It’s a constant question floating around in my mind. A question that brings doubts and fears with it. A question that can flood my mind in any given situation. I have a lot of things I am working on and giving to the Lord, but worrying is by far my deepest struggle.
Each and every experience in our lives has the potential to shape us. Sometimes, we forget to realize that we tend to perceive from those circumstances what is “safe” and what is “not safe”. In every situation from that moment on, we make preconceived judgments before we actually know what is truly safe. I know in my life that the experiences I have overcome or the hurts I have endured tend to follow me and pop up in my thoughts on occasion, based on the scenarios I daily find myself in.
When someone says something that an old friend once said, you instantly think they will betray you in the same way.
When someone is upset with you, you immediately think that person’s anger will escalate until there are hurtful words being spoken like before.
When the person you love is distant, you think they will leave because you have watched it happen in the past.
These are all agreements…Lies.
Lies we have believed to be true about every single circumstance we face.
Lies we have held on to that are keeping us from growth.
Lies from the very pit of hell.
In my life, I still struggle with listening to the lies of fear. It causes my joy to cease and my discouragement to become overwhelming. When I find myself in those places, I have learned 3 useful tactics to help climb out of the pit of worry and back onto the Solid Rock. Below are 3 actions you can put into practice when you find yourself full of doubt, drowning in worry or overcome with fear. And remember, these agreements we have made are not to be taken lightly. Satan is a being who wants to destroy lives, and he will if we continue to buy in to the false thinking and life changing agreements.
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” – John 10:10
So if you find yourself in a place that is not so rich and not so satisfying, try this simple strategy to help you reach a place of truth and life that is satisfying and free in Christ.
1) The first strategy I have found to be most helpful when I am overcome with fear is to pray. I can not emphasize this enough. Praying brings us to the very heart of God and reveals His love for us. It calms the storm, soothes the worry and drives away the fear. It teaches you to think outside of the situation you are in and dismisses the doubt that clouds your thinking.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
God cares deeply about each struggle we face and every heart ache we feel. When we begin to lay it all at His feet, He untangles the mess and teaches us to walk in truth again.
2) The second tactic I have found to help in ways I never thought it could, is to focus on others. It is easy to be completely in survival mode when dealing with the fears and struggles in life. And when we get into this place, we put blinders on and cease to see the needs of others. When we become so focused on our needs and our problems, it can completely overcome us with anxiety. Learn to step outside yourself and your problems and ask God to open your eyes to the needs of those around you.
“And the Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends.” – Job 42:10
Taking this verse to heart and putting it to practice taught me that I wasn’t praying for my friends to relieve my own burdens, but that in praying for my friends, I was able to look outside my own needs and focus on the needs of others. It takes you from a place of self preservation to a place of acknowledging that you aren’t the only one in this world that is struggling. Ask your friends, family and co-workers what they need prayer for and allow God to use you as a blessing in their lives. This allows you to reach beyond yourself and focus your attention on others.
3) The last and final action is to be still, and choose Christ. The thing we need most in times of fear is the thing we feel least like doing…being still. I’m not just talking about sitting still, thinking and waiting as time passes. No, it’s an active stillness. To quiet your mind and ask God to come speak to you as you open His word and let it bring peace to your heart. So often we let our busy schedules and jam packed lives dictate this time with the Lord. Then we wonder why we feel empty and hollow when hard times comes. God is a relational God. He wants to spend time with us just like any other important relationship in our lives. Making God a priority is not an option, but a necessity. He should be our first priority. And as we learn to make God the first priority in our lives, everything else seems to just fall into place. You will still have fear and still have hard times that come up, but you will have a God who is a strong refuge for you when those times come. A God who dismisses the fear, replaces the lies with truth, and gives peace in place of the worry.
“But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.'” – Luke 10:41-42
Mary chose Christ. When we choose to put Him above the troubles and anxiety, we have a peace and hope that can not be taken away from us.
So I invite you to apply these 3 actions to your life. Let’s defeat the lies and learn to rest in the truth of what God says. And when the problems of life seem overwhelming and the “what ifs“ are clouding your thinking…press into God and speak the truth of “Even If“. Because even if all the doubts and fears come in to fruition, there is a God who is working and has not surrendered His authority, guidance and strength.