I’ve tried my best to not to agree with fear this CoronaVirus season. And, for the most part, I’ve won. I’ve been at peace in the midst of this mayhem-producing world. Until, today, a Walmart incident got the best of me…
I was on a school supply hunt with my two, I-have-a-bazillion-and-one-questions, kids in tow. Trying to focus, while looking high and low, I found treasures and shoved them in my cart. Then, I marked the things off my list. I had this shopping-thing down. The only issue came when — near the toilet paper lane — I inadvertently drew a black pen mark right down the side of my brand new light pink purse. Grr…
Completely not thinking, I ripped my mask off. I licked my finger and rubbed, rubbed, rubbed. I licked and rubbed. I wasn’t about to let that ink, set in. I got it; I won!
Or did I? Then, it settled on me — what had I just done?!
I just licked the finger…that had touched that Walmart cart, that held the 50+ school supplies I had handled, which also swiped the much-walked-over floor when my school supply paper dropped only a few aisles back. The very cart that probably dozens of other people had used, before me. What had I done?
In a split-second my heart started pumping. Am I going to get sick now?
Fear wanted to grip me. It wanted to make me anxious. It wanted to make me relive that moment. It made me think about myself sick, within a week. I could hardly listen to my kids.
What would I do? I stood at a crossroads. I could either obey God and not fear or I could let my worries overrule His command.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10
I could either walk by a Spirit of fear or by the Holy Spirit…
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:7
Grr… I know the enemy too. If you give him an inch he’ll, before long, take a mile. If you fear for five minutes, by the time you get home it will be full-blown. If you worry about it endlessly, by the end of the day it will be all you can think about.
I repented of my fear and released my body into God’s care. If He created the whole of me, He can protect me from a measly germ.
And, then I went on enjoying my kids, singing music, and enjoying the breeze of the day.
Where is fear trying to gain an inch in your life? Shut him down and shut him down, quickly…lest he gain a mile.
I’ve battled the tightness of chest, the shakiness of body and the uncertainty of what is to come for quite a while. Only recently have I been able to win the war against what seems incurable: my anxiety.
Do you suffer from it?
It’s a feeling you can’t get ahead…
It’s surviving, with generalized gnawing…
It’s living with overwhelming tenseness because you feel out of control…
It’s bearing with the weight of the world on your shoulders…
It’s carrying irritation from others actions…
It’s a true sense of your inability to change things…
For so long, anxiety crept up on me like a lightweight spider; I didn’t know he was on me until his poison sank in. Then I knew, I was in for it. He saturated me in a way where it felt impossible to get well again. To fix things. Maybe you’ve been there. I wouldn’t wish it on my greatest enemy.
Anxiety has ruined family vacations.
It’s made me snap like an explosive.
It’s caused many a sleepless night.
It’s broken peace.
It’s stolen moments.
It’s made me self-consumed.
It’s made me angry at myself.
What has it taken from you? What has this poison done in your body? Life?
Only recently have I started to make headway against it.
Step 1 of progress is in acknowledging this: My anxiety is due to a gap I do not internally believe I have the power to bridge, control or fix.
Step 2 is deciding I am in charge of my feelings. No one else has the ability to: 1. Tell me how to feel. 2. Make me feel a certain way 3. Force me to have feelings or to act a certain way.
With this, I can imagine a holy box of God around me. In this space, I am permitted to feel as I feel without feeling bad about it. In this space, I am able to present to God the actual emotion I am feeling and the cause that set it off, without living under the weight of crushing judgment. Why can I do this? Because Jesus is my advocate. He forgives, heals and helps. He is behind me and for me. He also wants me to discover his peace. He loves me.
Step 3 is saying this: God, I do not have the ability to figure ______ (insert the trigger of the issue here) out. I need your help with how to respond. Will you show me how to stay with you in this space and place that feels scary? Will you show me how to lean on you when I am not sure how people will react or how well I will do? Will you be my protection as I respond in a way that is truthful – to you and to others? I can hand over to you the person, place or thing that is troubling my heart and be with you in the moment. Here, you will lead me and prompt me to move with your love, grace and mercy towards myself and towards others. I can trust you to be with me, even when I feel all alone.
This 3-step process has literally been my saving grace. When I feel the poison starting to rise up from within me, God’s grace towards my constricting heart makes all the difference. It frees me. The secret is: you gotta catch it early. Right when it starts.
And, when you don’t, it’s okay. Just try again next time.
Prayer for women like me who struggle like this: Dear God, here we stand before you, women who don’t have it all figured out, women who want to be better, women who struggle inside our own bodies. God, will you help us to rely on your truth instead of our feelings? Will you help us to put up healthy barriers between us and the world? Will you help us to take your peace you’ve given us and to keep it? We need you. We can’t do it alone. Please be our guide, Lord Jesus. You are the answer every time. We trust your ways and want to die to our own. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
I didn’t know her well, although I suspected she was a kindred spirit. We shared similar titles of: worship leader, songwriter, adoptive mama, and blogger. Yet mostly, we shared the byline, “Daughter of the King.”
We broke soul bread over tea, smoothies and scones. Preferring heart talk to small talk, we dug in. Nuggets of gold emerged as we shared stories of God’s faithfulness at the table. Right there in Panera, we had church as we testified to the goodness of our Father and uplifted each other with words of hope.
She shared about victory. I shared about grace. And we learned from each other’s hangups and breakthroughs.
I thought I had her pegged, until she shared how she feared being seen. Even though her ministry and creativity were public, she preferred to hide and blend in.
I, on the other hand, confessed my fear of being invisible. Being overlooked, forgotten, or ordinary are what I run from. I usually want to stand out, to speak up, and be seen.
It sounds bad, I know, but this is a place for authenticity, right? And my hunch is I’m not alone. And neither is my friend.
Some of us fear being visible. Others of us fear being hidden. And sometimes we fear both.
If I blend in, will I become invisible?
If I stand out, will I be embarrassed?
I fear both invisibility and embarrassment.
Concealed and Exposed
It’s vulnerable to feel exposed—to be paraded in front of others and scrutinized for how we look, act, and what we say. We wonder if we have spinach between our teeth (or chocolate cookies stuck to our molars) as we offer the message that’s been entrusted to us. Will they laugh at us? Will they listen? Will the insecurities show through our coordinating ensemble?
You don’t have to rely on the fleeting acceptance of man. God’s acceptance is rock-solid. #fearfightingbook
It’s lonely to feel concealed—to be masked from view and not really feel known or understood. We wonder if who we are is enough and fear what might happen if we are called upon to share. Will they laugh at us? Will they listen? Will the pounding heart and wobbly knees show through our security blanket?
Are we the women people fight to have by their side? Or are we busy trying to run and hide? #fearfightingbook
Fear could have kept my friend and I from meeting that evening, but we pushed past it, and we both left richer.
She didn’t hide, and through her brave words, I began to see more clearly. I didn’t conceal that which embarrassed me, and with courage, I did not edit my imperfections.
Two fear fighting women met for bread and drink and Hope showed up.
Jesus’ body was broken and His blood was spilled on our behalf. He showed up and we are never the same.
We are not alone. We can overcome that which threatens to conceal and expose us, because Jesus has already overcome! He uncovered our sin and provided a way for it to be removed.
Jesus exposed His great love for us by dying for our sins. He has given us everything we need to be victorious. His Holy Spirit is the greatest fear fighting tool, and we carry it within us.
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Katie M. Reid is a writer and speaker who encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. She also inspires women to embrace their identity in Christ and live out their God-given purpose. Katie delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Cut-to-the-chase conversation over hot or iced tea is one of her favorite things.
“Well, this isn’t how you prayed this moment would turn out.”
The thought passed through my filter of truth and circled my mind on repeat. I knew it was a lie, but I listened to it. I stood there with my four-year-old, who was starting a new school, and tried to hold back tears.
His own tears flowed freely.
“I want to go to old school,” he said repeatedly. The school staff gathered around, trying to calm him.
“Buddy, this is your school now. You’re going to have lots of fun and you get to go to school with Jay,” I said, faking composure.
Big brother stood beside us, cool as a cucumber. He told little one everything was going to be okay and talked about the things he was going to do with his class.
I looked at my firstborn’s cherub-like face with amazement. He was a little beacon of sunshine in this mess of a morning. A reminder from God that He was still there.
The guidance counselor distracted little one with a walk over to the school’s pet lizard and settled him. With her prompting, I snuck outside to my car, praying my baby’s day would improve.
My day did not. A rough morning with my youngest turned out to be only the start of hours of chaos and like an old habit, I questioned God again.
Why is this happening? Please, God. Make it stop.
For weeks, anxiety over life’s circumstances had been mounting. I worried about my youngest starting school. I worried about a family conflict. My mind turned to the baby growing inside me and I worried about the postpartum months.
You’re not going to have anyone to help you. You’re going to be alone.
With each lie I listened to, I was more overwhelmed. And this crazy day was the culmination of it all, begging to verify all my worries were true.
Except they weren’t.
Those beacons of light that began with my firstborn’s calm demeanor kept coming. A friend offered to help with the kids at the last minute when I needed to go to the doctor.
You’re not alone. You have friends to lend you a hand.
In the middle of a pregnancy scare, I called my doctor’s office to set up a spur of the moment prenatal visit. And in a practice with a dozen doctors, I got an appointment with the one I trusted the most.
I’m here with you in the chaos, child. I haven’t gone anywhere.
When troubles abound, we’re tempted to question God. It’s our human nature. But you know what? The flesh is a liar.
It lied to Eve in the garden when she listened to the serpent and felt like she was lacking something, even though she lacked nothing. It lied to David when, in the midst of being pursued by Saul, he thought God had abandoned him. (Psalm 13:1)
Our circumstances may change like the wind, but God’s faithfulness does not.
He is steady and constant, reaching into our problems with a soft whisper, “I am with you. I go behind you and before you.”
That pregnancy scare? It turned out to be a false alarm. And my sweet Gabe transitioned into his new school with ease after a rough first morning. While I know things won’t always turn out the way I desire, my chaos-filled day served as a reminder of one simple truth: God never leaves.
The next time you’re in a middle of a storm, look for the beacon of light. It may be as faint as a jet stream, but it’s there. And when you find it remember at your weakest point, He is strong.
He’s whispering to you in the storm. You just have to focus your ears and listen.
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Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues here, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.
We all have our monsters. The real vile ones are from days of old; they give us night-shivers to remember. The fast ones whip us, encouraging us to more quickly chase perfection. The obnoxious ones form in our mind, informing us we are no better than our worse fears. The slow-moving one arrives like an envelope with amounts past due, they point to the depths we can never climb. But, the worst – the absolute worst – are the types that tell us our big God is small. They that tell us we fooled ourselves; God doesn’t really come through for our likes. These ones are beasts. Tall. Ferocious. Salivating. Beasts. Throwing insults.
(Goliath) said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?”
And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 1 Sam. 17:43
Our Goliath-monsters speak too, you know?
Am I not threatening enough – that you think you can beat me?
Am I to laugh, that you think you can beat me with prayer?
Am I an imbecile, that you speak thousand-year old bible verses and think they’ll work?
Am I not injurous enough, that you believe in something you cannot see, when you see the heights of me?
Am I not pleasurable enough, that you would come at me with the thought God makes you enough?
Look at her…
The finger points.
The chants ensue.
We stand there. Nearly naked.
We feel the assault on a God who seems silent.
We wait, looking left and right hoping to do something. Needing – to do something.
What giant monster taunts you?
What does he say?
When I was a waitress, we used to say, “I’m in the weeds.” It means someone is about to dump a plate of spaghetti on your head because you’ve gotten too far behind. It also means that the appetizer you’re holding should actually be dessert and you are pretty much hated by multiple tables. You crawl under a table cloth at the at point. You are stuck. You hate yourself.
I have a book coming out a couple of months. I’m in the weeds. The monster is there. He speaks, “Kelly, you have no time, you have no ability, you have no power to succeed.
What others have in talent, you don’t. You’re an imposter.”
Yet, when I fight to hear God’s voice. Something surfaces.
When you hear insults over invading love,
you can be sure that you’re hearing the insidious voice of a monster,
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands…All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (1 Sam. 17:45-47)
I love how David talked back. We, good girls, don’t do this enough. We’ve been taught to cross our legs, dot our i’s and cross our t’s, but we’ve hardly been taught to snap back. We’ve hardly been taught to stand up for ourselves.
But, what if, rather than being women of subservience to bad monsters, we talked back?
What if, instead, we got defiant, not reliant on these voices?
I almost see it… women, rising, a valiant insurrection,
not directed at husbands or people who annoy us, but at the internal voices of lies.
I want that.
I want to talk back to these insidious voices with truth
so insurmountable it instigates a movement of unstoppable women for Christ.
Now, that little monster voice tells me, “Kelly, you’re sounding extreme again.”
But, you know what? I shush it up and go “bad-girl” on it.
I laugh in it’s face.
I say, “God can do all things. So, shush it up! I am tired of your lies. You’re a dog that I should laugh at you.”
David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. (1 Sam. 17:49)
1 Stone. 1 shot. 1 sling. 1 voteof full confidence in his Lord. 1 belief that it didn’t matter what he had, but who he had. 1 ounceof trust that miracles can and do happen.
David didn’t need much.
I don’t need much.
You don’t either…
God is the everything we need.
He is the Filling to our gap.
He is the Provider to our debt.
He is the Answer to our need.
He is the Way through our dead end.
Find His life to gain life.
That thing that looks too big to accomplish – is smaller than God.
That thing that seems like it will kill you – cannot overcome the life of Christ.
That thing that plagues you with a screechy voice – is silenced by the peace of God.
Let the monsters speak, because there is one who speaks louder. Who rides higher. Who is greater. Who will ride in victory, apparent, in glory before all mankind.
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. Rev. 19:11-15
The fight is on your behalf. If you don’t believe Jesus can win for you – I don’t know who can.
Next time the Goliath-monster starts spouting off again, tell him to shush up and sit down, Faithful and True is on your side! And, with Him, you’re about to win.
I’ve been praying lately, to be rid of this flesh-eating bacteria. I know, trust me, I know, it sounds weird. And, I guess you wouldn’t even call it a “flesh-eating bacteria,” because it is more like “soul-eating bacteria.” Or maybe a “peace-eating bacteria”. A “night-time sleep-ruining bacteria.
It chases at my heels telling me I should settle tomorrow’s emotions rather than claiming right now’s peace. You too?
It smothers hope; making you desire fix-it dope to feel better.
It exchanges the peace of God for fear of _____.
It stunts the muscles God plans to grow during trials.
It debilitates peace.
It corrodes holy.
It eats joy, causing doubt.
This is why I pray so often, “God, I don’t want to worry. I don’t want to continuously think about people or problems one day longer.”
Because these things blind me.
..Some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” Mark 8:22-23
Do you see anything when you worry?
Where does worry incline your eyes?
He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Mark 8:24
People like trees? Jesus, the miracle-maker, the Prince of Peace, the great physician left this man seeing – trees? Did the greatest healer – fail? What kind of jacked-up miracle was this?
Let’s consider this deeper…
When the blind man opened his eyes, following Jesus’ touch, “He looked up and said, ‘I see people.‘”
Notice: The blind man did not focus on the Man with Power, but the people with none.
The very God before him – he did not see.
But, he what did see was – his issue.
Where do your eyes head 10-minutes after you get with God?
To people? Problems? Predicaments?
Sometimes our focus prevents us from seeing – and receiving – God’s greatest work. Like a stray lover, we look at everyone but our first love; we miss his best intentions towards us. We can’t see, because we are too busy looking elsewhere. We become infected with the virus of looking-at-man, looking-at-issues or looking-at-distractions. We partially see God, but we mostly do not.
If we focus on people over the person of Jesus, we’ll never see progress. But, if we focus on the person of Jesus, before the face of our problems, we will face peace.
1. Wake and seek Jesus as our first thought, our day often is established.
2. Pray and expect God to answer, we get excited to see.
3. Look in order to find God we, many times, do.
4. Ask to see the Lord’s handiwork it becomes more obvious.
5. Hope and request to feel his love, it circles.
6. When we believe that God can do the unthinkable, we perceive God can do the unthinkable.
Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Mark 8:25
I don’t believe this man could see because hands were – on his eyes, but because Jesus was entirely – in his eyes.
When he opened his eyes, the second time, unlike the first time, he didn’t see problem people, but Jesus, all Jesus, the full-force of Jesus in power and glory, standing right before him. You simply cannot come face-to-face with Jesus – you simply cannot let him into your heart – without something miraculous happening.
This man? With the radiant power of Jesus before him, all he could do – was see. For, Jesus, the man known to have eyes like torches (Dan. 10:5-6) opened his vision to a whole new path. A path to recovery.
I watch the evening news. And, I’m convinced they shouldn’t no longer call it evening news, friends, they should call it: The Anxiety Hour.
Do you watch it too? Do you feel it crawl all over you?
The Anxiety Hour is the time of day where a day’s work is done and you are looking for a little reprieve. In these 60 minutes, you grab your treat, you exhale, you grab the remote and then you plop down, thinking, “Time to tune out.” Except you don’t, you can’t – because up there, on this little rectangle, mounted like a trophy in the heart of your house, mayhem, mania and madness pop off.
You see the tears.
You see the evil.
You see the injustice.
You see the pain.
You see the prognosis.
You see no answers.
You feel helpless.
If you could do something to change anything, you would. But, you feel small, unable. You assure yourself, even your loudest call would ring hallow and uncared for, in this echo-chamber called the world.
The decks are stacked, so why bother? “What does a man gain for all his efforts that he labors at under the sun?” Ec. 1:3
“Absolute futility. Everything is futile.” Ec. 1:1
Plus, you know things aren’t going to end well. Talking heads can talk, but you have to figure out a way to stay safe – or sane for that matter.
There is an undercurrent of fear. The tensions under the surface of forced calmness are like riptides. They are rising. We all see them. We want to turn away. Pretend. Run. Hide. Shiver. Shake.
Yet, is this what Jesus called us to?
Self-preservation and dread?
Worry and anxiety?
Might we consider: The news is not evil,
but how our heart distrusts God easily could be?
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Phil 4:8
If we fill our mind with the grim, we can hardly keep our mind set on Him.
We can’t see if we are blinded by the anger that boils over in our heart. We get distracted and what emerges doesn’t look like love. It doesn’t look like Jesus. And what hits me is this: Jesus never called us hone in on what’s wrong with everything, he called us to remember God is in control – of everything. This is peace.
Am I believing Jesus reigns over everything?
5 Verses to Reclaim Calm when the World makes you Nervous:
Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Ro. 8:34
The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The LORD is with me; he is my helper. Ps. 118:6-7
…for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Ro. 13:1
…in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. Col. 2:10
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Mi. 6:8
Dear God, I am prone to worry. I let the happenings of the world, the elections and the economy sit heavy on me. I need to find your peace. I invite you to restructure my thinking. May my hope be you. May my peace be you. May you help love flow out from me. Give me clarity. May I change what I am able to change and release what I can’t. May I know that the greatest joy is staying where you are. God, thank you that you have the whole world in your hands. I need not fear because you are the best manager, orchestrator and caretaker. You made it all. I believe in your plan. Amen.
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I didn’t want to do it, but there I was stuck right in the center of my kitchen, in the mess of it. I leaned in, my temperature boiling, this woman just was not understanding my point.
“There’s no changing amind like hers,” I thought, “She’s impenetrable.”
I glared. I guess, God was going to have to teach her the hard way – and I was certain I wasn’t going to be praying blessings over her life anymore! Take that!
She is not understanding me. She is hurting me. This is all her fault.
Isn’t it funny how we think? We can even know our thinking is faulty, that we are some small iota in the wrong, but still, we grab onto our small point as if it is a helicopter dropping down a life-line. We think it will get us to battle won, but we usually much more feel like it is battle done as we are left stranded at the top of a building, waving our hands. Helpless. Uncertain. With no one around to fix our aching heart.
Her words approached me strong. Her defensiveness writhed. So did mine, for that matter.
Do your arguments go round and round making you feel like the loser?
Do you start to look at the person like enemy rather than friend?
Usually, I figure, the other person:
Will never listen.
Doesn’t care enough to listen.
Doesn’t get me.
Thinks wrongly about me.
Is always going to win.
Just admitting what you believe about the other fighter is helpful, I find. Lightbulbs go off.
Lightbulb 1: When you’re in mindset – self-protection, it is easy to go into mode – manipulation.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Cor. 13:4-7)
I don’t do all that. I do other things in the heat of battle; I injure.
Admission and confession offer permission for God to move in.
Lightbulb 2: Love is not me, it is God’s presence in me. The pressure is off.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Tim. 1:7)
Reading this verse makes me want to create a little plaque I hang over my kitchen sink, saying: No fear needed, for with love, I am equipped to win.
This means I stand in the center of the kitchen-tornado with:
1. Power – Christ’s power in me; it does not look like a weak girl getting pummeled but like a force of peace. 2. Love – I have the supernatural power of Jesus Christ; he will help me forward it on. 3. Self-discipline – The ability to know when to speak and when to shush up. I have power to have power over myself. I am not without strength; God made me full of it – in him.
I keep on remembering these 3 things as I am talking; It makes a difference.
I am not without, I am with God, with his grace, with his arsenal of mercy. This is not weak, it is strong. This is not flailing, it is thriving. This is not anger, it is progress.
Lightbulb 3:If Jesus didn’t condemn me, man can’t either. I can always operate from a place of intentional love rather than injured fear.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. Jo. 3:18
I wish I could tell you that day, I won the battle, I didn’t. I lost some pride.
I spun like a crazed woman on a treadmill, except for the fact that I was actually on an elliptical. My arms moved as if they were ready to punch the world right out of my way. My eyes focused as if I was really going to finally get myself somewhere. My legs moved trying to knee pressing issues right out of the way.
I was the wild gym-goer –
the girl trying to force herself to new ground –
ground that was unattainable to get to.
I kept spinning. Spinning worries. Spinning problems. Spinning up things that could go wrong. Building a whole lot of motion that was moving me nowhere.
In my mind’s dictionary, it means:
1. Trying to force yourself to go, make progress or get ahead.
In the dictionary of classical mechanics (which, I know by heart – joke!), it means: 1. A body either is at rest or moves with constant velocity, until and unless an outer force is applied to it.
An outer force? There was no outer force around me, just an inner force, an inner force of doubt driving my pursuits.
I didn’t trust “Outer Force” would work on my timeline, or according to my demands or with my outcome. God may have some answer like, “Kelly, wait.” Or, “Kelly, my will is being done.”
I get frustrated with those kinds of answers. I get internally irate and put an arm up – choosing worry over wonder.
Pumping. Sweating. Pressing in – to my more. I considered God.
And, as if the clouds parted and my mind hit some new parallel of peace, it landed – softly.
I watched him through the giant window. Chilling. Eating. Laughing, almost, at me. He came to teach me something.
10 Lessons Taught by A Bird:
1. Don’t ever forget this verse when you start to worry: Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Mt. 6:26)
2. God doesn’t look at his answers for us as limited, but unlimited. Just as the birds pluck for ample food on the ground, so does God have ample food for me.
3. Life is not feast or famine; it is a continual feast I have to choose to believe in. The birds don’t walk heads down, they walk heads high, knowing God is right about ready to deliver them to their next feed.
4. It doesn’t matter what everyone else has.
God has intentionally mined the ground with “glorious riches in Christ Jesus” meant just for me. (Phil 4:19)
5. There is no need to bump up against other people who don’t do what they should. God has them on their own path for food and joy.
6. There is an invitation by God to frolic and fancy life. In between his great providence, there is a game of “chase” going. We can join in like a little baby bird, who knows life is short and troubles pass.
7. What looks like a dark, vast covering of trees before you, is really just a call to adventure. It is the place you fly into knowing that God is going to take you on a ride that will thrill you. You just have to grab onto his carpet and let him lead.
8. Be present and be calm.Birds don’t have one dang concern about pending storms or world issues. I don’t see them building bunkers or walking around with defensive artillery. It seems they let go of threats that surround them – and let God ground them.
9. To see God everywhere is to see peace, joy and answers abound. Birds keep looking. They move their head left and right like little pendulums. Somehow, I guess, they are soaking things in.
10. We see life through the vantage point of me, myself and I, yet God’s view is sky-high – like a bird sees. There are things up there we can’t see. Probably, things that would blow our mind – disappointments that were used by God to create divine appointments, things like that. It’s a symphony of eternity; it reverberates beyond us.
These birds. They speak to me – almost – singing, “You gotta trust the bird’s eye view to get through.”
My velocity and intensity settle. My arms feel like they can finally be – at rest. I look and soak it all in.
God has this.
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It’s not something that I’m proud of, but it is very much like second nature. I have always been super independent and that has contributed to me being a worrier. I like things my own way. I like to be able to control everything that is within my power to control. If something is fixable, I fix it. I don’t wait around for someone to offer help, I just handle it. I worry about things past, present and future.
This apparently, goes against the whole being dependent on God lifestyle. He and I are working on that. It’s a slow and steady process. And it’s a process that starts in the mind. That is where all of our motives and actions stem from. My thoughts give way to worry and worry gives way to fear and fear gives way to worry. It is a vicious cycle. And I want out! So, this year, He and I are working on changing my mind.
When I think about how I think, a few questions come up about where the thoughts originate and what direction they are heading. A few verses even stick out to me in those areas.
“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2
Where is my affection?
One definition of affection is a feeling of fondness or liking. Heaven and earth are complete opposites. The Bible is very clear that all that happens on earth is counter to what goes on in Heaven. Generally, the person or thing or situation we like is where we spend our energy.
Attention always follows affection.
Do I like the here and now more that I like eternity? Which do I long for more? I’m sure you’d agree with me that we should long for Heaven more. We will spend more time there than we will here on earth. All that is seen is temporary and fleeting. I want my thoughts to fall in line with the life I will live forever, a life spent with my Creator and Father.
“You will keep him in perfect peace, Whosemind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3
Where am I expecting peace to come from?
Peace is a tricky thing. We, as humans are so prone to think that people or circumstances will bring us peace. But, they don’t. They can’t. It’s a false peace because when they change undesirably, we are now in a state of unrest. Peace is a person and His name is Jesus. The peace He brings transcends understanding and circumstances. It is unchanging and unwavering. It remains constant no matter what is going on around us because it is grounded in the truth of God’s Word and the truth of the nature of Christ.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2
Do I think as the world does or do I think like Christ?
From the moment we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are forever changed. We now have a new nature. The only problem is is that we are still wrapped in flesh, flesh that craves old habits and ways. Then, we are still living among broken and lost people in a broken and lost world. When we understand this, we understand that we have some work to do. We have a role to play. It is our job to renew our minds through delving into the well of God’s promises. The more we become acquainted with Him through His word, the more our thoughts align with His. The more our thoughts align with His, the more our actions catch up with our new way of thinking.
So this year, I’m changing my mind! Are you with me? What area of your thinking do you need renewed?
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Karina is a devoted follower of Jesus from New Orleans, Louisiana, but has made her home in Baton Rouge for the past 15 years. She spends much of her time leading worship at church, writing, reading, dancing and mentoring the next generation. She has a huge heart for serving and missions. She is an advocate for the local church especially the one that she attends, Healing Place Church. She also enjoys working out, traveling, photography and going to concerts/conferences.
Karina believes that every woman has a God-sized dream on the inside of them and it is up to an encouraging community to help nurture that dream. Her goal in writing is to see women get a revelation of God’s Word and discover how to apply it to their lives in order to walk in freedom and live the life that God intended. But the most important thing to her is to live out the call of Isaiah 26:8…For His Name and His Renown are the desire of our souls! You can connect with her at “For His Name and His Renown.”