Hebrews 12:1 - Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Every day we are being watched. Your neighbor next door. The cashier at the grocery store. The person sitting next to you at church. They all notice what you’re doing. Then there are all of those pesky cameras set up on street lights or attached to buildings and even the one on your computer. They all have their sights set on you. Does this make you feel paranoid? Do I mean for you to be paranoid about so many people watching you? Well, maybe just a little bit. You are an example to the world around you whether you want to be or not. What I want to be like is those I admire, and who have shown the world they have a lot to give no matter what their life looks like. Such as: Joni Eareckson Tada and the many women who go to my church that have Crohn’s Disease, liver disease and battling cancer. These individuals shine like the morning sun. To me they are part of the great cloud of witnesses that surround my life. They give me the strength to take that next step; putting one foot in front of the other and continue running with perseverance the race that God has marked out for me.
Galatians 6:2 - Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
One of the synonyms for anxiety is “care.” It implies oppression of the mind weighed down by responsibility or disquieted by apprehension. Some people deal with their anxiety by walking around with a chip on their shoulders just waiting to lash out at the next person who crosses their path. Others, like myself, carry around a different kind of weight – the “weight of the world” on my shoulders. I feel it’s my job to try to fix all the problems around me. Anxiety rises within and weighs down my heart. But there is a way to lift that weight – kind words. It doesn’t take much to lift that chip off someone’s shoulders, or to set the anxiety free. It just takes someone who will stop what they’re doing, smile, and cheer us up with a few kind words and bring us hope. There may feel like there’s no hope when we’re filled with anxiety, but when someone sits down with you, places their hand on yours, looks into your eyes and says, “I know this is tough. But we can get through this together.” It can wipe away our concerns. Can you be that person today? Can you be the one to say a few kind words? Don’t think of it as a difficult task to do. You may worry you’ll say the wrong thing. But God can give you the words you need and the strength to say them. Make a difference in someone’s life today and help to lift off their burdens.
Psalm 112:7-8 - He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.
Uncertainty. The unknown. Life is like a sandstorm whirling all around us. So few things are sure. So few things stay the same. Our lives shift like sand on a desert island. Life’s uncertainties feed our anxieties. It moves them into a giant, shapeless sand dune. Fear wants a way of escape, but depression stopped caring a long time ago. Life doesn’t have to look like this. There are uncertainties in life, but finding support may help. Have a conversation with a close friend or family member and ask them to help you put things into a right perspective. They know life is uncertain, but they can point out some things in your life which are certain, like their friendship, and they may offer to help you through the unknown. God will also help you walk through the sandstorm of uncertainty, because he knows the beginning from the end and knows what is going to happen next for you. He will cause your fears to blow away.
Psalm 34:18 - The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Living with emotional pain can be a roller coaster ride. You go up feeling okay and that you can handle things, but then the ride plummet you toward the ground, knocking the wind out of your lungs and plunges you into a valley of emotional pain. So what’s the answer? You get off the roller coaster. Life is full of ups and downs and heartaches that want to crush your spirit. And yes, there can be a good cause for those ups and downs during seasons of your life. But I’m talking about chronic emotional pain. For that you must turn to God for help. As you pray, God will wrap his arms around you and hold you until your emotional pain roller coaster takes a more level path.
Job 11:15 - Then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear.
Are your fears healthy or unhealthy? Is it something that stems from something that could happen or is it something that may never happen? A healthy fear is indeed good for us to have such as to watch out for cars running a red light or follow a storm watch and when not to leave on a trip. But how do we let go of our fear of things that we don’t need to be afraid of and walk in freedom instead? It’s simple, but not easy – Trust yourself and trust God to help you follow through and seize the day instead of letting your fears seize you. Let’s talk about it.
Exodus 33:14 - The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
When you are upset, do you ever notice how a part of your body starts to hurt? Well, it turns out that pain receptors in the brain see emotional and physical pain the same way. So here’s another reason to let go and rest the situation in God’s hands. It’s not necessarily always easy, but the end result will bring you peace. Do you become upset often? Does your body hurt when you do? Let’s talk about the difficult circumstances we face and together we can move through the situation.
Job 20:2 - My troubled thoughts prompt me to answer because I am greatly disturbed.
Are you a “stuffer”? Do you push down your feelings and ignore what’s going on? Whether it is chronic pain or emotional pain we can only try to hide for so long. Eventually your feelings will come out. The only question is how you want them to come out. It doesn’t make us weak or a bad person because we don’t always act like we’ve “got it all together.” Stop stuffing and start letting go by laying it at Jesus’ feet and listening to what he says about you. He knows you’re hurting and you don’t ever have to hide something from him. Especially your feelings. Do you stuff your feelings and try to ignore the pain you’re going through? Let’s talk about it.
Psalm 4:8 - I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
The alarm clock goes off and you roll out of bed. You don’t feel anymore energized than you did before you went to sleep because you hardly slept. Can it be something was rolling around in your head that you need to get done the next day? Here’s a suggestion: Have a notepad next to your bed. When an idea comes up write it down then go back to sleep. If that doesn’t work, write the list before bed and put the list in a drawer. Out of sight. Out of mind. Do you have difficulty falling asleep because you have too much on your mind?
Psalm 55:22 - Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
Sometimes I feel it’s my job to try to fix all the problems around me. Anxiety rises within and weighs down my heart. It’s not part of my job description to fix everyone. It’s my job to turn not only my circumstance but those of others’ to God. Only he can “fix” things. Do you struggle with thinking it’s your job to fix things?
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.