This week so many anxious thoughts tried to keep me occupied in busyness. My son is graduating this weekend, I have a large party with an unknown number of people coming and family coming to stay the weekend. On top of that, my husband is the preacher of the weekend at church. On those weeks, it usually becomes apparent what the theme of the message is. This week it is “God is my Defense”. The accuser was busy this week! Whether there are old lies pelting your mind, or human beings rising up in accusation against you, God is there as our defense.
I didn’t think I was really “actively” worrying, but I was constantly thinking about the details and could not rest in the moment. My son called it out when he said, “Mom, you need to take a bath.” I used to take a bath when I needed to have some alone time with God to relax. So I asked him why he said that. He said, “I see the word STRESS on your forehead.” I asked God, “Ok, I’m obviously not managing this as well as I think I am so what is the strategy you need me to adopt to keep myself in the moment and in a state of joy?
This is how I moved past it and into a state of productivity and joyful accomplishment again. I thought it may be helpful to share for others.
1) I recognized that sinking was not an option. My neck and shoulders were tight with stress and that would lead to a headache, so it had to stop. I had to let that heavy yoke go somehow. I could not afford a day of rest so I ran to God and prayed,
Lord, take this heavy yoke off of me and give me your yoke. Your yoke is easy and your burden light, so I release myself of every other yoke that is on my shoulders. Take the weight off! In Jesus’s name.
2) When I have no strength of my own, and feel weary, the joy of the Lord is my strength, so I listened to preachers who preached out of pure joy in the Lord and HAD joy. (Georgian Banov) I could choose joy and believe that God was the same today as he was yesterday. He was not worried. I was filled with the Holy Spirit yesterday, the week before and today and tomorrow will be the same. He is constantly with me. The devil was defeated at the cross and so he’s old news. He lives to get attention and that’s his primary weapon. I realized that again. The devil has been given a sentence of destruction and he’s only living out his time here. I saw Jesus bring a big foot down to the earth and crush all the things that opposed Him. Yes, everyone is under his feet.
3) I met with a friend who was thinking in a forward direction, even though she was having accusation come against her. She knew it was temporary and realized that the good that had just happened in her life often invited the enemy to try to steal that joy away. So we focused on the things God was doing and wanted to do! We left excited. Remembering the testimonies and focusing on what God is doing in our midst already is powerful and redirects our mind to the truth that God is answering our prayers even when we don’t remember.
4) When the voice of the accuser or the worry wart came at me, I just stopped and declared how worthy and good God was. I focused on adoration and prayed in tongues. I let God pray for me before any words of my own filled my lips. If you don’t have that gift of the Holy Spirit yet, ask him!
Luke 11:13 “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Ask God to fill you with his Holy Spirit. In Acts we see examples of the apostles gathering together, being filled afresh and going out again. This is what we do to survive in this world. Come to God. Submit to his presence. Tongues is a way to let God pray for you as he knows best. We don’t have to know all the details of the problem at hand, or the reasons for the accusations. Isn’t that freeing! We don’t have to figure it all out ourselves.
As I prayed in tongues, my mind cleared and wisdom and knowledge came to me.
5) Avoid comparison – It’s graduation party season and I could easily be tempted to compare how well I celebrated as I went to everyone else’s party. Did I decorate enough? Was the food ok? No. I am to celebrate out of who I am, to love my son with the gifts I have, not the gifts others have. There is not a right way to have a graduation party. There is not a right way to have a wedding, a family reunion or any get together. Don’t let comparison steal your joy. Live and be thankful for how God has moved in your own heart to bless. Be content with that. Focus on loving and doing good. Your own troubles will find their way to the door. Keep loving others in the midst of your own “mess”. Whether its a medical situation, work or tasks, it can be done as a offering to the Lord.
6) Avoid guilt – Do what God gives you permission to do. Be at peace about that. Many crises will rise up in the midst of busyness. Watch for distractions that will derail the things that you need to really accomplish. Know your place to accomplish the greatest good and what has to be put in God’s hands. He is a good manager of people, so let him. Don’t react and pridefully think you are the answer to everyone’s problems. Sometimes we are to be help, and at times, we help to much. Don’t think you need to help God too much. He’s the Savior, you are not.
6) Keep your PERSPECTIVE! Be content in all circumstances. Look at what there is to be thankful for and praise God for it as a PATTERN of defense against all the stresses of the world.
You are loved and God is fighting for you. He’s not worried. He gives you permission not to be. Go love and know you are loved. In Jesus’s name, Amen