Day 10: Anxiety + Humility

I grew up in the church, so I know this verse well. You probably do too.

“Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:7‬

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It’s plastered on coffee cups and calendars, inside the pages of journals and preached on from pulpits. And it sounds so good, but it always felt so elusive.

I always wondered…“How do I cast my cares upon Him? And leave them there? How do I rest in His care for me?”

There’s another verse we hear a lot…

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you”
1 Peter 5:6

It was almost a year ago when I realized these verses were next to each other. I wondered how I had never noticed. It was right there the whole time. It gave a whole new meaning to that “popular” verse, and opened my eyes to the meaning of humility before God.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:6-7‬‬‬

Our releasing of anxiety can’t happen until we stand humbled before God.

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Because…
Anxiety says, “I need to fix this.”
Anxiety says, “I need to control this.”
Anxiety says, “I need to make this happen.”

But humility says, “My life is in God’s hands.”

“He has all the power and authority on heaven and on earth.”

“He knows the beginning from the end.”

“I am powerless without God’s Spirit empowering me.”

“He is in control.”

And it’s humbling to look at our lives and realize that truly we are not in control. It’s humbling, threatening, and scary…until we realize that the One Who is in control cares for us.
“He cares for you.”

Anxiety and humility are tightly entwined. Lack of humility before God will lead to anxiety. Humility before God will lead to a releasing of anxiety, because we can trust both His power and His care.

Be blessed
<3

Fearing Change: {Different Doesn’t Mean Bad}

 {I wrote this post just a few days before our sweet son was born. And now that he is here, I want to share it with you even more, because I’ve found it to be so true this far.}

Nearing the end of this pregnancy, there have been days where the fears have begun to flow. Because change is coming…

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Any parent will tell you that your life will never be the same after you have a baby. And that’s good to know, but at times, it’s incredibly scary to hear.

There was one morning, where my fears began to rage and I just wanted someone who’d been there to sit me down and tell me that it would all be okay. And I could feel my heart beating faster and my blood pressure rising as fear began to grip my chest tighter and tighter.

So I prayed and dug deep into my fears and prayed even harder. And I was walking down the street to Starbucks, with our laptop in tow, when God spoke freedom straight into my anxious soul.

Maybe you aren’t a soon-to-be parent, but maybe you do have change looming on the horizon of your life. Maybe it’s a small change, like moving to a new house or starting a new position at work. Maybe it’s a large change like moving across the country or even across the world.

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But whatever change you’re facing today, and whatever fears that change is stirring up inside you, I pray that these truths God whispered into my fearful soul will comfort you too…

Different doesn’t mean bad.

Hard doesn’t mean worse.

Overwhelmed doesn’t mean defeated.

Exhausted doesn’t mean hopeless.

 

Different doesn’t mean bad.

Lonely doesn’t mean alone.

Small doesn’t mean pointless.

Painful doesn’t mean joyless.

 

Different doesn’t mean bad.

Needy doesn’t mean helpless.

Difficult doesn’t mean worthless.

…different doesn’t mean bad.

 

Yes, my life will be different with a baby.

Yes, our marriage will be different as parents.

Yes, my body will be different postpartum.

Yes, things will be different…but different does’t mean bad.

 

Different doesn’t mean that I’m forgotten or forsaken.

Different doesn’t mean that I’m left hopeless or joyless.

Different doesn’t mean that I’m without peace or rest.

 

No matter how challenging my different is, no matter what challenges my change brings, God is the same. 

No matter how scary your different is, no matter what challenges your change brings, God is the same.

We still have moment by moment access to Him for peace, comfort, joy, and hope. We still have His Spirit living inside us. We still have a calling and ability to bring Him glory in whatever we do.

Oh what joy to know that however the landscape of my life might change, my God never will. And through Him, different will never mean bad…because different need never mean without Him.

Be blessed

 

Thankful: {Just a List}

Some days my heart just needs space to breathe in thanks.Some days my heart just needs to set aside the passion and the vision and the teaching and perspective shifting and simply say thank you to the Giver of all good gifts.

   
ThankfulList2

ThankfulList2

ThankfulList1

ThankfulList1

ThankfulList3

ThankfulList3

So that’s what I’m doing today.
I’m taking a break to just observe God’s goodness around me and to give thanks.
Will you join me?

My Grace Gifts List:

stormy summer afternoons

an exercise ball to sit on

peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal

my husband working from home

“my kids” (aka. my tutoring students)

my son and his frequent wiggles and kicks inside me

painted toe nails

cool summer mornings

wisdom from my mama

cuddles with my hubby

hot baths

provision from unexpected places

maternity shirts that still fit…barely

stretches that relieve all sorts of tension

the power and grace I find in God’s Word

a glass of cold water

answers to questions we’ve been asking for a year

fuzzy blankets thrown haphazardly over couches

baby diapers stacked and waiting

tired, non-productive days

lines of text typed out

…and I could go on and on.

I’m thankful. And when I take the time to be thankful, I’m peaceful. God is so gracious if I will just choose to look. So here’s my thankful list for this moment.

What is on your list?

Be blessed
<3

Content with Today: {My Life Plan}

MyLifePlan1

MyLifePlan1

In March of 2013, I started getting worried about the long term…about our life direction, our life plan.

The past year and a half had been about right now, about today and the ministry God had called us to right here and right now. The focus had been on sustaining ourselves through one more day, one more week, one more month to do the ministry God had placed in front of us. I hardly ever thought about the long term…

I rarely thought about starting a family or moving to a bigger apartment or going somewhere in life or our long term calling. Our lives were right here and right now and that was all I needed to know. We knew where we had been called today, and that was enough.

But suddenly, I began to worry about the future…
What if we had kids?
What if our expenses increased?
What were our life goals?
What about retirement?
What direction were our careers heading?
What were we really doing with our lives?

And none of those questions are inherently wrong. It’s where you allow those questions to take you that determines whether they are good or bad.

I look back now and know that those questions were surfacing because God was leading us in a new direction.
Seven months later we decided to start a new business.
Two months after that, we launched a business.
One month after that, we were pregnant.
And now, almost nine months later, we are getting ready to welcome our son into our family and my husband is starting into two new part time jobs, while continuing his business on the side.

   
MyLifePlan2

MyLifePlan2

And as these changes came one-by-one, my heart began to tighten in fear of the future. I began to let my eyes slip off of what God had called us to today and wander down the road of the next sixty years in fear.

Because I don’t know where God will have us in twenty years or ten years or five years or even in six months. And that is scary…but it isn’t bad.

It isn’t bad to not know your life plan. It isn’t bad to leave it in God’s hands in order to simply be obedient with the calling you have and the direction He is pointing you in today.

But fear began to tell me otherwise…and I began to listen.
And when I began to listen to fear, I found that our lives seemed pointless, our borders seemed too small, our calling seemed unimportant, and our income seemed to be never enough. Fear kept me focused on and trying to plan for a future I can’t predict.

Fear told me the lie that the calling God had given for today isn’t enough. That I need to know my calling for tomorrow as well, so that I can prepare for it.

But that is so rarely how God works.
He calls us to be faithful with what we have today.
He calls us to work hard where He has placed us today.
He calls us to do the ministry He’s set before us today.
He calls us to live within the means He has provided today.
He calls us to grow where we are planted today.
He calls us to step out in faith today, not knowing where the path will take us long term.

I don’t need to know what life will look like in a year. I just need to know that my life is about following God wherever He may call me.

I don’t need to know where I’ll be in twenty years. I just need to know what God has called me to today.

I don’t need to know where my income will come from in six months. I just need to know that God has provided for today and that I will continue diligently with the work He has placed in front of me.

I don’t need to know my life plan. I just need to know that following God wherever He leads will be the best plan for my life.

Because at the end of my life, the only thing that will truly matter is how my life followed and brought glory to God.

And in the last three months, God has shaken me awake with these truths. I don’t need to know the long term. I just need to know that He is good and that He has a plan for me. I just need to know where He has called me today. And my mind must be made up that I will follow Him, no matter where He leads.

So today, if you don’t know what is coming, if you are finding yourself stressed out and overwhelmed in the face of the rest of your life, find peace in what you do know…in where He has called you today.

Yes, pray and seek out those next steps as you need to, we’ve spent so much time doing just that. But in the process, stay focused on the work He has placed in your hand today.

Be blessed
<3

Three Things: {What I’m Reminding Myself This Week}

If you’ve ever been pregnant before then you probably know that tired feeling that I’m experiencing right now. When you sleep and sleep, and maybe even actually sleep well, but you’re still just so tired. And when I get tired, I get so easily overwhelmed.
Then the tired gives way to anxious and worry until it feels like I either need to hide under the covers and never come out or simply focus all my energy on putting one foot in front of the other.

And although some days I do need to simply curl up under the covers for a long nap, I don’t want to give up on life or simply survive it.

I want to thrive.
I believe God desires that I thrive…even in the hard seasons and the tired seasons.

So this week, in the midst of the tired, I’m preaching these three things to my weary heart…

ThreeThings2

ThreeThings1

ThreeThings3

I’m reminding myself who I am.

I am a daughter of the King.
I am beloved in Jesus.
I am set free from sin and shame.
I am forgiven and am being changed.
I am radically loved by God, regardless of my performance.
I am called to a unique calling.

And I’m reminding myself I don’t have to do it on my own.

I am called to serve God, but I am not called to do it on my own.
I am being made new, but I am not called to remake myself.
I am commissioned to love and serve, but not in my own strength.

God wants us to seek His help.
God commands that we call on His strength.
God has given His Spirit to help us when we ask.
God never intended is to live this life apart from His help.

And I’m reminding myself that there is peace in relying on Him.

I don’t have to earn God’s love.
I don’t need to prove myself to Him.
I don’t have to do and accomplished to be loved or valued.

God promises that His yoke is easy.
God tells us that He set us free for freedom.
God reminds us over and over in His Word that He loved us first…and if that doesn’t bring peace, then I don’t know what will.

I get so caught up in the doing and trying and the being that I forget I was never meant to do and try and be on my own.

ThreeThings4

God never intended us to do this life on our own, and simply remembering that truth and taking a moment to ask for His help will make all the difference.

The secret to thriving is to remember His love and to rely on His strength. That’s what I’m reminding myself of this week.

Be blessed
<3

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