By: Alexis Newlin
It’s an old frenemy of many of us, one that I would love to be rid of.
Worry says I must ponder a thing over and over again. To not do so means that I am just ignoring it. If I don’t think about it constantly, I don’t care. I don’t want to fix the problem.
I must fixate on it constantly.
These are such lies.
Yet it is my broken belief system. I’m not alone; many people struggle with anxiety and worry.
Worry, which is the ugly second cousin to anxiety is defined as:
I feel this definition defines my breed of worry best: (of a dog or other carnivorous animal) tear at, gnaw on, or drag around with the teeth (Lexico*)
When I am wrapped in the clinches of worry, it feels as if I am being torn at and dragged around. Everything feels ripped away: my joy, my peace, my knowing that God is in control.
I’ve been told that to worry is to rock in a rocking chair, expecting to get somewhere, yet you’re going nowhere. Now, this is the truth. Worry is unfruitful. The only fruit it produces is anxiety, discomfort, irritability, illness.
It is not the way God wants me or anyone else to live.
This morning, my old frenemy decided to visit. I’d lost my debit card the night before, and although I’d immediately reported it lost, I still worried that something could still happen.
As I sat, coming up with every worse scenario possible, even ones outside of the lost debit card, I found myself wrapped up once again in the worry trap.
Thankfully, God came to the rescue. He asked me why I was so anxious. Then he kindly pointed me to Matthew 6:25-34, and verse 27 stood out:
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? (ESV)
Worry does not add to your life. Instead, it takes it away.
Just look at some the symptoms of anxiety:
God knows how damaging anxiety and worry can be to our bodies. That’s why He wants us to avoid it.
So how do we avoid anxiety and worry? We trust God. We have faith that he is in control; we remember he takes care of everything.
If He cares for the birds and the small blades of grass, how much more does He care for us? We have a heavenly Father who loves us so much and take care of every need we have. Every. Single. One. All we have to do is ask Him.
Bring your burdens to God; don’t carry them on your own; we are simply not meant to.
Alexis is a 36-year-old lover of Jesus, loose leaf tea, roller coasters, writing stories and going on adventures. Originally from Marietta, GA, Alexis now resides in Fresno, CA. You can always find Alexis outdoors enjoying a walk in her neighborhood, scoping out the newest food truck, hanging out with friends or planning her next trip. Her church, The Revival Center, and family mean the world to her. They have supported her through the loss of her mother and her own cancer diagnosis. Alexis enjoys encouraging others by reminding them not to look at what they see, but to always look to God, who is working in the unseen. Alexis currently writes for several online ministries and just launchedThe Brave Podcast in January 2020. Connect with Alexis further by clicking here!
By: Angela Lawley
How do you see yourself? What do you see when you look in the mirror?
This is important because it is what shapes how we see others and how we see God. About 5yrs ago, my family and I were living in 400sqft of living space. Before you start feeling sorry for me, this isn’t a tragic situation; it was a necessity. You see, we were building a business and wanted to save money, so we converted part of our building into living quarters. It was very smart of us, but being a family of four with two very fast-growing boys, this situation soon wore its necessary appeal. For four very long years, this situation wore me down. So much so that I hated everything about it. I would find myself in my bathroom, giving myself pep talks through tears. “You can do this, Angela,” “God has so much in store for you and your family. Just keep going!”
But you see, I didn’t see it, and I especially didn’t feel blessed. All I saw was a struggling Momma who was at the end of her rope. I was tired, sad, and hopeless. Then in a time of prayer...ok, let’s be honest, I was complaining to God. He reminded me of a few of His promises. One was every Christian's favorite motivational scripture. Jeremiah 29:11:
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (NIV)
Yeah. That’s a good one. We can camp out there for a while. I can still hear myself give God a “yeah, yeah.” Remember, we are being real! The next scripture He reminded me of was another good one from Jeremiah 1:5:
"...before I formed you in the womb I knew you." (NIV)
At this moment, I pictured God as a loving Father who gently lifts Jeremiah’s chin. Looks him straight in the eyes and gently reminds him of this profound truth. As the Father began to remind me of these truths, my heart started to soften because I see Him doing the same thing for me. Then He drove it home with this one, Philippians 4:19:
"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (KJV)
I cry thinking about this moment with my God, as the Holy Spirit started to minister to me. All the frustrations began to melt away. I was gently reminded of a few things that day:
1). God never forgets His children. We are apart of a beautiful plan that was laid out before the foundation of the earth, one that will show the world that we serve a faithful God. When he was creating every inch of you, He was making plans and ways out of every struggle.
2). Don’t allow your circumstances to cloud your understanding of who you serve. We serve a mighty God who is faithful. A God who cares about your needs and wants us to be blessed.
3). Being uncomfortable for a season doesn’t mean God has forgotten about you. Take that time to seek the Father with all your heart so that you can see Him in every situation.
4). Don’t see yourself through the eyes of struggle; look at your struggle through the eyes of Jesus! It will change your heart, and it will welcome the Holy Spirit to fill your situation with the peace that passes understanding.
To end my story. As a family, we started speaking by faith that our needs would be met. We worked hard and stood on the truth that our needs were met. We thanked God for the season we were in and allowed Him to help change our perspective. We saw ourselves as blessed because we had each other, and most of all, we had Jesus. About six months later, an old friend walked into our store and asked if we were looking for a house. We told her, yes, and she offered a home that she had available. It was almost six times the size of the space we were in!! Hallelujah! This is where you dance!!
We have been in this house for five years this August. And every time I walk around it, mow the lawn, even do the dishes, I thank God for our blessing. Now when we have a struggle, I immediately thank the Father, and I see myself on the other side, blessed! When I walk into my personal bathroom...(( Mommas, give me an Amen)) I turn and look in the mirror, and I see a child of God who is blessed, who is heard by God, and who is an overcomer. AMEN!!
My prayer for you today is that you start seeing yourself the way God sees you, even though your struggles. You are blessed! You are loved! And God sees you! Don’t lose hope!
Angela Lawley Founder of Giving Hope Ministries. Host of Giving Hope Podcast -Teacher women’s Bible Study. Angela is a 2007 graduate of Rhema Bible Training Center, where she graduated with a certificate in Helps Ministry. Angela and her husband Ryan have been married for 20yrs. They own their own business in their home town of Canton, Tx. Angela is the mother of two amazing boys Nicholas and Aiden. Three years ago Angela decided to start a home ministry where women from all backgrounds could come and hear the Word of God. Her heart was to teach and equipped women to fight for their marriages, children and their God given place in this world! There in her living room Giving Hope Ministries was born and is growing day by day. You can join her live every Sunday evening on the Giving Hope Ministries Facebook page. Connect with Angela further by clicking here!
By: Tamika Mahomes
"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" Matthew 5:13-16
When we reflect on the passage in Matthew chapter 5, Jesus is preaching the sermon on the mount. When we arrive at verses 13-16, we see Jesus sharing the reminder that this thing called Christianity is a religion worth sharing, as he shares that his followers are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
While sharing the gospel is necessary, it is something that many followers of Christ shy away from! We often shy away for fear of rejection; we shy away because we don't want to offend; we even shy away because we don't want to face the backlash. The Bible reminds us that when we serve Jesus, the world may get angry, the world may not agree, and that if we choose to be pleasers of the world, we can not walk in the true fullness of life with Christ.
“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 KJV
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.”
Philippians 2:3 NLT
While fear may keep us from walking as the salt of the earth and the light of the world, we must rest in the simple truth that when we share Christ with others, we are essentially taking the focus off of us and putting the focus on Christ.
When we live a life of true surrender unto the most high God, we allow our convictions to lead us to a place where our commitments can't hold us. We develop an understanding that this world is not our home, and our obedience to the Holy Spirit is more important than any commitment to this world.
To be salt of the earth and light of the world, we first have to know who the Word is, we must understand what the Word teaches, and we must draw near to the Word's instructions. If we do not have the light in us, we can not show the light to the world around us. John 8:12 reminds us of this truth, as is says:
“...I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (KJV)
When we allowed the Lord to speak to us through his Holy Word, we allow the light within us to transition to the darkness that is around us. Will you allow the Lord to use you today?