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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Anxious moments and our response

The other day a friend sent me an entry from the Our Daily Bread devotional. "Try to Relax" was the topic. How do you accomplish that? The act of trying requires effort and exertion whereas relaxation is an absence of both effort and exertion. So how to try to relax. You can't. You can't try. You have to do. You have to trust - not yourself, but God.

My anxiety seems to have moved God off His throne in my life and put all my anxious thoughts there instead. It has only been in the most recent days that I have found this true. Well, probably, actually, the past four weeks or so.

  • Anxious about my husband Jim doing physical therapy exercises at home or not doing them - primarily the latter
  • Anxi0us that he would end up with a frozen shoulder and require additional surgery to rework the shoulder
  • Anxious about the disc protrusion in my lower back causing pain in my left hip and down both legs
  • Anxious about less money coming in and the same or more going out
Prayers went out, prayers were answered ... for some of these anxious moments.

Yet I didn't fully let go of all the anxiety surrounding and just allow God to control the situation, to control my life.

January is such a pitifully long month - 31 days long.

I looked back at the goals I had set for myself at the beginning of the month. They were not and are not still, selfish goals, but it appears I am off track. I have done something wrong have I not?

My first goal - I want to live these days with You Lord, only You.

My second goal - I want to follow you Lord, be obedient, wherever You take me, making no excuses.

I must not be obedient, I must be making excuses. I have failed.

Is the Lord thoroughly disappointed in me or will He give me ANOTHER chance to Follow Him and Obey Him and make No Excuses WHEREVER He takes me?

When I set that goal, I bet I didn't stop to consider all that it encompassed. I certainly have a better idea of what it means now.

I do want to follow You Lord. I do want to be obedient to You Lord ... Wherever it takes me, with No Excuses. Help me I pray to achieve that. Help me to see your hand in everything that comes along and show me how I am to respond.

I frequently do not respond well. All the anxiety of past weeks has caused a recurring bout with skin rash to rear its ugly head. Five days off work this past week and repeated visits to doctors with stronger and stronger meds prescribed. There is some relief. But is it from the medicine itself or is it the Holy Spirit reminding me of God's truths.

How far will I have to go before I give up, stop fighting, and give in to God?

It is hard. My skin tingles, my eyes twitch. It is not easy to concentrate on something other than the itching or anything else that distracts me from the Lord and His word.

Eating M&Ms is a stress reducer of choice. It doesn't really reduce any stress. It just makes me feel better for a moment. I can't say, "I can't help it," when I really can. That is an excuse, a poor one at that. M&Ms only add weight on to a body that needs to have a reduction in size. Another anxiety booster.

What I desire I don't do and what I don't desire that I do.

It applies to so many things.

Another anxiety booster I have is noise levels, such as when someone is trying to be quiet and is not succeeding, or where there are errors and no way to fix them.

Trust God for the outcome of all of life's trials. Give up the personal anxiety agenda disorder. Give in to the Lord who knows you in and out, today, tomorrow and forever after. Put your whole body, mind and soul into His care. Rely on Him for everything.

As Psalm 46 says:

(1) "God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
(2) Therefore we will not fear
(7) The Lord of hosts is with us;
(10) Be still and know that I am God;
(11) The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge."

"Be still and know"
God knows today and tomorrow and all future days and all former days. We are safe when we rely in Him and on Him.

It is hard to put into practice. It is hard to give up each anxious moment and be still in the Lord. It is so very hard.

God never said it would be easy. That doesn't make it less worthwhile.

Help me Lord to follow You.
Help me Lord to be obedient to You.
Help me Lord wherever You take me.
Help me Lord to not make excuses for all my shortcomings.
Help me Lord to become less anxious at each venture I face.
Help me Lord to see past the turmoils and seek You at every point.
Help me Lord.
I know I cannot do this alone.
Give me your peace.
In this your name I pray.

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"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will direct your paths." - Proverbs 3:5-6