, sweet presence meanwhile. I realized even more that there was no where I would rather be.

Then an opportunity came to show love, through an act of service, (not my spiritual gift, so it was extra difficult to obey). I had an attitude, but I knew the time was right. And, though it didn’t solve everything or bring on the apology I felt I deserved (I’ve since been able to give that expectation to God to keep, as well), it was a big turning point. It served to thaw that person’s heart and to enable them, and me, to see more clearly.