Anxiety and Community

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Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

In the world of Christianity, you will most often hear, just give it to God. You will also hear, these scriptures 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” and Psalm 55:22 “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Here’s one more many recite in times of crisis, it’s found in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Although, these scriptures will give you peace (when you receive them) for all your concerns, they can also come across cold and churchy at times too.

My anxiety level for the past four months has been all over the place between trying to sell our house in Georgia, looking for a home church here in Florida, having one vehicle for our family of six, and wondering where in the world we are going to live.

It’s a weird place to be. If there was such a place as purgatory that is where I feel I’m at. Everything is on hold and I’m just sitting here waiting.

Cast means, to throw (something) forcefully in a specified direction. Yes, I’ve done this and peace comes, but after a week or so when I see no movement and no answers anxiety creeps in again!

I’ve learned when the feelings of anxiety overtake me I turn on worship music and pray. When the music isn’t penetrating my thoughts like I need it to I send out a S.O.S. to a few of my family members.

Don’t try to battle anxiety on your own! God did not create us to walk alone. He desires us to hold each other up when our brother or sister is too weak to stand.

My mama sent me this story a couple months back. It really shows the power of support.

When a mama elephant is giving birth, all the other female elephants in the herd back around her in formation. They close ranks so the delivering mama cannot even be seen in the middle. They stomp and kick up dirt and soil to throw attackers off the scent and basically act like a pack of fierce bodyguards.

They surround the mama and incoming baby in protection, sending a clear signal to predators that if they want to attack their friend while she is vulnerable, they’ll have to get through forty tons of female aggression first.

When the baby elephant is delivered, the sister elephants do two things: they kick sand or dirt over the newborn to protect its fragile skin from the sun, and then they all start trumpeting, a female celebration of new life, of sisterhood, of something beautiful being born in a harsh, wild world despite enemies and attackers and predators and odds.

Wow, what a visually….and in the subject line of my Mama’s email, “I’ve got you Sissy.” Talk about the water works flowing!

God knew I didn’t need another scripture, I already knew His promises, but they weren’t piercing through my thick scull. Instead, I just needed to know someone was going to battle for me when I was down and too weak to fight for myself.

I’m sharing all of this to say, the next time someone shares their fears and worries with you, don’t be quick to blurt out a scripture. Instead, pause a moment. Only God knows what that person needs. Yes, it could be a Bible verse or it might just be open ears, closed lips, and a tight embrace.

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Happy Pl

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My heart smiles as I watch them run and play. In these moments I feel alive and peace rains down! No screaming, no attitudes, no tattle telling, just giggles and hair blowing in the wind. I store this picture in my heart, then when chaos erupts, I close my eyes and visualize our happy place.

The funny thing about this “happy place” is, the lack of growth. We rarely grow in times of peace, but rather in times of struggles. Friend, don’t rush to always be at your “happy place”, learn to grow and thrive in the chaos. Accept the chiseling, the chipping away of bad, that God is performing on your life and make a choice to persevere. It took over 15 years for Leonardo da Vinci to paint the Mona Lisa and he wasn’t even working with her heart or soul. We are God’s masterpiece, a continually work in progress, and the fire is what releases the impurities of our heart. When you feel the heat today, take a moment to exhale and know He’s creating His Mona Lisa or Sally Sue or Maria Gonzales (you get the point) in you.

Throw It Away

IMG_1397A youth leader once told me, many years ago, “tell me what your room looks like and I can tell you how your spiritual life is.” You have to know she was talking to a group of high school students, we all know high school students aren’t the cleanest bunch, but I personally think this can be true for adults too.

We have an abundance of “stuff” in our house, to the point it’s hard for us to focus and to manage our daily activities efficiently. I would love to purge our entire house in a day’s time, but that’s not possible. So, today we started with the school, gathering bags, and bags of trash (three little girls equals lots of random art work, did I say LOTS). We also, bagged items to give away. I dusted the fan, blinds, desks and the air vent. Taking this time to invest in our house and get things in order, brings clarity and productivity back into our home. The room looks amazing and my spirit is beaming inside.

Don’t allow that overwhelming feeling, like where do I even start, come over you as you look around your house. Take one room at a time, a day or even a week at a time.

The same goes for your spiritual walk. We allow “distractions” to sit on the shelves of our heart and negative thoughts to take over our minds, like dust and cobwebs, making everything filthy. It’s time to clean house, spiritually. We must spend time with God, purging the “stuff” of worthlessness out of our heart and mind. You know what I’m talking about…anything that speaks against God’s word…
I can’t forgive…THROW IT OUT!
I’m not good enough…THROW IT OUT!
My marriage will never change…THROW IT OUT!
I’ll never find a job…THROW IT OUT!

What are you waiting for, it’s time to clean house literally and spiritually.

“I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”
~Phil. 4:13

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
~Romans 8:37

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;”
~1 Corn. 6:19

Waiting vs Attitude

20141103-200005.jpgPatience is not about waiting, but your attitude while you wait.

Is your marriage struggling? Do YOU feel like you are the only one putting any effort into the relationship?

Friend, don’t grow weary…seek God and He will give you the strength to push through, because it is His will for your marriage to succeed. But he doesn’t desire for you to just wait with a spirit of hastiness and irritation. He wants you to wait with love, peace, faith, and patience (with a good attitude).

You won’t be able to do this alone. Your attempts will only lead to frustration. Call on God and allow him to fill you with new hope and love everyday.