Anxiety

Today’s Readings: Colossians 3:2, 1 Peter 5:7, Matthew 6:25

Okay… super vulnerability time. I started this blog to help myself stay accountable with my personal bible studies. Well, it’s been almost two months since I posted anything so as you can tell, I haven’t really been as consistent as I wanted to be. However, I decided I’m not going to pressure myself to post each time I begin a bible study… only if I feel led to. Or if I just need to get my thoughts typed out.


Since my last post a lot has been happening in my household. We knew my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer but we recently found out she is also diagnosed with a subtype of cancer called “triple negative cancer” that is affecting her neck region. Because of this, she has started chemotherapy and let me just say if you’ve ever lived with someone while they are taking chemo, I am so proud of you. It is not easy, not even a little bit. Watching someone you love become so fatigued, watching their physical and emotional pain progress and even watching them loose their hair, is not easy. It does however put things in perspective and you begin to watch your priorities shift. Trying times like this may make you feel a little worrisome and anxious which is exactly what I want to talk about. (My mind is spinning around with about 1,000 different thoughts so I apologize in advance if this post seems out of order or boggled… I’m just going to type out what’s on my heart and mind. And even if it doesn’t make sense to y’all… I know Jesus understands always- this picture below that 104.9 posted the other day, explains that perfectly!)

Anxiety is a topic that is very relevant in my life. Honestly I feel like this topic should get like 10 posts because of how much detail I could expound on… but for sake of time I think 1 post is enough for now. I realize everyone feels anxious and depressed when times are tough, it’s totally normal. However, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety about 5 years ago and I can’t really remember a time where I wasn’t either anxious and/ or depressed. Within these last two years I’d say my anxiety has overlapped my depression by far. I’ve had mixed feelings about whether or not to take medication for these conditions but after going on/ off of my medicine for years, I’ve decided that at least for right now, medication is the right decision for me. I’m thankful that God has given doctors the knowledge to help treat the symptoms of my anxiety but it goes so much deeper than medicine. I know that God is ultimately the great physician and that I’ll never truly be at peace unless He abides in me (which He does.)

That being said, there are a lot of things that bother me that I have to try and pray through every single day. Obviously my mom’s cancer is a big one for me. I’m constantly playing the “what-if” game in terms of her health. I won’t go into detail simply because I could go on and on, but I’m sure you guys get the idea. It’s rough. We have to take it each day at a time. I do however often feel as if God is allowing me to feel an immense amount of peace about my mom, so that I can be strong for her. It’s as if every time she feels discouraged and it would make sense for me to get upset alongside her, I instead feel as though God is wrapping us all up in a big hug and telling us it’s going to okay. I believe He gives me such peace because she is going to be okay and she is going to get through this with God by her side. The number one thing you’d think I’d be worried about is the one thing that God constantly helps me with. I do however have many little insignificant things that shouldn’t seem to bother me yet they do… things that trigger my anxiety to the max.

I frequently get anxious about the silliest and smallest things and sometimes if I allow these anxieties to dwell for too long they can turn into panic attacks, which are obviously never fun. (Before I list the things that make me anxious please remember that what bothers me may seem completely ridiculous to you but I ask that you don’t judge.) I get anxious when certain people don’t like my posts on facebook. I get anxious if I’m texting someone in a positive way and they don’t text back in the same manner. I get anxious if I feel like I’m being left out. I get anxious and suspicious that people who are close to me are always saying something negative about me when I’m not around. I get anxious when I wonder what people think about me and my life decisions. I get anxious about my future. I get anxious that I’m going to say the wrong thing and offend someone (which is why I’m always trying to explain myself.) When situations like this arise, I try to decide if I should push these feelings away and move on or let it dwell on me and distance myself from people so that I won’t have the opportunity to get disappointed or anxious again. I usually end up pretending like everything is fine that way I’m not a burden to those around me. I am such a people- pleaser and I will do just about anything if it’ll make others around me, happy. Even as a child I always felt secure as long as everyone around me was happy and no one was mad at me. I can’t stand to have people mad at me, I think about it constantly. I KNOW these situations are silly and small yet my heart still chooses to dwell on them. I also know that I sound childish right now, but I’m just sharing my heart.

In the midst of all of these anxieties however, I can feel myself drawing closer to God and leaning heavily on His word. Each time I feel worrisome or get worked up, I find myself trying to remember the many promises God has given me. I constantly try to repeat my life verse over and over when I feel overwhelmingly anxious. Colossians 3:2 – “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” When I get to heaven, it’s not going to matter who liked my facebook posts. It’s not going to matter what people thought of me. It’s not going to matter if I had a big fancy house or a nice car. Literally NONE of it will matter… the only thing that will matter is how you represented Christ throughout your life and that you lived for HIM. I know God doesn’t want me to worry about these things. I know that I need to set my mind on more important things. Even though I would obviously choose to not have depression and anxiety, I’m glad that God is drawing me closer to Him through it all. He’s teaching me that I can’t single handedly figure these things out for myself, and I simply have to give my anxieties to Him and let Him take care of the rest (1 Peter 5:7.) God allows us to be torn apart and beaten down so that we may draw closer to Him. I’m thankful & grateful that He cares enough about me to do so.

If you read through all of this, I first would like to say thank you for taking the time to read about my anxious heart. Secondly I’d ask that you would pray for me as I learn to lean on God through these trying times & that I lay my anxieties at His feet and leave them there. Lastly, I’d ask that you’d pray for my mom as she continues her chemo treatments.

Love & prayers to all!

Contentment

Today’s Readings: Philippians 4:10-13, Luke 12:15, 1 Timothy 6:10-11, Matthew 6:33

Contentment is defined as, “a state of happiness and satisfaction.” To be at a place in your life where you feel satisfied. Bible.org gives us a more biblical meaning by describing it as, “…an inner sense of rest or peace that comes from being right with God and knowing that He is in control of all that happens to us.” The world looks for contentment in all the wrong places; social status, money, job titles, etc. But true contentment in every situation comes from our Lord.


Real quick… God works in such awesome ways. I took a break after writing the paragraph above to go to the Lifeway Christian Book Store. My only intent for going there was to get a new Bible with my new last name on it. When I got there I was saddened to see that the store is going out of business! It breaks my heart to see such a great store, closing its doors forever. The only good thing to come out of it was the sales… everything was 70%! Since I couldn’t pass on such a great deal, I decided to look around the entire store to see if there was anything that interested me. At first I was just looking for anything I thought might intrigue me, but halfway through I asked God to point out specific books He thought would be good for me to get. The two books that caught my eye right away were titled, 12 Things Jesus Said About Money, and Why Her? Neither of those really screamed “contentment” to me but I knew I needed to get them. As I got home and started reading the first few pages, BOTH books spoke about contentment right away.

Here’s a part of the book, 12 Things Jesus Said About Money that specifically talked about contentment and stood out to me, “Help us be satisfied, Lord, with each day’s supply, knowing that You know it will always be enough for whatever we need. The biblical term for this godly character trait is contentment…” it then goes on to say, “Paul reminded him [Timothy] how we came into this world with nothing. How we will leave this world with nothing. And how as long as we have ‘food and clothing’ – the basic, everyday necessities of life – the presence of contentment in our hearts will be of far more value to us than whatever else could be added financially to our sum total (vv. 7-8).”

Now, the other book that I purchased, Why Her?, discusses how comparison to others can tear us apart and leave us feeling broken. The book’s main focus is to encourage us in our struggle with comparison, and realize that God has entrusted a specific life plan to each and every individual, and it’s our responsibility to surrender and know that His way is above our own. This book had SO many good points that quickly caught my attention and pricked at my heart including…

  • “Comparison brings out our competitive streak, which eats away at our contentment, which then starts to destroy our confidence, until we’re fighting to keep up with an unrealistic standard.”
  • Maybe now [referencing the expression] makes it all about me being better than her. It tries to convince me that just one more step, one more thing, one more relationship, one more promotion, will be the key that leads to long-term contentment, in comparison with her.” DISCLAIMER: this is SO not true.
  • “When our circumstances don’t change, we only have two choices: settle and pout, or shift and praise.”

I really can’t stress how relevant these are to me and my life. I know I have a comparison problem and it really is something I’ve been working on and something I’ve been praying about. If anyone is able to help me through this struggle of mine, I know it’s my God.

Another point I think it’s important to note is how largely our desires play a role in our contentment. In order to be content, we must first make sure our desires are in the right place. Remember, desiring things that are important to you and your life aren’t bad, unless those desires are becoming idols. Our desires come from God, thus they should never be greater than Him. However, if your desires are truly good and godly, don’t let go of them. God gives specific desires to specific people so that they may use them to uplift Him and His kingdom. That’s our whole purpose in this life- to ultimately glorify God in all we do; that includes our desires! If we’re chasing after ungodly desires we will never be content. We will also never be content if the motives for our desires are ungodly. These include, desiring something because someone else has it, desiring something because of the attention you’ll receive, or desiring something because the world tells you, you should. We need to humble ourselves before God and surrender to what He has planned for our lives. Once we realize what it is that God wants us to do and that His ways are always above our, we can begin our journey towards true contentment.

I found it so interesting that the two main areas of contentment that I struggle with are the two themes discussed in each book that I got (I seriously didn’t even realize that until after I got the books- like I said, God works in awesome ways!) Finances are definitely something I struggle to be content with. I’m embarrassed that I worry about money as much as I do because I KNOW that money is the root of all evil and that it’s not following me to eternity. Yet, it still seems to be one of the main things I worry about. The second area of contentment I struggle with is just comparing myself to others in general. Whether it be jobs, houses, materialistic things… I always find myself struggling to be content with what God has blessed me with already (shame on me.) I’ve been praying and asking God to help me focus on what He has specially entrusted to me in my life, rather than questioning why I don’t have what someone else does. Let me tell you… it’s not easy! My flesh takes over all the time and I start feeling uneasy but I always try and list off everything God has already blessed me with and remind myself that He always gives me everything I NEED.

God reminds us in Matthew 6:33 that if we seek Him first above all else, He will bless us with more than we deserve. However it’s not our right to tell God what we should be blessed with. He knows our heart’s desires but we need to remember that we deserve nothing and that EVERYTHING He gives us is indeed a blessing. I know it’s hard seeing someone else live out what you desire (trust me I’ve been there) but when we choose to just surrender to God and HIS Will for our life… we begin to see how many blessings we truly have. Materialistic things will dwindle away but God’s love is forever and ever. If we shift our focus on the Lord and submit to His ways, I believe we can find true contentment in our lives.

Fruits of the Spirit

Hi guys!

So before I begin I just wanted to say a few things! I never really imagined myself starting my own “blog” but here we are! Honestly the entire concept of blogs, vlogs & everything in between never really appealed to me. However, I couldn’t shake this feeling that I wanted another way to express my thoughts and perceptions of my daily bibles studies… rather than just writing everything down on a piece of paper. I wanted to do it in a way that I could share it with my friends & family if I felt led to. I also saw it as an opportunity to keep myself accountable with my weekly bible studies. The main reason for this blog nonetheless, is to ultimately glorify God & possibly even inspiring anyone who may read it. I plan to be very open & vulnerable in my writings & I’m very excited to begin. Thanks for reading along & I pray my studies are helpful to you in any way they can be!


Today’s Reading: Galatians 5:22-26

I encourage you to read all of chapter 5 of Galatians, and even the entire book if you have time, but for now I’ll give you all some context from this book. The book of Galatians was written by Paul, inspired by God, to the churches of Galatia. Paul’s motive in writing this book was to inform & encourage the churches to focus on the grace of God & less on the laws. Paul explained how the laws they thought were so important were not nearly as important as having faith in our all sovereign God & becoming a new creation through Him. On top of this, Paul also explained some of our responsibilities & characteristics as Christians, which is what I would like to focus on today. More specifically, the fruits of the Spirit.

Chapter 5 of Galatians highlights the fruits of the Spirit which are: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness & temperance. I listed a short biblical definition for each word below as reference.

Love– The primary key to everything; a feeling that surpasses human understanding & causes one to be filled with fullness. (See Corinthians 13:4-8 for its divine characteristics.)

Joy– A feeling of great delight caused by something exceptionally satisfying.

Peace– A feeling you get by being justified by faith, being forgiven by our all loving God.

Long-suffering– Patience endurance of trouble, provocation or even injury.

Gentleness– Simply being kind, the absence of harshness.

Goodness– Moral excellence & virtue.

Faith– Faithfulness; Believing so deeply in something & doing what you say you will do.

Meekness– Being humble & patient; having servant- like submission to God & others.

Temperance– Self-control over your entire body in all situations.

I think it’s also important to mention that the “S” in the word “Spirit” is capital for a reason- it’s talking about the Holy Spirit. These fruits are coming from the Holy Spirit, not from ourselves. God wants His attributes and characteristics to be apart of our personality. God is allowing us to share His qualities by allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us… how awesome!

If you’re like me, I’d have to guess that you don’t always carry these fruits with you everyday. No matter how hard we try, we always seem to slip in one way or another. If I had to pick two fruits that I struggle the most with, I would have to say long-suffering & peace. It’s not something I’m proud of but definitely something I’m working on. Fair warning- if you pray & ask God to help you be more long-suffering & peaceful… prepare to face every obstacle imaginable! You can’t expect to improve if you aren’t given the opportunity to produce your fruits.

I went though each of these fruits individually, read each definition, and realized I failed at just about every single one of them, just today. Yikes. Many of these fruits go hand in hand however, so it’s likely that if you’ve failed to have one, you’ve failed to have several. I’m not writing this to make you feel bad about yourself or to point fingers. I say all this to make the point that even though we continually mess up each day (hopefully not on purpose,) God still forgives. When we come to him humbly, asking for true forgiveness, He gives it to us. He forgives us not only because He genuinely loves us, but because He wants us to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us, so that we may to share these fruits that come from Him, our almighty God.

If you allow these fruits to change you & become a part of your personality, you are bound to radiate God’s presence through you, to all those around you. Isn’t that our ultimately goal? To spread God’s love with everyone around us so that they too can see how joyous their lives can be when they choose to walk with our Lord? If we truly think about each and everyone one of these fruits & allow them to flow through us, there’s no telling the lives we could touch; the seeds we could plant. Remember though, you can’t do it alone… these fruits are coming directly from our divine God. Drawing closer to Christ and working on your relationship with Him is what will allow these fruits to become a part of you. Whether it be reading your Bible, praying, volunteering, whatever it may be that draws you closer to Christ.

I’m going to challenge myself this week to focus on one fruit each day & allow the Holy Spirit to use me in any situation that he can. I encourage you to do the same!

I apologize if my thoughts seemed all over the place but I was just speaking from my heart! I appreciate if you took the time to read along and I pray you took something away from this!