Fear. Anxiety. Worry. These words are an all too familiar part of my vocabulary. There are days I feel like a rock star in my faith. I’m trusting God and worries roll right off my back. There are other days when I could literally have a panic attack over nothing like what to eat for a snack or big things like the safety of my family. Anything and everything is fair game.
I’ve been wondering lately why one day I have peace and the very next day I’m a basket case. I’ll admit, for a variety of reasons that are “understandable,” lately I have had more days of being fearful and anxious than days filled with peace. I put “understandable” in quotation marks for a reason: as humans we can justify anything. It seems completely normal and justifiable to worry about jobs, money, family, safety or anything else you can think of. But the last time I checked there has not been one time that God tells us to worry. Never. Not once.
Matthew 6:25-27, “Therefore I tell you, worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Worry about these things. They are pretty important. It is understandable that you would worry, storing up more treasures on earth. Worry makes for better days and can even add years to your life. The more you worry the more control you will have and the more you will change the outcome of all the things that consume your energy.”
How ridiculous does that sound? And yet that is how we often live!
I could be wrong about this so please correct me if I am. I remember learning that God commands us to not fear and to not be afraid more than any other command in scripture. That carries some serious weight. God, our Creator, knew we would need this reminder. And for Him to command “do not fear” more times than any other command, He must have known this would be a sticking point for us as humans.
So this brings to me to the how. Given that I still wrestle with this daily I do not claim to have mastered the discipline of experiencing peace. But one thing I have learned is that communion with God is about the only way to deal with this. Talking with God and listening to His answer through scripture and quiet time is how we take steps towards experiencing a peace that passes understanding. The real passage in Matthew 6 tells us the how, by “seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Here are just a few other promises from God’s Word that help ground me when I feel I may be spinning out of control. Read them each in context. Some are spoken specifically to certain people, but we serve the same God.
- Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
- Psalm 34:4,7, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears…The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.”
- Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
- Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
- 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
Living in God’s peace means trusting and letting go. It reminds me to let go of my Control Freak tendencies. We can be delivered from all our fears. “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” Ah, the peace that passes understanding because of this truth.
My prayer for you today is that you will move just a little closer towards God, letting him be the controller of your life. Resting in God’s presence…there is nowhere else I would rather be.
…for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.