Melody is back today to share what I thought was an interesting take on social anxiety — if you have social anxiety, are you constantly judging others?
[Editor’s Note: I received a copy of Joyce Meyer’s new book, Worry Free Living: Trading Anxiety for Peace to read and select an excerpt from! I have to say, this was a very relevant book for me and I loved it! I always love Joyce, but man this spoke to me. I really, really enjoyed it and I’ve been referring back to it already. Here’s an excerpt from a later chapter. It was hard to choose, but this was my favorite. Joyce just really makes a lot of sense in this chapter! I hope you’re encouraged!]
Prayer Produces Peace, Rest, Patience, and Hope
Several times in this book I have mentioned the importance of casting our care upon the Lord (1 Pet. 5:7). When we hold on to the stress and cares of our lives, we end up anxious and upset. But when we let them go and allow God to take care of them, we can enter into peace.
Practically speaking, though, how do we cast our care upon the Lord? We do it through prayer.
In Philippians 4:6–7, the apostle Paul does not say, “Pray and then worry.” He says, “Pray and don’t worry.” This is the same thing as releasing our cares to the Lord. When we do that, we end up with many blessings, including peace, rest, patience, and hope.
Prayer Produces Peace
When the enemy tries to put burdens of care on us, we are supposed to turn and give that care to God. That’s a big part of what prayer is—acknowledging to the Lord that we cannot carry our burden of care, and giving it all to Him. If we pray about something and then keep on worrying about it, we are mixing a positive and a negative. The two cancel out each other, so we do not end up with the benefit we hope for.
Prayer is a positive force; worry is a negative force. I believe one reason some people operate with less power in their spiritual lives than they could have is that they cancel out their positive prayer power by giving in to the negative power of worry. Too often we pray and make positive confessions for a while, then begin to worry about a situation and make negative confessions for a while. We go back and forth between the two extremes.
As long as we pray and worry, we are not trusting God completely. When we pray according to His will, we need to have faith and confidence that God hears us (1 John 5:14). This kind of prayer produces peace and also leads us into rest, patience, and hope.
Prayer Produces Rest
Hebrews 4:3 says, “For we who have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on God) do enter that rest. . .” Continuing the theme of rest, Hebrews 4:9 says, “So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God.” The next verse goes on to say that those who have entered into God’s rest have “ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors.”
We know from Hebrews 4 that God definitely makes rest available to us. If we are not at rest, we are not truly believing Him because verse 3 clearly teaches us that the fruit of believing is rest. The kind of believing that allows us to enter into the rest of God is simple childlike faith.
A child’s faith is pure and simple. When faced with a dilemma, children quickly go to their parents. They do not try to figure everything out and make detailed blueprints about how they will solve their problems. They simply believe their parents will take care of them.
For many years in my life, I claimed to be believing in God and trusting in Him. But I was not doing either of those things. I did not know the first thing about believing God or trusting in Him. All I did was say my prayers, then worry and fret, speak negatively about my circumstances, and try to figure out everything on my own. I was anxious, panicky, irritable, and on edge constantly. Yet I said I was believing in, and trusting, God.
As believers, our rest and peace are not based on doing or achieving, but on believing in faith that God will take care of everything that concerns us. If we are really believing and trusting the Lord, we will enter into His rest. We will pray in faith and cast our cares on Him; then we will sense the perfect peace of His Presence. Part of faith is also being willing to do whatever the Lord might ask us to do, but the rest He offers us is a rest in work, not from work.
Prayer Produces Patience and Hope
Romans 5:3–4 says:
Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.
To say to someone, or even to ourselves, “Don’t worry” is easy to do. But to actually not worry requires spiritual maturity that comes from experience with God. The more we experience the faithfulness of God, the easier it is not to worry. I also believe we must realize how useless worry is in order to give it up. Worry accomplishes nothing positive in our lives. It changes nothing for the better.
This is why continuing to have faith and trust in God, and not worrying in the midst of trials and tribulations, is vital. In hard, trying times the Lord is building in us the patience, endurance, and character that will eventually produce the habit of joyful and confident hope.
When you and I are in the midst of a spiritual battle against our enemy, every round we go through produces valuable experience and strength. Each time we resist a temptation or endure an attack, we become stronger. If we are patient through the trial and refuse to give up, sooner or later we will gain victory in the situation and enjoy increased patience, hope, and spiritual maturity in our lives. God always gives us the victory if we remain steadfast and refuse to give up.
[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Kristen Vortices. I wanted to have some gratitude-focused devotionals in November, as we are celebrating Thanksgiving in the US. This week’s devotional is the why? to practicing gratitude and next week’s answers the how?] A few years ago I found myself …
Becoming a mom is completely terrifying.
Almost every night for the past few weeks, I’ve started falling asleep…and then I realize, I’M GOING TO BE A MOM.
I go into a panic, thinking about how hard it will be to take care of my new baby and trying to think of all the things I still need to do. I try to rationalize my knowledge of infant care and how I can get everything done.
In my mind, if I can make sense of something and have a reasonable plan, I start to feel better.
I’m excited for my little boy to arrive, really, I am. I want to be a mom, but at the same time, it’s just so scary.
There is no way one can really prepare themselves for becoming a parent, right? I am reading all the books on having a newborn, I’m planning on taking some classes, and I already have a lot of experience with babies. But I imagine you don’t know what you’re really in for until you’re there.
I hate that! I feel so much better when I’m prepared for things.
And it’s not just that I will have this little being completely relying on me in about two months. I still feel like I have so much that I want/need to accomplish before he gets here. Because, obviously, things we be different once he arrives!
So I want to try to get a lot of stuff out of the way, like home organization. I know that my son will not need our pantry to be reorganized when he comes home from the hospital. (Well, hopefully he is not a demanding little neat freak right out of the womb!) If it’s not reorganized by the time he gets here, oh well, I just will have to wait until things settle down and I have more time to do it. But I have still set that goal and feel I need to complete it.
The pregnancy books say that anxiety is normal, but I kind of feel bad about it. I guess I just didn’t think I would feel this way right now. It’s not like I thought I would be so ill during my pregnancy, either. Sometimes I have such silly expectations for myself.
It’s always amazing to me how, at stressful times, God will show me He’s got my back. A couple weeks ago fellow Christian blogger Kelly Crawford reached out to me to send me her eBook on motherhood entitled (get this): When Motherhood Feels Too Hard.
I think I laughed out loud when I read the email. There was no way Kelly knew I was just starting to struggle with motherhood. She only knew I was going to become a mom. Oh, but God knew, alright! God is so good.
It’s things like a devotional targeted just to what I need, that feeling of God’s love, and knowledge that He totally knows what’s going on with me that encourages me to carry on. To put down the baby care book at 1 AM and try to get some sleep; To stop looking at Pinterest to figure out how I’m going to reorganize my entire house.
And to just trust that, really, truly, everything is gonna be okay!
[Guest post by Rachel Madden: I think Rachel’s story on perfectionism will really encourage some of you, especially those who struggle with being a “perfect mom.” Remember “I must be perfect” is just a lie!] Psychology Today quotes, “For perfectionists, life is an endless …
[Guest post by Takiela Bynum: Do you struggle with self-harm? Are you ready to take the scarless pledge? So glad God brought Takiela to Devotional Diva to share this!] Some people cut for relief, I cut because I wanted to die. She’d taken several pain killers …
I have spent this summer introducing you to myself. Guest posting will return on September 2nd, but after today Devotional Diva is going on a short hiatus. I still have a lot of ideas for post topics, but last week I asked my husband what he thought I should write for my final post.
Without asking for any of my ideas, he just replied, “You should write more about your life now.”
He’s completely right. I’ve written quite a lot about my past this summer. It makes sense, because all of us draw on our past for hints on how to handle our futures.
I have experienced a lot of pain in my life in relation to my age. And I know I’m not the only one.
For a long time, that pain has eaten me up.
But I want to say now: God has healed me!
I knew my unique personality when I was younger. But when I went through all that pain, I got depressed. The depression changed me and messed with my confidence.
When I was a kid, I was different than a lot of my peers simply because I wasn’t afraid to be different. I didn’t want to blend in. I didn’t care about what was “cool.” I dressed the way I wanted to dress — and I must say I was a stylish 8-year-old with my collection of vintage coats.
Some other kids didn’t appreciate that about me, but most of the time I didn’t really care.
In junior high and high school I became even more extroverted. I got really involved with school activities and I feel like I had quite a few friends. I remember having so much fun and being so happy those years.
But most importantly, I knew who I was and I wasn’t afraid to show it.
After delving into “depression land,” I questioned who I was. I think I got a lot more shy – not that shyness is bad; I am just naturally more extroverted.
I have finally healed from the pain – however, not without scars. I will always carry those scars.
But I am happy and content with my life. And nearly every day I can see the little bits of myself that got hidden coming out again.
I have so much more personality! While I hope this does not come off as conceited, I realized that I am actually a funny person. I like cracking jokes, making people laugh and just interacting with others — I feel like I’m really living again.
When I first started feeling better, I had to stay away from certain things that would “trigger” sadness – like some depressing movies or things that would remind me of my past. Lately, I’ve noticed my ability to enjoy them again.
That’s one of the biggest indicators to me that I am moving on from my painful past. I mean, truly moving on.
It’s also been nearly one year since I stopped taking daily psychiatric medication. Even though those medications can help with depression and anxiety, I just feel so much clearer without them – more like myself.
I laugh so much; my husband and I are ridiculously silly together. I have dreams again and I’m motivated to make them come true. I am embracing the things that make me who I am (like how buying a pet stroller for my cats made my day, or my unreasonable love of Diet Pepsi). I’m just having more fun being me.
God healed me from all that pain. Now, I’m able to move on. And I’m so much stronger now.
I believe my physical assault at work led to my downward spiral into depression and anxiety. But it also taught me about my own courage. I was already depressed. I had already suffered trauma. I was still physically sick. But I was trudging on. I tried …