Our world has changed drastically over the course of the past few weeks. At the beginning of 2020, I remember feeling a newfound sense of hope and excitement for the year ahead. I remember a feeling of expectancy. Then Lent came, and the Lord gave me a word to meditate on: FEARLESSNESS. Little did I know that a worldwide pandemic would be rocking my world and the firm foundation of my faith.
In the midst of a global crisis, you are asking me to not be fearful?
How is that even possible?
How can I not live in fear when everyday I show up for work, I am putting myself at risk?
How can I learn to not let fear be the dominant emotion of my day?
How can I live fearlessly in the midst of chaos and uncertainty?
Talk about the irony of God’s timing!
Anxiety isn’t new to me
I’ve struggled with anxiety for a lot of my life. I can remember when I was about 7 or 8 years old and going through a season where I couldn’t fall asleep for hours because of the anxiety I had surrounding going to sleep. I tried sound machines and getting rid of my alarm clock and deep breathing and nothing seemed to help. Then one day I just told myself to stay still and not move. In the stillness, I learned to trade my anxious thoughts for peaceful ones. Honestly, I still have nights where I lay restless, fearful of the future, but God is calling me closer to himself each time I feel myself struggling with trepidation. Anxiety has been a persistent battle of mine for many years.
But the older I’ve gotten, the more attuned I am to my anxiety and how to limit it. I’ve found healthy ways to keep it in check and not let my mind run rampant. Not to say I don’t have my bad days where I feel completely and utterly overwhelmed, but those days are less frequent. I’ve learned to start my day delving into the word of God, equipping myself with the sword of truth. I prioritize exercise and activity because it gives me the time and space to pray, listen to an uplifting podcast, or simply sweat my anxiety out. I know the feeling when my heart is racing at 120 bpm and I feel the nervousness welling up inside of me to breathe deep and focus my attention on truths: God is with me, God strengthens me, God can do all things through me.
Here are a few verses of truth that may help loosen the grip of anxiety…
Fear isn’t from the Lord
Fear is a powerful emotion that the enemy uses to weaken his opponents. Fear has the ability to cripple, but trust strengthens. And when we experience anxiety it isn’t because we lack fear, it’s because we lack trust. Fear is always going to be something we struggle with, but trust thwarts it. So by preaching truths and meditating on the character of God, we turn our fears into FAITH and FEARLESSNESS.
We FIND what we SEEK
When we set our minds on Christ, we will find Christ.
When we set our minds on fear and anxiety, we will find fear and anxiety a plenty.
The key to eliminating our anxiety isn’t willpower or brute strength, it’s by setting our mind on the one who knows all things and holds the entire world in His hands. We are guaranteed to find PEACE, STRENGTH, and FEARLESSNESS when we seek after Christ.
Meditate on the good
We are living in unprecedented times being called to do unprecedented things. We’re daily being bombarded with breaking news, updated statistics, and new protocols and procedures. It’s hard keeping up with it all. But as Christians, we are being called to focus on the good. Our mindset shouldn’t be focused on the negatives. BELOW are a couple of examples of how we can tangibly shift our mindset during these trying times.
Do your best
This week, as I was reading through the Message version of Proverbs, I happened upon chapter 21 verse 31. It struck me, because I feel like it’s an all-encompassing call to action pertinent to the times we’re living in. Whether you’re being called to WFH (work from home), home school your kids, reinvent how you do community, or be on the front lines of care during this crisis, this verse speaks to the season you’re walking through. All we can do is DO OUR BEST, PREPARE FOR THE WORST, and TRUST GOD TO BRING VICTORY. My prayer during this season is that the Lord would help us to shift our mindsets on Him, His goodness, and His provision. Our circumstances may be in a constant ebb and flow, but our God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow! There will be victory when all this is over.