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Tag: 1 Peter 5:7

Imagination Gone Wild

Rendition of Edvard Munch's painting The Scream.
“We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” – Seneca the younger.

I’m notorious for jumping to the worst-case scenario. For writing, it’s a great skill. I identify my heroine’s greatest fear and then concoct the worst possible outcome that I can think of that preys upon her anxiety.

This skill is awful when it comes to real life, especially when you have a child getting his driver’s license. There is nothing worse than lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, running through all the possible catastrophes, until you hear the garage door open. It also doesn’t come in handy when flying in an airplane, hearing strange noises at night, or during the onset of a pandemic. My imagination can be my own worst enemy.

In my stories, the heroine learns she must trust God, yet in my own life, how often do I choose to worry first and give it to God afterward? Why do I let my anxiety build until it pours out in complaints or groans? Why do I allow fear a grip when 2 Timothy says, God didn’t give us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and sound mind?

I’m still learning how to turn off the bombardment of negative thoughts like one would a faucet, but through prayer, I’m able to filter them to a trickle or a drip. As soon as I realize the flood of worst-case scenarios is assaulting me, I take my thoughts captive and lay them at the feet of Jesus. My simple prayer sounds like this: God, you know my fears. I can’t control this situation, but You are all-powerful and all-knowing. Protect myself and my loved ones in Your loving care because I know you care for us.

dripping faucet
When we pray, God becomes a problem for our problems.

We need to bow our heads, fold our hands, and introduce our fear of the worst-case scenario to the One who wrote the book and who already knows the ending. Why should we suffer from our what-ifs when God tells us to cast all our worries on Him (1 Peter 5:7)? It’s time to turn off our run-amok imaginations and turn on our prayer warrior side. Unsheathe the sword of the spirit and battle in the spiritual realm instead of in our heads.

It’s time to stop talking about our problems and instead start speaking to our problems. Remind them who is ultimately in charge and who wins in the end. Introduce our mangy fears to our fearless God.

invisible man

Seeing the Invisible

invisible man

I was Zoom caller 219 out of 428, not even a blip on the screen. This was one of those meetings where I was muted, and there were no video images other than the presenter. The only way to interact was to type unanimously into the chat, and if your question was deemed one they wanted to answer, then it was discussed.

I felt overlooked.

The world can feel distant like we’re not on the same page or the same screen. We’re a census number, a paycheck, a tax dollar, or an object to drive around. Masks add to the feeling of invisibility. I passed a good friend of mine at the store because I didn’t recognize her with half her face hidden.

God doesn’t overlook people.

There was a woman with a bleeding issue. She’d spent all her money on doctors only for her problem to worsen. Back in those days, when a woman bled, she was considered unclean. They even had special tents where a woman stayed during her menstruation to keep them separate. Twelve years she dealt with this incurable disease, and its isolation. Hope seemed like a luxury until she heard of a man named Jesus who had healing powers. She thought if she could just touch his robe, she’d be healed.

Reaching hand

She stood in the crowded street, jam-packed with people who’d come to see Jesus. The disciples rushed Jesus through because a prominent Synagogue leader’s daughter had become deathly ill. The woman nudged through the crowd, jostled by the throng, waiting for a glimpse of Jesus. As he passed, she squeezed her arm out and touched the hem of his cloak. Jesus froze and turned to the disciples asking, “Who touched me?”

I can imagine the jolt of panic that coursed through the woman. How did he know? Was the healer going to scold her for her overreach? The shame of being unclean burned her cheeks as she confessed, but Jesus looked her in the eye. The rest of the crowd watched with curiosity—who is this woman? The disciples tugged on his arm with a we-need-to-go look, but Jesus stilled them with a hand. He didn’t admonish her. He called her daughter and praised her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering (Mark 5:34).”

God sees us.

The busyness of the world doesn’t force God to de-prioritize our importance. Most would think the dying little girl would have taken precedence, but at that moment Jesus knew the desperation of the bleeding woman. To Him, every need is great. Her being unclean didn’t stop him from speaking to her, nor from saving the dying child. God sees us. A mask won’t hide our faces from him. He sees our hearts and calls us daughter or son. He knows our hopes, our desires, and the insecurities we try to hide. He understands the areas in our lives where we’re hemorrhaging physically or emotionally. Nothing remains hidden from the God of the universe. He welcomes us with open arms and instructs us to lay our troubles at His feet.

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7

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Girl hiding under comforter

When the World Wants You to Worry

Two mass shootings thirteen hours apart – this past weekend’s news headlines instills fear into the hearts of all of us.

Woman under comforter: Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels

Circumstances like El Paso and Dayton have become all too frequent. My heart breaks for those killed and injured community, and my prayers go out for their families and communities. Worrying about what is happening to this world and where things are headed makes me want to squeeze my eyes shut, crawl back under the covers, and stay there. However, I peel back the covers, and not only face each day but do so with joy and hope.

In May, my phone rang as I pulled up in front of my son’s elementary school. It was a robocall from the town. My car automatically puts my calls on speaker as a driving precaution. My son and his cousin listened in the back seat to the broadcast announcement that a possible threat had been made upon the Ashland High School and there would be a heavy police presence at all the town schools. The drop off teacher peered at me through the window and cars lined up behind me. I had only a moment to decide whether to throw the car back in drive and peel away or open the car door and let my baby out when I could tell he had fear in his eyes and a million questions for me.

I held up a one-moment finger to the drop-off teacher and prayed Isaiah 54:17over my son and nephew that no weapon turned against them would succeed. I put on my brave face and opened the car door. I told them I loved them like I do every day but added, “God has got this, and He’s got you.”

Baby birds in nest

It’s hard to relinquish those that you love. I have to remind myself, that even though these precious boys are for a time in my care, they are God’s children. His love for them is greater than my own. Even if I want to protect them from every hurtful and hateful thing out there, it is God’s will, not mine. He has big plans for them, and it doesn’t entail keeping them locked away for safekeeping. As hard as it is, I have to let go and let God, and not only that, the Bible says I have to do it without worry.

Don’t worry; be praying. – Philippians 4:6 says it straight out, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” In order to allow my boys to become young men, I’ve had to stay put and let them venture from the nest, but not without prayer cover. My role has changed from Mommy guardian angel when they were little to a prayer warrior.

Don’t be a joint worrier. I will sometimes pray as if expressing my concerns is going to evoke God to worry also, enough to take action and save the day. Praying like this isn’t honoring God. It’s trying to control God.  1 Peter 5:7states, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Cast means to throw. Not throw like a game of catch where you wait for it to be thrown back. It means to relinquish it, surrender it to God completely.

Let tomorrow worry about itself. Don’t exhaust yourself worrying over what the world is becoming, if layoffs are coming, or about your son or daughter leaving to get their driver’s license, for college, or the military. Worrying about tomorrow today only causes you to worry twice and leaves you exhausted. Matthew 6:34 says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Worry is good for one thing only: to help us recognize an area of our life that we need to surrender.

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