**And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus** Philippians 4:7
Yesterday, we talked about learning to get a handle on our worrying. We talked a little bit about the collateral damage of worry, and about how it affects our relationships and our family when we obsess about big and/or little things. When we place whatever we are worrying about before God in prayer, thanking Him for all the things that are the way we like them and for the things that are not, then today’s verse tells us that we can have peace. If we have difficulty thinking of something positive that we are experiencing in our life at this moment, then we can simply thank him for his faithfulness, his goodness, or his kindness to us or answered prayer from last year or from a week ago. The idea is gratitude. The specifics are up to you.
We can exchange our anxiety, worries, fears and turbulent thoughts for peace of mind and peace of heart. Being able to manifest peace in the middle of problems shows others that we have a resource beyond ourselves. It is human to worry and be fearful, it is Supernatural to be at peace.
I need to say that this is the right formula for when we’re anxious about any situation, but it is not an easy formula to live from day-to-day. These past few days have been very stressful. My schedule has been full of appointments that I don’t usually need to attend to, extra needs for the ministry here, a few annoying problems with our apartment, and an overall shortage of time to get it all done. I’ve had a nagging voice in my head telling me that it’s easier to SAY to not worry than it is to actually not worry. Because in general, I have not had a lot of peace.
At one of my appointments today, I had to sit and wait for my turn. Normally that would be a cause for even more anxiety, knowing that I was ‘wasting’ time just sitting there, knowing I had so much yet to do. But again that little voice told me that I could choose peace or anxiety. So, I decided to use that ‘extra’ time to just take a few deep breaths and relax and allow myself to calm the multitude of thoughts that were going through my mind.
It is obvious that prayer and gratitude do not just flow from my being. Sometimes, I need to take a long walk first and just release the stress. Sometimes I need to be in a quiet place to calm myself physically and emotionally to be able to even be coherent in prayer. Sometimes, I need my husband to just sit next to me and hold me to remind me that I am not in this fight alone. Then I am ready to have a long talk with God about what I’m concerned about.
It doesn’t matter where we are on our path with God. Maybe we’re just starting out on our journey, maybe we’ve covered a lot of ground, but each of us needs to find whatever process helps us to approach God with all that burdens our hearts and minds. Let’s work on reducing the stress in a healthy way, and then come before God thanking him for all the good that He truly does every day in our lives and then put whatever is currently causing us anxiety before him in prayer and then move on, trusting him to take care of it, in his way and in his time.
One last thought on peace….your spouse has the same struggles with worry and maintaining peace than you do. Maybe he struggles even more. His worries may be different but he still needs to learn to live in peace. I encourage you to take some time to pray with and for your spouse about his worries. Worrying can make us self- concerned and make us forget that others have problems, too. Don’t forget that marriage is for better or for worse, in worry and in peace. Tip #3 from Philippians 4:3 reminded us to help one another, carrying each other’s burdens, sharing the load. It is not our job to worry more, knowing our spouse’s concerns, but it is our job to work together to overcome each problem area with prayer, gratitude and encouragement.