Graceful Perseverance: What's Ahead of Us vs. Behind Us - 02/05/23
Welcome to this week’s blog. I was compelled this week to share with you something that has been, for the most part of my life, challenging in my Christian walk. Today I am revealing this challenge to my readers, as many of you may be experiencing the same challenge in your own life, believers and even for non-believers.
It is easy for me to worry about matters of this life, as I am sure many of you can relate. What’s more difficult for me is to “Let Go and Let God.”
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10 (ESV).
It is so easy for me to give fear and anxiety free vacancy in my mind, allowing both emotions to create doubt for what’s ahead in my future. And once I have convinced myself I am scared of what’s ahead, I have now just set myself up for pointless stress in my life. And at the same time if I look behind me, I find myself saddened by some of the major events that have happened in my life. So where do I look? Ahead or behind? Neither direction, let me explain.
I believe the reason many of us are scared of what’s ahead of us (our future) is because of the unknown, and the feeling of being out of control of the unknown. We are scared of the challenges that may or may not cross our path. The “not knowing” alone is what kick starts anxiety to run rapid in our minds. And then there’s that emotion called fear (false experiences appearing real), along with worry that joins the party in our head, and teams up with anxiety and fear bringing us to a point that can make us feel like we are going to lose our mind due to the uncontrolled raising thoughts. By this point, we find it extremely difficult to calm down, breathe, and bring ourselves back to calamity. All of which takes much practice to overcome over the course of our lives. This is not something we can make disappear overnight or wish it away. It’s real, and it can be very scary for some. Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6 (ESV).
So, what is the best practice to shut down these three perpetrators or emotional culprits – anxiety, fear and worry? A close friend once said to me, “90% of what we worry about never happens?” Why is this? I believe it is because fear, false experiences appearing real, rears its ugly head and joins forces with worry and anxiety and these three major emotions gang up against us, yes, all playing mind games in our head, not our heart. For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. – 2 Timothy 1;7 (ESV).
Traditionally our friends and family give us genuine advice during these challenging times – “Everything is going to be okay.” Or “You’re going to be just fine.” Even though their words are comforting and uplifting declarations, everyone says these things in the moment because they truly care. But for me, yes it helps me in the moment, but then their compassion and concerns feel temporary, then my mind reverts back to the original culprits of stress (feeling scared, anxious, fear and worry).
Why am I sharing this personal struggle with my readers? Because I am pretty confident, I am not on an island by myself with this life challenge. So, if I put on my Psychology hat, even though I am sharing this personal challenge with you, I am also talking myself through this challenge as well. My words are healing and therapeutic not only for you, but for me as well. Funny thing, I learned long ago when I started writing and blogging that what I was sharing with my readers, I also found healing for myself. Unbeknown to me, I am then forced to “practice what I preach,” right? Indeed, the honest truth and spoken from my heart. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. – Philippians 4:6 (ESV).
Here’s what I’ve learned over the years, fear, anxiety, worry and being scared of my future, not any part of this if from God, but just the opposite. What is the opposite of God? Satin, the father of lies. Yes, that’s right, Satin loves to climb into our minds and disrupt and scramble everything in our lives. Satin desires more than anything for us to be scared, fearful, doubtful everyday of our lives. He wants us to be miserable. But I must reiterate, Satin is the father of lies. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? – Psalm 56:3-4 (ESV).
I have learned in moments of feeling scared when I look ahead at my future, it is because I am disconnected from God. My Christian walk has taught me that when I am feeling this way, yes, it’s always comforting to have family and friends lift me up out of this “funk,” but again, their help is temporary, as the real healer or Savior is Christ. My relationship, my connection with Christ is what truly brings me back into balance! Why, because my “Creator is my Healer,” and my “Creator is my Savior,” who knows what I need before I do. I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. – Psalm 34:4 (ESV).
This is what I mentioned earlier, if we look behind us, we find hurt and pain in our lives. If we look in front of us, we feel scared of the unknown, but if we “LOOK UP,” we are surrendering our lives to Christ and letting Him take control. He is the only one who can guide us and shield us from anything harmful in our lives. Our family and friends cannot do this for us. Nor do we have enough strength on our own to shield ourselves from darkness. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 (ESV).
This is why the “present” is a gift from God. Because God is not in our past, nor is He in our future, but He is right here in our present moments and that’s where He wants us to be too, in the present where He is. It is in the moments of my life where I am feeling “disconnected” from God that I experience these bursts of fear, doubt, worry and anxiety. Someone other than Christ has “creeped in with his lies.”
So how do I get “reconnected” to God? First, I pray! But keep in mind the traditional means of prayer – on your hands and knees with hands folded in a church or at bedside, is not what I am referring too. Praying is not defined by our physical posture; it is simply a means of having a conversation with God. Yes, that’s right. Just like you’d call a friend and have a conversation with them. Exactly the same with God, except you don’t need to text or call Him to communicate with Him, just look up and start talking or even speak to Him under your breathe.
It’s when we have a true relationship with God, that we feel comfortable confiding in Him anywhere, at any time, asking for His help or guidance in whatever struggles we are experiencing in the “present.” He’s my best friend who I can tell anything!
Remember, the sweetest time of the day is when you pray. Why? Because you are talking to the one who loves you the most. You are talking to the one who will sustain you, carry you and rescue you even when you do not realize you need Him. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. – Isaiah 46:4 (NIV).
Brothers and sisters, remember if what’s ahead (your future) is scary, and what is behind (past) is painful, “THEN LOOK UP!”
Because God is waiting for you to trust that He knows what’s best for you!
Blessings until next week,
Scripture Quotes: Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV) / New King James (NKJ) / English Standard Version (ESV)
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