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5th of March

Coping or Living?


I’m clinging.  I’m holding tight to a Scripture verse and not just as some theoretical, pie-in-the-sky, feel-good, hope-it-works, string of words.

I’m clinging to a verse as though my life depends on it.  Because it does.  Because if I don’t cling—if I don’t savor and swallow and live each word, I will die from anxiety.  I’m just that way.  I can worry myself soul-sick to the point of feeling like I’d rather die.

So I’m holding tight to a prescription and a promise written there in 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.
 
Worry is an action, a behavior.  It may start with a feeling, but worry doesn’t have to become a behavior.  Worry and anxiety can become a prayer and a faith in a promise.

A friend defined anxiety so beautifully a few weeks ago.  She said it is “an evil and corrosive thread that chokes.”  She’s right.  Anxiety and worry choke the life right out of us.  They invade each fiber of our being and corrode.  And that’s just plain evil—against God’s desire for us.

And God knows we live in a world where evil is still alive and well—where the death curse still operates in all, at every level. 

In all of us, an undercurrent of anxiety, a knowing of our deep vulnerability taunts and threatens.  And we try—so—hard—to keep ourselves and those we love safe.  But we know we can’t control everything.  We really are powerless in so many ways.  And that knowledge—we try to bury it and deny it but it churns and burns and chokes life right out of us—the abundant life Jesus wants us to have here, in this life. 

So how do we cope? 

STOP!

I don’t want to just cope!

Jesus didn’t say He came to help us COPE.  He said He came so we could have LIFE, and have it to the FULL.  Right here.  Right now.  Not just someday, somewhere, somehow.

If that’s why Jesus came—if we really take Him at His word here—it must be POSSIBLE to have a full life without being consumed by anxiety over all that can and does go wrong.

So how can we THRIVE, and really LIVE, and OVERCOME the anxious undercurrent that threatens to suck us down and drown us?

Believe God’s word.  Practice God’s word—word-for-word.

In two verses, God gives the prescription for anxiety and the promised result of ingesting His words as directed . . .
 
Do not be anxious about anything.  Anything.  Refuse to be anxious.  Refusing is a behavior.  This day I will refuse to be anxious about anything for I know that everything is in God’s hands and He loves us with an unfathomable love.

 

In everything, pray.  This day I will pray about everything that causes anxiety.  I will pray and leave my concerns in God’s hands.  And if I slip and try to take them back, I will give them back.  I will to not be anxious this day.

 

In everything, petition.  I will keep asking God for what I think I need but I will trust that I don’t even know what I need.  I will trust that God will always give me and others what is needed for our good, because He is always good—even though what is given or allowed might not seem good to us.  And I will keep petitioning with persistence.

 

In everything, give thanks.  I will to give thanks IN everything, even if not FOR everything.  For when we give thanks, anxieties melt, worries fade away, and life choking becomes life breathing.  I will to give thanks in everything because God is IN everything and He is worthy of gratitude. 

And here comes God’s promise for swallowing the prescription as directed . . .

And the peace of God—which transcends all understanding—will guard—your hearts—and your minds . . . There is no peace like God’s peace.  If you’ve felt it, you know.  It’s deep and refreshing and soothing and—really—it’s beyond words, beyond understanding. 

And God’s peace GUARDS.  God will guard us with His peace.  He may not remove the source of anxiety YET, but it will be removed somehow, sometime.  Until then, He gives us HIS peace which we can soak up, bask in, relax in. 

And He guards TWO things because He created us to think and feel.  He guards our HEARTS.  The feeling center where we can ache and where we can nearly explode with joy.  He will guard that place with His peace—if we swallow the prescription as directed. 

And He will guard our minds—if we let him—if we follow the prescription as directed.  He will guard our minds and help us focus on His truth, not Satan’s lies.  He will help us focus on all the beauty in His world and all the ways He has been faithful.  He will burn fear straight away with His peace—if we let Him.

In Christ Jesus.  IN.  Not with. Not around.  Not beside.  IN.  As we abide IN Christ, we experience abundant life because JESUS IS LIFE.  Press IN.

Life to the full is ours for the taking, today.

So, today’s a new day.  And as the sun peaks above the horizon and slips behind a bank of clouds, I will believe in what I cannot see.
 

I’m going forth knowing so many of my friends and loved ones are in painful places right now.  But instead of choosing to be anxious, I will live God’s prescription and fully live . . . in peace . . . today.

Praying for you, this day.

Join me in living the prescription for TRUE LIFE?

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