Tag Archives: 2 Timothy 1:7

Dear Anxiety, You’re Not Welcome Here

Standard

Anxiety is hard wired into our brains and our physical body chemistry – think “flight or fight”.  Plainly put, when doled out properly, anxiety keeps us alive.

But somewhere along the line, for many, many, many of us, this security system of ours has become like a panic button that goes off all too often at a very high “volume”.

Here are two definitions of anxiety from Merriam Webster:

(1) : apprehensive uneasiness or nervousness usually over an impending or anticipated ill : a state of being anxious

(2) medical : an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it

According to Max Lucado (from his book, Anxious for Nothing), the United States is the most chronically anxious nation in the world.  Fifty percent of adults over the age of 25 report seeing a doctor at least once in the past year for an anxiety related symptom. And (this one just about breaks my heart-open into a gazillion pieces):  seventy-five percent of school aged kids report experiencing anxiety on a regular basis.

Why?  Well, Lucado theorizes it all has to do with rapid changes.  We have experienced more change in this generation than any generation in the last 300 years.  Everything from technology, to travel, to instant access to anything and just about everything in between.  All good things, intentionally speaking, of course.  But they’ve come alongside our regular anxieties of daily living to sort of wallop us with daily exposure to fear.

Anxiety causes a HOST of physical problems. It can be as benign as a stress headache or queasy stomach or as quality of life altering like high blood pressure, ulcers, immune and autoimmune issues.

The effects on the mind can be equally as debilitating from panic and phobias, to depression, addictions, etc.

But how does anxiety mess or harm with us spiritually? It causes us doubt the sovereignty of God and turns us inward to rely on our own devices, attempting to take back control of things that were never meant to be our responsibility.

Lysa Terkeurst, in Unglued says this, however: “Feelings are indicators, not dictators.”  And what she means by that is that our emotions and the feelings that come from them are like  flags being waved that say, “Hey you!  Something is going on that needs attention.”  Emotions come from a gut feeling. Nine times out of ten, we do not need to spontaneously react from the gut feeling.  Instead,  we need to create a plan of action that should come from the mind, after some prayer and listening to God.

This is possible, girls! Listen to our Power Pack Scripture this week:

2 tim 1 7 card

I particularly LOVE the New King James Version on this one because it’s the perfect counter to the lie of anxiety. It gives us the confidence to look anxiety in the face and say, “God didn’t put you here so get the heck out.”

Then, we start arming ourselves with other power-packed TRUTH to help us in the battle.

You know how much I love Bible trivia, so here are a couple fun facts for you:

  • Directives regarding fear show up a whopping 366 times in the NIV; second only to LOVE (551), and just above gratitude/thanksgiving (340).
  • Philippians 4:4-8 is the most read passage in the Bible on a Kindle
  • Philippians 4:6 is the most underlined sentence on kindle

Now, I’m not so naïve to think it takes one prayer, one moment of clarity with God about it, and your circumstance changes and you never have anxiety again. If you look at the most anxious and emotionally charged story about Jesus in the Bible, it’s when He is praying in the Gethsemane.  Scripture tells us he didn’t just pray once about what was going to happen, you guys.  He went to His knees about it three times.  This thing we have with anxiety, sister, it’s an ongoing battle.

I whole heartedly agree with Beth Moore when she says that we have no bigger battle in our life-long, day-to-day living than our battle with anxiety.

But the first thing I want us to remember as we start digging deep into this topic is that we can rest in the truth of 2 Timothy 1:7 and Philippians 4:4-8. God has given us a freedom plan from freaking out.

In these next couple weeks, there is another sweet piece of scripture you’re going to want to lean in on:

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  I Peter 5:7, NIV

Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7, NKJV

I wanted you to hear it in two versions. The NIV calls it out for what it is, right?  ANXIETY.  But the cool revelation about it comes  from digging down into the Greek lexicon from the NKJV.

Twice in that verse the word “cares” is used. The second use of it comes from a word that means tender loving-kindness and care, as in the type one receives from a parent.

The first “care” is translated from the Greek word, merimna, which means “anything that brings disruption and destruction to the personality and the mind.” That’s the level of anxiety He is asking us to cast upon Him. ANYTHING.  ALL THINGS.  Big, small, and everything.  Cast it ALL upon Him.

Next week, we’re diving into HOW that all looks, practically, in our daily lives.  It IS possible, sweet friends, to kick our Worry Bully to the curb and live with peace in our hearts!

Pope Francis Quote

May God bless you and remind you that your  are POWERFUL, FULL OF LOVE, and have a SOUND MIND!  For this week’s homework, click here.  For this week’s awesome extras, click here!

Peace, love, and JOY!

Wendie

PS – If anxiety is affecting your daily life in negative ways, I encourage you to reach out to a professional to help you navigate effective and positive ways of dealing with it.  This could include a doctor, a therapist, a counselor, a pastor, etc.  If your anxiety or ANYTHING else ever brings you to a place where you are considering harming yourself or someone else, PLEASE TELL SOMEONE IMMEDIATELY and seek emergency assistance.  I’m praying for you.

S.F.F. (Sister Friends Forever!)

Standard

One fall, eons ago, I pledged a sorority called Kappa Alpha Theta  (Gamma Chapter, baby!).  Say what you will about the pros and cons of “going Greek”, but it honestly impacted my life for the better.

Theta house picture

Now, let’s get one thing straight. Sorority life, and sorority rush in particular (the process of choosing a sorority and being chosen by the one you want to join) isn’t exactly the most fun – or authentic – process a girl can go through. I mean, talk about wearing a mask!  It pretty much is the antithesis of authenticity.  But in the end, for this Theta-For-Life girl, it all worked out just fine!  There is nothing like gaining a houseful of instant “sisters” alongside whom I have continued to walk through life!

To me, one of the oddest things about becoming a full-fledged member (or  “initiate”) was that we had to memorize a chapter from the Bible (1 Corinthians 13) and recite it from memory at initiation.  Lest you think I joined a particularly spiritual sorority, let me flat out tell you – I DID NOT.  It was just one of the silly hoops we had to jump through in order to be eligible for initiation (you know – a light version of hazing, so to speak…which I’m sure doesn’t happen at all these days…) .

I never gave much thought to that chapter after initiation.  And to my surprise, when reading this week’s chapter from Holley Gerth’s book, You’re Already Amazing, I was struck by the depth of meaning it actually does hold!

Take a look:

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.  1 Cor 13:4-7, MSG

THAT is what LOVE looks like.  And THAT is why Holley uses it as a “safe person checklist” when considering true, Godly friendships (what I like to call – sister friends!)!

Why is friendship so important to us?  Well, probably because our GOD is fully relational!  Think about it – the Holy Trinity is three in one, not just ONE!  And because we are created in His image, it’s only natural that we are relational as well, isn’t it!

What makes a friend more than an acquaintance?  And what makes a sister friend – someone with whom we share not only earthly friendship but also our eternal destiny because of Christ?!

sirach 614-17

We want people to come alongside us and walk through the good times and bad, accepting us as we are, challenging us to grow, and to faithfully stand by our side.   And do you want to know something pretty cool?  Those very thoughts are echoed in scripture!

“A friend loves you all the time, but a sister friend was born to help in times of trouble.”  Proverbs 17:17 ERV.

Sister friends, sweet sister friends, carry you through the storms, celebrate your victories, support you with their super human strength, and love you no matter what.  And I’ll bet you dollars to donuts, you do the same for them.

power of three

By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
 A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.

  Ecclesiastes 4:12, The Message

Sometimes it’s scary to let yourself be known and fully by someone else. We kinda prefer to keep on the mask, telling everyone that everything is “great”, especially when the opposite is true. But I pray you let scriptures like Ecclesiastes 4:12 and Sirach 6:14-17  encourage you to seek out like minded sister friends to support you in the high moments AND in the moments it feels like life has left you sitting all alone at the middle school lunch table.  Stop hiding under that mask.  You’re beautiful and I, for one, am dying to see you!

Like Holley says in Chapter 6,

“Hiding is a response out of fear, while guarding is a proactive choice to protect what matters most….What God wants us to avoid is making a habit of hiding that leaves us feeling alone and as if no one really knows us.”  Holley Gerth, You’re Already Amazing, copyright 2012.

And THAT’S why it’s important to use scripture like 1 Corinthians 13 (remember that one up there that I had to memorize as a sorority gal?!) to sort of check yourself and make sure you are making good choices in relationships.  If you want, you can even replace the word “love” with the phrase “a sister friend”.  After doing so, if something doesn’t ring true, perhaps that person isn’t the best choice as best friend!  (For example, “A Sister Friend doesn’t keep score…” doesn’t fit a friend who consistently throws your mistakes in your face.  Therefore, you can create boundaries to make sure you aren’t letting that person get a front row seat to your life.)

Whether you’ve been blessed with one great friend or many, take a moment today to let at least one of them know how much she means to you.  I guarantee you will love the reaction you get – and you, in turn, will find yourself blessed in doing so.

Well, week 6 of our Fall Series is here!  So what’s on tap for this week:

1.  Rewrite/memorize our scripture for the week (one of my ALL TIME faves!!!)…For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7, NIV.

2.  Read Chapter 7 of You’re Already Amazing and complete exercises in the chapter itself, as well as, questions in the Go Deeper Guide at the back of the book!

3.  Listen to our song for this week!  It’s a new one by the incomparable Steven Curtis Chapman called “Love Take Me Over”!  So FUN!!!  Here’s a link to listen and see the lyrics!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8DiZhNVu1I 

Have a great weekend, everyone.  Love you much!  Now go get blessed by blessing one of YOUR sister friends today!!
Peace, love, joy and GLORIOUS GOD’S BLESSING ON YOU!
Wendie
Up Monday:  A Crazy Cool Costume (that isn’t even a costume!)