Whew. We’re all certainly living in uncertain times. It feels like every time I turn on the television or scroll through my newsfeed, there is an unsettling photo of someone gravely sick or a heated political debate among friends. Seeing the constant stream of upsetting stories, unprecedented health warnings, and watching buildings destroyed in my beloved city of Atlanta over the past few months and weeks have caused me so much fear and anxiety. I’ve stayed awake at night worrying about my housebound parents, adult children homeschooling my grandchildren, my nurse daughter-in-law on the front lines of the virus, and my business which remained closed for months as we all sheltered in place.
Those of you who know me from my starring role in Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta or have visited my Atlanta-based bridal salon, Bridals by Lori, know that I’m the girl with an upbeat spirit, positive attitude, and reassuring hug (or air hug nowadays). No matter what, I typically look on the bright side — as annoying as it can be to my nearest and dearest. But over the past few months, I’ve failed in this area as I let worry and anxiety rule in my heart. During my morning quiet time recently, God reminded me that all of this worry and anxiety I’m carrying doesn’t accomplish anything. Not only is it unhealthy mentally and physically, but it shows me the many opportunities I have to strengthen my faith. What did the hand-wringing and sleepless nights accomplish? In my opinion, it only added stress and turmoil to my life. And I bet it’s doing the same for you.
Throughout the Bible, the common themes of fear, worry, and anxiety are addressed. These natural human emotions are part of our sin-nature and block us from openly receiving the fullness of God’s grace.
In Philippians, we’re reminded that God is ready and willing to provide His perfect peace if we just ask:
Philippians 4:6-7 says,
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
In 1 Peter, God provides a simple and beautiful reminder of His love and provision:
1 Peter 5:7 says,
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
How has your mind and heart handled all the world has served us during this season? If you’re struggling with worry and anxiety, please know that you’re not alone. I wish I could fix the heartache of the world or promise you a world without suffering, but all I can offer is the hope that is in Jesus — and the peace that only He can give. Please stop carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, because He wants to carry it for you.
Be sure you’re taking a few minutes every day to be quiet and sit with Jesus. For me, this is first thing in the morning with my cup of coffee. But take the pressure off and know that there is no perfect time or place. During your quiet moments, jot down your stresses and, in prayer, give each of those worries to Him. After the prayer, crumble up this piece of paper, throw it away, and move on. God has got this!
I also want you to take some time to jot down things you’re looking forward to in your life. This could be having lunch with your closest friends, putting your toes in the sand and surf, or finally making time for that hobby. Realizing that there is beauty in the world and that the best is yet to come will give you reassurance and hope. Like I said, there is always a bright side!
Written for Faith.Full by Lori Allen, Author of Say Yes to What’s Next.
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Are you feeling anxious? Join the club! Let’s link arms together and pray over our concerns and then hand them to God. We can’t handle it or fix anything, but He can! Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full