Friday, August 27, 2010

Peace Part 1: "The Method"

{INTRODUCTION: In May 2008, I suffered a miscarriage, which was the beginning of a season of fear for me that lasted for about two years. For four months of that time (March '09 to July '09, during the end of a pregnancy and postpartum), I battled feelings (and physical symptoms) of anxiety and it was one of the hardest things I've ever had to deal with. My husband wisely advised me to embrace that season to learn about PEACE and now, two years later, I am a very different person as a result. I promised God I'd share my story so here I am.}

PART 1: "The Method"

We're selling our home. We love our home and we don't really know where we are going from here. I could easily (and justifiably) get stressed, worried and anxious about the moving process, where we'll go next, where we'll end up and all the details involved in each step....but I refuse.

Being a former anxiety sufferer, the #1 thing I do now to prevent it from sneaking back up on me is focusing on the here and now and taking life one day at a time.

In one day, however, a million things can try to pop up on my stress radar. Is he judging us for short saling our house? Is she offended that I postponed our play date again? What if our closing costs are more than we planned for? What if I get pregnant again? What am I going to do if we move far away from all of our friends then the kids get sick then I get sick....who can I call??....and on and on and on.

Pop, pop, pop. Blips on my stress radar, blinking red.

What do I do? I already posted about
my tendency to run everywhere but to Him.

But I have discovered a method for when stress starts to rear her ugly head. The solution comes from Philippians 4:6-7 which says "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (NKJV)

Peace doesn't come automatically. There's a process for getting to a place of peace. These verses suggest a method.

1. "Be anxious for nothing." NO-thing. Even if it's something minor, if I'm feeling anxious about it, it's something. And a lot of little somethings add up to a LOT. If it's a blip on the radar, it counts.

2. "In everything by prayer and supplication...let your requests be known to God." Supplicating just means praying, or asking God for something. All the "things" above? Big or small, life-altering or seemingly insignificant, I talk to God about them. EVERY-thing.

There's a lot to this concept but I often think about the idea of asking God for peace in the storm rather than asking Him to end the storm. I ask Him to help me handle what is going on, to give me wisdom to work through whatever I'm dealing with or to bring resources my way. Sometimes I just ask Him to be present.

3. "...with thanksgiving..." was nestled into that verse, too. This is very important!

Psalm 100:4 says "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name."

In other words, when I approach God, He'd like to hear some praise before I start firing off my requests. It's the "Gosh, Mom, you sure look pretty today. Can I have twenty bucks?" tactic.

Besides God wanting to hear me proclaim how good He is (and rightly so), there's another important component to this: when I start with thanksgiving, it gets my heart and my focus into the right place.

My requests change when I "get into a place of thankfulness" first.

At the height of my anxiety, when I was feeling especially off-kilter, my husband would instruct me (ok, force me) to go somewhere quiet and "get into a place of thankfulness." It made a world of difference for me. I just started naming everything I could think of to be thankful for and before long, I was smiling and feeling hopeful again and, oh, look at that--my heart and mind aren't racing any more!

Besides running down the list of things in my life that I was grateful for, I would also thank Him for the very thing that was causing me the stress because I knew He was working it out in my favor.

Romans 8:28 (NKJV) "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."

And once we've been thankful and have made our requests, and no-thing is on our radar anymore....

4. THEN..."and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." I'm so peaceful, I can't even comprehend it or explain it! It's when we say to people, "I should be stressed but I feel so at peace." That's the peace of God that surpasses understanding and there's nothing like it.

Peace isn't automatic but God offers His method to bring us into a place of HIS inexplicable peace. And there's no better place to be.

2 comments:

Myrtle's Turtles said...

I had to come back for more after that lovely message. I had a look at your Etsy shop. I absolutely love your stuff! I would love to talk to you about Marmee's Circle. email me at marmeescircle@hotmail.ca

Myrtle's Turtles said...

Oh and by the way. I loved this post too! I was in a bit of a slump this evening and it really helped. Thanks!