God always delivers

I have a nasty habit of stressing out and then feeling peace after God has made His move. I don’t trust Him as I should. I praise Him after the situation passes, but I don’t praise Him before or during the situation.

God offers the best rest possible. He covers us with His feathers through the storm. He is a sturdy rock of foundation. The waves cannot toss Him. We are safe in Him.

I can breathe and live in God’s peace all the time. I just have to choose it and believe in His power. I don’t have to work myself up over every little or big thing. God has ultimate control. Nothing slips past Him. He made the highest mountain. Mountains are no match for Him.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, mountains are no match for me, or you, either. Praise God!

I’m worth it and so are you.

It has taken me years to realize that I am worth it. I grew up in church, Sunday school, and vacation Bible study, so I’ve known that Jesus thought I was worth dying for. What I didn’t learn was that I need to also find myself worthy.

I struggle with depression and anxiety. Sometimes I have to fight my way out of negative thinking.  I have to fight to leave the house. Sometimes I have to fight to do so many things. I have to convince myself that I am worth the effort.

A therapist once told me that if I can’t find 10-15 minutes a day to show love to myself, I must not think I am worthy of love. Many times I do not think I am worthy of love, at least not love from myself.

Maybe it’s easier to believe that God can love me than it is for me to believe that the person in the mirror can love me. God is more familiar with my flaws than I am.

When it comes to how I treat myself, I am my worst critic. I am my worst judge. I am quick to condemn and I hold grudges. I am not good at forgiving myself. Sometimes I feel like I need to keep it all bottled up to prevent a massive emotional spill.

What I need is that release. I need to give it to God. I need to let go. The work to fight for myself may get easier over time, if I don’t give up. The release may be scary, but it will feel better when it’s over and Jesus will be holding my hand the entire time.

Survive and Advance?

I struggle with finding joy in the moment. I am getting better at letting go of the past, but I settle for just surviving the present in hopes that the future will be better and brighter.

I can battle my way through. I can push my head above water. Why can’t I rest? Why can’t I float? What battle am I constantly fighting?

Through Christ, God grants me peace beyond all understanding. God is not only in the past and future. He is in the present. What am I doing?

Am I ungrateful for the present? Am I lacking in faith to feel God in the present moment? Am I afraid to accept God for who He is in the present moment? I know I need to ask for forgiveness. Thank God that He knows what’s going on, even if I don’t.

Right now I have pinned my hopes on tomorrow being better, but what’s so bad about today?

I need to let go, but of what? I know I can’t control the past or future, so why have I convinced myself that I have some control over the present?

Lord, please forgive me for not trusting You at all times. Please open my heart, eyes, and minds to see You more clearly at all times. Help me to seek You and feel You at all times. Help me to let go of my own hand and grab onto Yours. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

Trying to leave the cave

I am trying to get better at resisting temptation. I’m not just talking about temptation as the world considers, like Las Vegas-style temptation. I am talking about the temptation to give up hope. The temptation to settle into anxiety and despair.

I am trying to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). I am trying to pause and breathe with every event, be it big or small.

I am trying to remember to tell myself that God is in control. I am trying to remember to tell myself that it is not my responsibility to save the world. Jesus did that. I am trying to appreciate each moment as a chance to learn something. I am trying to see each moment as a moment in God’s hands. I am trying to remind myself that I am safe.

Is this easy? Not for me. I struggle. I am so good at being depressed and anxious that I feel strange being happy and joyful. I am used to living my life expecting something bad or worse to happen. I am used to carrying a heavy heart and mind. I’ve become comfortable in the darkness.

When the light peers in, I shy away. It doesn’t feel good, because I haven’t allowed myself to see it as a good thing. I talk myself out of hope. I have trained myself to love the dark.

It is scary trying to come out of the cave I built for myself. I need to do it, but I also feel a need to squint my eyes away from the light.

 

 

Right on time

I subscribe to emails from www.alldevotion.com. Today’s message was right on time and perfect.

“Today God wants us to know that you are to trust yourself.
If you do not, then you will forever be looking to others to prove your own merit to you, and you will never be satisfied. You will always be asking others what to do and at the same time resenting their help. Trust in yourself starts with being ok with the consequences of your decisions.”

This morning, I was late walking my dog because I needed to spend a few more minutes with God. I spend so much time and energy concerned with what others think of me, even people I don’t know. Whenever I make a mistake, I feel like the entire world is spending their time and energy ridiculing me. I am desperate for everyone to like me and to approval of me.

I seek approval from the world. I seek guidance from the world. God is my backup plan.

Man that is so backwards!

I need to trust myself, meaning I need to trust in who God created and called me to be. I need to rest in the assurance that the battle is His and not mine. I can let go of the shackles I place on myself. Those shackles are formed of what I think the world expects from me. I am constantly trying to prove myself to the world. I don’t need the world’s approval to validate me or my worth. Christ already determined that. I am priceless in Christ.

When I rest in God, I am free. Jesus takes my yoke from me. This isn’t just past tense. He continues to life my burdens. I am free.

I can breathe. When I sin, I can ask for forgiveness and repent. I don’t have to repeat it over and over again in my mind, weighing myself down. I can stand assured that no matter the consequences, God will not give me more than I can handle. He will be there for me.

I can stand in assurance that even if other people don’t like me or agree with me, I will be ok. I have God. There is no need to stop everything to try to figure out how to please them. I can continue living the life God has for me. I can move on, in victory.

This doesn’t mean I should just go about sinning whenever and where-ever. It means that I am a child of God and that there is still hope for me. Christ paid the ultimate penalty and I am able to live victoriously over temptations and sins.

The weight on my chest is gone. My spiritual lungs are clear. They are breathing deeply and inhaling joy and peace. They are exhaling troubles and burdens. Praise God!

 

Focus

I like to think that I am good at multi-tasking. The truth is that I’m not. Today that was demonstrated to me while I was driving over to my parents’ house to visit. While I was driving, my dog started vomiting in the back seat. I had to keep my eyes on the road to protect everyone on the road, but I kept looking back to see if she was ok. I couldn’t do both things at once. I had to choose. When I got to my parents’ house. I went to check on her and cleaned the back seat. Nothing good would have come if I had gotten into an accident, especially if someone else had been involved.

This reminds me that I have to choose God. I have to constantly choose God. God is the safest and surest option. Choosing to ignore God or choosing to move Him down my list of priorities is a danger to myself and others.

Lord, please forgive me for not making You the first choice in my life. Please forgive me for considering other options. Thank You for Your mercy and for keeping me and others safe from my poor choices. Holy Spirit, help me to truly, wholly and completely focus on God and His Will. All praises to Your Holy name! In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” ― Stephen R. Covey

“The will of God is not something you add to your life. It’s a course you choose. You either line yourself up with the Son of God…or you capitulate to the principle which governs the rest of the world.” ― Elisabeth Elliot

“What you stay focused on will grow.” ― Roy T. Bennett

Stop and Think

I am an expert of thinking myself into stress. I will get all worked up over something and then finally look for or work towards a solution. I will work myself into suffering symptoms from anxiety and then pray about it. I don’t stop to think about the right things.

Instead of stopping to think of how mighty, loving, and creative God is, I stop and think about how I can’t endure the situation. Instead of stopping to think about how nothing is too big for my God, I fret over how a solution seems impossible. Instead of stopping to think about how I am making a mountain out of a molehill, I try to climb the mountain by myself. I also complain about the mountain.

I need to stop and breathe. I spend to channel that energy into prayer and letting God guide me to the solution he has for me.

I can panic about the smallest things. Today I was anxious because my grocery stopped carrying my preferred brand. I didn’t stop to think that there are other brands and other stores. I didn’t stop to thank God that I can afford to shop for what I need. I didn’t stop to think about how God provides for his children. I didn’t stop to think that this wasn’t a crisis and did not warrant a crisis response on my part.

Stop.

Breathe.

I am ok.

I will be ok.

Things will be ok.

My God has got this.

I’ve got God and He’s got this!

Peace and blessings to you.

Proverbs 3:5-8 Amplified Bible (AMP)
5 Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart
And do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
6 [a]In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him,
And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord [with reverent awe and obedience] and turn [entirely] away from evil.
8 It will be health to your body [your marrow, your nerves, your sinews, your muscles—all your inner parts]
And refreshment (physical well-being) to your bones.

Footnotes:
Proverbs 3:6 One of the ancient rabbis said that all the essence of the Torah (Law) depends on this verse.

Bible Gateway

The power of prayer

I am usually hesitant to ask for prayer. Maybe it’s my pride. Maybe I don’t consider myself worthy. I would much rather pray for someone else than ask for others to pray for me.

I am learning that there is peace in asking for prayer. It’s not selfish. It’s wrong of me to think God can’t handle it or that He doesn’t want to help me. I am insulting God.

I feel an emotional release when I finally do ask for prayer. It’s humbling. It’s freeing. I can feel the weight being lifted off of me. If only prayer would become a habit like grinding my teeth when I am stressed.

“The reality is, my prayers don’t change God. But, I am convinced prayer changes me. Praying boldly boots me out of that stale place of religious habit into authentic connection with God Himself.” – Lysa TerKeurst

“The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.'” – Billy Graham

“Rather than set aside daily time for prayer, I pray constantly and spontaneously about everything I encounter on a daily basis. When someone shares something with me, I’ll often simply say, ‘let’s pray about this right now.'” – Thomas Kinkade

Philippians 4:6-7 Amplified Bible (AMP)
6 Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. 7 And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].

Mark 11:24 Amplified Bible (AMP)
24 For this reason I am telling you, whatever things you ask for in prayer [in accordance with God’s will], believe [with confident trust] that you have received them, and they will be given to you.