Category Archives: Fear & Anxiety

Accepting Help

It is much more comfortable to be the one giving help.  Accepting help is against our grain in several instances.  If one is the serving type and loves to make everyone else feel welcome – then accepting help can be hard.  If one is a leader type and feels a weight of responsibility than being the one who needs help doesn’t feel quite right.  And again, if we tend to be independent, then, help means dependence.  There are many instances where we can find ourselves resisting the love and concern of others through practical acts of care they want to do to help us.

While Christianity causes us to be “givers” instead of “takers,” there is a time and season for many things in life.  We are commanded to work hard and to be self-sacrificing.  But sometimes it is our turn to humbly accept help.  Humility is a Christ-like characteristic.

Elijah was a mighty prophet.  God worked through him tremendously.  Elijah stood against 450 false prophets of Baal and challenged them to a “bake-off.”  Really, it was about Elijah offering a sacrifice to the one and only true God and proving to the whole community that the worship of Baal was idol worship. The God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob was not pleased with the worship of other gods.  The results were amazing.  Then Elijah prayed for much-needed rain, and it poured.  Not only did God dramatically answer his prayer, Elijah ran a race with a chariot and won!  Talk about a spiritual high!  In all these events Elijah was a spiritual leader.

English: Elijah Resuscitating the Son of the W...

English: Elijah Resuscitating the Son of the Widow of Zarephath (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then it happened.  The evil woman Jezebel threatened Elijah, and Elijah freaked out.  Elijah fled for his life.  In a short amount of time he found himself alone, exhausted and depressed.  He asked God to take his life.

English: Jezabel and Ahab Meeting Elijah in Na...

English: Jezabel and Ahab Meeting Elijah in Naboth’s Vineyard Giclee. Print by Sir Frank Dicksee. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Elijah needed help.

The rest of the story is recorded in I Kings 19, but in short, Elijah needed some physical things to help him regain his emotional stability, his mental equilibrium, and strengthen his faith.  Elijah was encouraged to sleep, eat, drink water and sleep some more.  Then he went to be alone with God and pray.

Elijah in the wilderness, by Washington Allston

Elijah in the wilderness, by Washington Allston (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Elijah’s healthy perspective returned.

We all need help sometimes.  Followers of Christ are united into what the Bible describes as “the body of Christ,” meaning that although we all work in different ways, we are all important and needed.  Like a physical body, some parts are more prominent, but each has a function that is vital to the health of the whole body.  We help each other.  No matter what part of that “body” we play, in some season of life we will need to help of others and we do well to accept that help.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.  There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Crisis, Depression, Fear & Anxiety, Grief & Loss

Peace in the Hurly-Burly

Every human soul longs for peace.  Ask fifty people their definition of peace and chances are you will hear fifty varied responses!  A short concordance definition gives these definitions for peace:

A state of tranquility or quiet;  a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity; harmony in personal relations, especially with God;  a state of security or order within a community;  freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.

Of all the above definitions “harmony in personal relations, especially with God” trumps all other forms of peace.  Although we desire them all, when we are at peace with our Creator, our perspective changes.  Although all the pieces of our lives may not fit the puzzle, it is still o.k. when we have God’s peace!  The people I look up to in life do not live lives of ease, rather they are those who have had great troubles, and have come to a place of peace in the midst of their trials of life.  My dear friends with cancer, a mentor whose faith burned brightly with a sharp and articulate mind, even as she faced death, my friend whose heart ached by unfair mistreatment from another, the couple whose adult child is currently in the grips of chemical addiction, the one who spoke of God’s faithfulness even when her world fell apart by choices she had made.  When she regained her faith she was able to point to this verse:

Jesus said,

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.  Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

Take heart, be encouraged – there is a bigger picture that what we now see.  Perspective changes everything.

We experience God’s peace when we are able to give over the things in our lives that do not make sense, the things that trouble us, the circumstances for which we have no control.  These trials of life are not allowed so that we lose hope.  Rather in giving these over to God we grow in trust and faith in Him and His ability to make good out of what is now seemingly bad.

Not a few Christians live in a state of unbroken anxiety, and others fret and fume terribly.  To be perfectly at peace amid the hurly-burly of daily life is a secret worth knowing…People know you live in the realm of anxious care by the lines on your face, the tones of our voice, the minor key of your life, and the lack of joy in your spirit…Come, my soul, return unto thy rest, and lean thy head upon the bosom of the Lord Jesus.”   -Mrs. Charles E. Cowman, Streams in the Desert

The Serenity prayer points out that there are things under our control, and things that are not.  It is in the things that are not, that we can place into the hands of God in growing trust.  His peace is worth it all, and provides amazing strength for the next page of our life’s story.

1 Comment

Filed under Fear & Anxiety

Rock Solid Identity

What is your identity?  Who are you?

We wrestle with those questions from Jr. High days on forward.  Our identity colors what we think about ourselves, how we choose to act and with what our hearts resonate.

We often think of a relationship when considering our identity.  A parent of, a child of, a spouse of etc.  Or we think in terms of our vocation, our occupation.  I am a ………..butler, a banker, a candlestick maker.  Or we may identify with our favorite pastime – a fan of a sports team, a “skater,” a “surfer,” a “blogger,” a quilter.”

When we identify ourselves in one of those areas our worlds can be quickly shaken if something goes a rye.  If our pride and joy is being a parent and our kids make choices that break our hearts we wonder if we are good at anything at all.  Or if we are very proud of our parents and they are our stability in life, then when one of them makes a decision that makes us ashamed, our world is rocked.   If we are all about our business ventures and they go south, again, an identity crisis.  If our self-concept has to do with our physical health and that changes then we re-evaluate who we are in this season of life.

The only rock solid identity is that of a child of God.  No one can take that away.  No life change can break the cement of that relationship made available through Jesus Christ.  Hear the words of David, when he was in trouble:

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and He turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.  He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.  He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see what He has done and be amazed.  They will put their trust in the Lord.

Faith in the One who will never leave us or forsake us provides a strong foundation for our identity.  From Mrs. Charles E. Cowman, author of Streams in the Desert:

Faith rests on the naked Word of God.  When we take Him at His Word the heart is at peace.

2 Comments

Filed under Fear & Anxiety, Identity

Insomnia, Yet Singing for Joy

Do your problems keep you up at night?  There is something about troubles that send us running to God.  Oh, we’d like to think that if our lives were peaceful and all our prayer requests were granted immediately (and in the way we would like) that we would be so thankful to God that we would stay ever close to Him.  But that is not human nature.  Rare is the person who would seek out God when life is going really well.  We lean toward  the myth of self-sufficiency, and when life is going smooth, it feeds our thought that we can do it all on our own.  Blessed is the person who knows that God alone is the source of our help and security, even if it has taken trouble and heart ache to realize this truth.

David, the writer of many Psalms, was often on the run from trouble.  While in the wilderness of Judah he penned these words:

I lie awake thinking of You,

meditating on You through the night.

Because You are my helper,

I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.

I cling to You

Your strong right hand holds me securely.

Psalm 63:6-8 (NLT)

David’s problems were not small when he wrote this.  People were lying about him, plotting to destroy him and kill him.  Big stuff.  Yet, David sang for joy in the midst of his problems.  David, instead of fretting through the night, made a conscious effort to think about the Lord and meditate on Him through the night.

If your problems keep you up at night, I too have been a fellow night-fretter.  I have laid awake trying mentally to control dilemmas that were uncontrollable in my own power.  Those worries caused me insomnia.  Many times I allowed troubling issues to rob me from sleep.  I am learning, however, that our sense of security is rooted in our attitude of trust in the Lord.  That solid foundation of trust in God’s ways allow an indescribable peace that doesn’t make sense to our logical sense, and grants sleep in times of anxiety.  One of my nightly rituals has become reading a Bible story to a five-year old.  How blessed am I to have this time of focusing on the truths of God’s Word before I lay down my head to sleep.  There is so much peace wrapped up in God’s Word!

Like David, we can choose to turn to the Lord during the watches of the night, and if we lie awake, to make a conscious decision to meditate on the good He has done.  We grow in trust by clinging to Him, especially in times of concern.

2 Comments

Filed under Fear & Anxiety