Wednesday, February 9, 2011

If You Pray, Don't Worry

(Below are Jessica's thoughts on Chapter 12, An Anxious and Worried Mind, of Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well. Feel free to leave a comment, question and/or scripture below this post. Let's dig deep and join together to fight this battle!)

When I read this chapter, I had no problem relating to the effects of worry and anxiety on my life and relationship with God. As a mother of a child with autism, it is so easy to spiral into worry and anxiety about what the future may or may not hold. I have worried about how he could ever come close to catching up to his same-age peers, how will I be able to meet his educational and developmental needs, what needs will he have as an adolescent and then and adult-and how will we afford it all? As I type this I also think of how God has met our needs to this point, all of the amazing ways he has come through for us. He has never let us down. Yet, from time to time I need to have a serious chat with myself to be reassured that yes, every step forward presents new challenges, but God will also offer new solutions.

After I delivered my first son in the hospital, one of the nurses shared some great wisdom on this with me. She must have noticed this tendency in me because she said, "If you pray, don't worry and If you worry, don't pray". She was telling me that if I trust God and cast my cares on Him, I don't need to worry. Worrying, on the other hand, would undermine my faith and lessen the power of my prayers.

I think that I used to believe that worrying was some kind of insurance policy to keep me from becoming lazy and would actually help the outcome of whatever the situation was. If I didn't worry, wasn't I not taking things seriously enough? If I didn't worry, then I wouldn't be prepared for all the things that could possibly go wrong. As I learn more from God's word and through teachers such as Joyce Meyer, I can see how negative and self-defeating this kind of thinking is. When I realize the toll of repeated worry; how much harder it was to stay focused, how it stole my joy and peace, how exhausted it left me, etc., I can see that clearly this way of doing things is not only the least productive, but also not going to yield a positive result in any way. The very first thing Joyce states in Chapter 12, identify what worry really is and what it does to your life;

Anxiety and worry are both attacks on the mind intended to distract us from serving the Lord. The enemy also uses both of these torments to press our faith down, so it cannot rise up and help us live in victory. (Battlefield of the Mind, p. 119)

How do we break the cycle of worrying, especially when it is viewed as a part of our personality? We have to recite what the word of God says about worry and anxiety and learn how to enter into the rest of God. We have to remind ourselves of God's goodness and his promises to never leave or forsake us.

When we proclaim what the Word says about worry, and about how God promises to meet all of our needs we increase the power of God in our lives and decrease the power the enemy has. When we can trust fully in God, we enter into His rest and experience His peace. What does that mean exactly? To me, it means that regardless of how things look on paper, I can let my mind rest because I know God is working behind the scenes. When our mind is at rest, or at peace, we can hear from God and know what we should or shouldn't do. We will have more energy and focus to keep up with the work he has called us to do while we are waiting. Even if I can't see, I have to believe and trust. The bible tells us that there will always be storms and trials in this life. (John 16:33) Our example to others can be that of the "calm within the storm". To me, that is real power, to be able to face the trials of this life without fear and still have peace and joy.

Dear Lord,
Thank you so much for hearing and answering our prayers to you. I thank you for all that you do for each of us and our precious children. We cast all of our cares for their needs, both at this present moment and in the future, fully and completely on you. You have told us in your word that you love us and will provide for all of our needs, and your words are always true. Give us your grace and strength and call to our minds what your word says every time an anxious thought attacks us. We trust you fully with our lives and the lives of our children. By your goodness, may we enter into your rest and know the assurance that only your peace can give. We ask this in Jesus' name.

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