The world is in an ugly state right now. And honestly, here in North America, we’re just beginning to get a taste of turmoil that people in other countries have been facing for a long time. We have been sheltered. We have that ‘Blessed’ sign hanging in our living rooms, hashtags on our social media. We feel entitled to life free of difficulty and trouble.
Last week I was reading all the news articles, watching independent news sources on social media, taking in many of the happenings around the world. I was in deep, feeling all the pain. I dashed in to the post office, just needed to pop a package in the mail. And had an internal melt down right there. The line was not moving. The appointed time for afternoon pick up approached, mail truck came, collected packages and left me standing there, parcel in hand. I felt frustrated by the slow moving clerk – Why could she just not hurry and get my mail out in this days mail? I choked back feelings of sadness, frustration, anxiety. Right there in the post office.
My husband had dropped my off, parked the car, came in to wait with me. He took my spot in line. I took a walk. And had to take some personal inventory. Wow! A grown woman almost bursting into tears over a missed mail time.
But I knew that wasn’t my issue. I knew at that moment it had nothing to do with the overworked postal staff. No, It was me. My frame of mind, my internal state was a wreck. I was trying to process all the happenings in the world around me. I was feeling frustrated at the affairs of the world.
And I know, you too have been in similar situations. Pressures of life, stresses of the world around, internalizing things out of our reach and control. And all the sudden, the littlest thing causes the melt down. Or blow up. And we take out what is going on on the inside, out on the ones around us.
We were not created, nor do we have the capacity to bear the weight of the worlds problems. We do not have a solution to every difficulty we come in contact with and hear about. We are not God.
Want to join me in a brief word and Bible study of what we can do when we are feeling fearful and overwhelmed? I’ve been thinking on these things the past few days, and hope that in sharing, you might be helped and encouraged too.
What is fear? Do you ever look up the definitions of even ‘simple’ words in the dictionary. I know, it feels like you’re back in elementary school, thumbing thru the alphabetical listings, but hey, we can dictionary.com and its so easy. I look up words all the time, it helps me grasp and get better context as I think on a subject.
Noah Webster defines fear: To be in apprehension of evil: to be afraid. to feel anxiety on account of some expected evil.
What about anxiety? Is it different than fear? Anxiety: Concern or solicitude (uneasiness of mind) respecting some event -future, or uncertain, which disturbs the mind, and keeps it in a state of painful uneasiness. It usually springs from fear or serious apprehension of evil, and involves a suspense respecting an event, and often a perplexity of mind, to know how to shape our conduct.
By definition, fear is to be afraid. The natural human response to something that startles, or feeling unsettled by a certain event. Anxiety is fear which disturbs the mind, fearing the anticipated, especially in context of the unknown future. It is generated by thoughts in the mind, and a dwelling on them.
God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind 2 Timothy 1:7 Spirit meaning the temper, or disposition of our mind, our inner being. God does not want us in a state of turmoil and worry in our inner being.
We struggle with so many negative emotions in our lives (anger, fear, resentment). I think the root of these can be reduced down to a simple word: control. In the context of fear, we feel out of control. We don’t want to live in the unknown. We want to control all the little details of our lives. And then when scary things come – unexpected diagnosis, job situations, world events, ______ fill in your blank. These things happen, we feel out of control, we dwell on the what if’s, and we begin to live in a state of despair, dismay, dread.
So, how can we live today? How does God want me to live today, in these days of uncertainty? Taking in news, and the constant barrage thru social media – I find myself in an anxiety-driven feeling of helplessness. Or – and I’ve tried this too – try to forget it all, and live oblivious to the happenings around me.
Casting all your care upon Him,: for He careth for you. The remedy is casting – throwing towards – ALL of our care, worry, fear upon Him. We are to choose to take the initiative to throw all of our worry upon God. Not worrying day and night until we are sick of it. Not trying to solve the situation with our own abilities.
And don’t miss right before the ‘Casting all your care’- in verses 5 and 6 of 1 Peter, God resisteth the proud, and Humble yourselves. We see the admonition to humble ourselves. Hand in hand with giving away the worry, is giving away the control. Humbling ourselves to give up what we think as the solution, and leaving it with the One Who knows the bigger picture.
So, What can we do: First, and always first, Pray. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God Philippians 4:6 And then – verse 7 the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. The security of knowing that when we bring our cares via prayer to our God, He then gives us peace in our hearts and minds.
You can study on in these verses in Philippians 4 -He doesn’t say that He will remove the care, but He gives us peace as He carries the care. Verse 8, God tells us what to think on: things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good report, virtue, praise. Verse 9, Do the things we have learned – do what we can in the moment, and the God of peace will be with you. Verse 11 – learn that in whatsoever state I am in, to be content. Verse 12 Through the very many situations and difficulties in life: good and bad, in Verse 13 – I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
We want to live in the promise of Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. But the Apostle Paul teaches us, there is progression to be able to get to that place of living in that victory. And it begins back in verse 6 in the place of prayer and casting our cares on Him.
So many times for us, prayer is the last resort. Or we’ll say it as a default when we don’t know what else to say- “I’ll pray for you”. And yet, we don’t see the absolute foundation of prayer for our lives, especially in days like these. It should be our first thought and expression to God in the morning. The last thought of the day…and planned concentrated effort throughout the day. Take every thing to Him. Cast it upon Him. Leave it there.
Second, Choose to trust God. Psalm 56 is a great study on choosing to trust God. I encourage you to read and think on it a quiet moment, it’s only 13 verses. Verse 3-4 What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee. In God, I will praise His word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. You can see the deliberate choosing of the psalmist to trust.
Focus on that phrase –choose to trust. Faith is a belief in something that is not tangible, something we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is not forced on us by God, it is something we choose to believe in. We can choose to trust God, or choose to trust our own self and our own capabilities.
You are the one who controls your trust. You can choose to carry the weight of your family and world on your own. Or you can choose to trust God in the affairs of your personal life, and in this world and future events.
Third, Live today to make a difference in someones life. Refer back to Philippians 4:9, Do what you have learned. And in Jude 22 And of some, having compassion, making a difference. The focus in the book Jude is about the need to be constant in an evil world. He tells how the world had been, and how it would be in the future: corrupted, sin filled, men would be evil. And then in verse 20, he tells us to build up your faith, pray, keep yourself in the love of God, and then have compassion – make a difference in lives we touch. God is so practical. He doesn’t leave us feeling helpless, He gives us the plan to do a tangible action – have compassion, make a difference. This principle can apply timelessly over the generations, in all situations of life.
I know when I have been in times of trial, when I would trust God, cast my cares on Him, then what? I needed to do something. I needed to look past myself. Do what I could where I was in those moments. And when I did that, I could quit dwelling on my worry. I would be strengthened within. God’s hand would be evident in the moments of my days. And its all from that mindset of 2 Timothy 1:7 – Not having the spirit of fear – but of power (2 Cor 12:9 -that the power of Christ may rest upon me, 2 Cor 13:4 -we shall live with Him by the power of God), of love (1 Cor 13 – serving and doing all things with love), and of a sound mind (Phil 4:6-7 -not consumed with fear and anxiety).
Who can I affect today, who can I encourage or serve today, compassionately? Those in my home, my work, my school, my church. Are my interactions with each person I meet actions of making a difference? Such a challenge to me personally.
I feel sadness and fear for the situation in Ukraine and neighbouring countries. Things in the country where I live are in are turmoil. What can I do about it? Instead of feeling helpless, and stressed, I can pray. I can choose to trust God that His plan is taking shape. And then I need to do what I can by living and serving to make a difference in my home, and in my community.
Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound:
they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. Psalm 89:15
We are blessed, not because we live in a certain neighborhood, or drive a brand of car. We are blessed because of who our God is. Trust Him. He has proven Himself faithful and trustworthy. And be encouraged. Let His peace dwell in you today, and in the days going forward.
Do you have a specific verse or thought you’d like share here too? I would love, and I’m sure those also reading would love to hear from you.
Thank you so much for stopping by.