Good evening, my dear readers. It’s been awhile. I wonder how you all are doing … ? This is a strange time we’re going through right now. Indeed, when I envisioned 2020 I certainly did not picture a pandemic and America just slowly shutting down. It can be a little scary, and overwhelming, and frustrating, and depressing if you ponder on it, so I wanted to take time today to help us refocus our minds.
We all talk about fixing our eyes on Jesus, but are we really doing that? Are we remembering to cast all our cares on Him and rejoice? Are we recalling that the joy of the Lord is our strength? Are we internalizing the truth that God is our provider and protector? Are we finding rest for our souls in Him?
1 Peter 5:6-10
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
We preach a whole lot about these things, but what does the world see while it watches us react to covid-19? (And life stuff in general).
I was listening to a sermon called Releasing Anxiety by Ben Stuart (great guy) this morning and I was really struck and convicted by something he said. “The world is not impressed when we sing about the Prince of Peace, yet are living lives of stress.”
So what are we telling the world through our emotions and reactions and actions? Are we exuding the fruits of the Spirit:
Read those – no, really read them – and think about how they’re manifesting themselves in your life. Are they?
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
We go around calling ourselves Christians … Christ-followers … Christ’s ambassadors here on earth … God’s children … and then we turn around and start freaking out about everything we can possibly find to freak out about. (Oh boy, am I preaching to myself right now.)
We’re afraid of coronavirus. We’re afraid of government control. We’re afraid of the economy collapsing. We’re afraid of persecution. We’re afraid of the end times. We’re afraid of being alone. We’re afraid of losing jobs or not having enough money. We’re afraid of losing loved ones. We fear death, disease, loneliness, change in plans, and the unknown.
And we go running around in a panicked frenzy trying to act like we can fix this if we try hard enough. We research and study to try to feel like we’re in control. We rail against certain people and come up with conspiracy theories and scare other people.
There is a serious disconnect in what we say and how we live.
If we as Christians believe what we say then we should conclude that there is nothing to fear but the wrath of God. And, in Christ, we are free from the wrath of God!
No fear should overtake us!
3 Whenever I am afraid,
I will trust in You.
4 In God (I will praise His word),
In God I have put my trust;
I will not fear.
What can flesh do to me?
8 You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?
9 When I cry out to You,
Then my enemies will turn back;
This I know, because God is for me.
10 In God (I will praise His word),
In the Lord (I will praise His word),
11 In God I have put my trust;
I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
I know, I know, I know … it’s hard. It’s difficult to digest this truth. And I think some of us have it harder than others – we’re just so naturally prone toward anxiety and depression.
Friends, I know. This is all coming from a girl who has struggled with anxiety and depression for years. It’s a normal part of my day. I wrestled through it this very morning.
And you know what? I don’t think the answer to being fearless and happy is trying harder.
Rather, I think the answer comes through uncovering and rejecting lies from Satan that we believe.
Through intentionally resting in God’s presence.
Through bravely confessing our faults, fears, and sin to God and other believers.
Through boldly proclaiming truth over ourselves even when we are drowning in deep, dark fear or feel nothing at all.
Through consistently soaking in Scripture.
Through praying fervently and honestly – laying our hearts bare before the Lord.
“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Read the Word. Read it! And meditate on it. Do you believe it’s true? Like gut-level believe? You’re assured in your heart and convinced in your mind? Do you believe God’s promise that as you are anxious for nothing, and let your requests be known to Him, and worship, He WILL guard your heart and mind with peace that passes understanding? Do you believe that? Or do you carelessly recite this well-known passage and then go on worrying all the day long as you did before?
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
And think about this. How often do you confess your deep, dark fears to God? How often do you confess your deep, dark fears to your brothers and sisters in Christ? How often do you confess your sin to God? To other believers? There is something radically, unimaginably freeing about confession. About speaking those nasty, dark things that linger always in the back of our minds.
Secret sin. Secret fears. Secret struggles. They isolate us. And that is perhaps the most fearful thing of all. To feel isolated from people – most particularly our family in Christ. And even worse, to feel isolated from God.
Sometimes my thoughts are so dark and troubled that I come to the verge of panic, the brink of despair. But when I speak those supposedly unmentionable things aloud to God and cry out for His mercy, suddenly a light shines onto my trembling heart.
I realize that I am not alone and irredeemable. It is only what Satan wanted me to believe. God is, indeed, here. Only when I feed anxiety and hopelessness and fear and despair I block His presence.
As a human I struggle with all sorts of outrageous and deceptive and terrible feelings. Sometimes I feel nothing at all. I struggle with sin and distorted desires.
But at the same time, as God’s child I am held securely within His hand. And nothing can snatch me from it. Not my terrible fears and feelings and despair. Nothing. He already knows what I’m feeling. And thinking. He already knows my struggles. And I don’t think He turns away from my weakness. Instead He invites me to cast it all on Him and let Him fill me with His strength.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.
Indeed, I am a mess and sometimes feel I am a hopeless case. But with God, all things are possible.
So confess to God daily. Every time a new fear or anxiety pops into your head, immediately, intentionally reveal it to God. He already knows. But maybe you need to really, really know that He knows! Oftentimes we are unconsciously believing that He does not know … we certainly act like it! So tell Him. Confess it. Out with it.
And confess to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Just speaking those fears that have such a deep hold on you out loud can be a such a magnificent release! Like the sun busting through gloomy clouds, you realize that you are not the only one. And you realize you have an army around you ready to fight for you. The rest of the Body of Christ!
25 Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression,
But a good word makes it glad.
If you are deeply struggling, I encourage you to ask people to pray with and over you. Get counsel from a godly pastor. Find a spiritual mentor and meet with them often (over zoom during this time, perhaps!) Be raw and honest about what you’re dealing with. And pray for a heart of humility. And that the Spirit would be at work within you. And listen. And let yourself be comforted. And rebuked. And encouraged. And sharpened. And lifted. And spurred on toward Christ.
Seek rest in Christ. Don’t miss what God is trying to tell the Church during this pandemic! Don’t let fear crowd out His voice. Come to Jesus for He is gentle and He will teach you and you will find rest for your soul.
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Lastly I want to give a few practical tips to embracing rest and ingesting truth. First, be sure to be reading the Bible daily. Maybe while you eat breakfast each morning. You could rotate reading a chapter from the New Testament (why not start in Matthew?) and then Psalms every other day.
Pray daily! I pray aloud on my 20-minute drive to work each day. It is such a beautiful part of my day. Even though I tend to feel numb and disillusioned in the morning, praying aloud in the car really works for me. I find myself earnestly pouring my heart out to God and trusting His provision and guidance for the day. My heart is calmed.
Carve some time into each day to read. Maybe for a half hour before bedtime or something. Studies show that reading reduces stress and helps you sleep better. So maybe this is when you do your Bible reading. But if possible, I encourage you to add some good, Christian novels and Christian nonfiction into your life! I’m currently enjoying The Secrets of the Happy Soul by Katie Orr, Pure Pleasure by Gary Thomas, and The Bride of Stone by Thomas Williams.
Do your best to make time for rest and stillness on the Sabbath. Read your Bible. Pray. Fellowship with close friends and family. Color in an adult coloring book. Go for a walk. Soak in the sunshine.
Unplug from social media for awhile. Give yourself a break from Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, the news, or all of them. Sometimes there’s just too much negative news and scary headlines and tragic happenings and temptation to feel discontent.
Go out amidst nature often! Glory in God’s creation. What beauty! What magnificence! Oh that we would stop a moment and soak it all in. He is such a masterful designer. Also, getting exercise out in the fresh air is a good way to lift your heart.
Seek out good conversations. Talk deeply. Share your heart. Be vulnerable. Laugh. Share what God’s doing in your life. If you’re like me, sometimes a nice, long talk is just what the soul needs.
Worship in the waiting. Stirring music. Amazing lyrics. Songs can be so powerful so I encourage you to listen and worship more! Worship when you’re happy. Worship when you’re sad. Worship when you’re waiting. Worship when your prayers are answered. Worship when you rejoice. Worship when you grieve. Worship when you’re fearful. Worship when you’re confused. Worship when you’re numb. Here is my worship playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLV7fB-3In6dqLodOhgVD-ISlBKkNqApC
So there are some thoughts and ideas! Until next time!
❤ Lady Grace
Luke 12:6-7 & 22-32
6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
22 Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. 23 Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? 25 And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 26 If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?
29 “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. 30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.
32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
2 thoughts on “Peace, My Child”
Very good and needed word, Shantelle! It is very humbling when I step back and realize all the things I fret about. And the things I think I can, somehow, control in life. To be humbly, diligently, dependant on the Lord! To remember that all that I have, whether health, resources, or talents are from God and I am to joyfully serve Him, while totally resting and depending on Him. Why is it so hard sometimes!
Thank you! ❤ ❤
Ah, I don't know why we struggle so with the concept of dependency and rest. But yes, as it talks about in 1 Peter 5, may we humble ourselves before God and cast all our cares on Him. And know that He will perfect, strengthen, establish, and settle us in due time!
He is good and faithful and we are His! Onward unto heaven! 🙂