Anxiety vs. Faith?

A few days ago I posted a meditation to my Facebook page posted below. It raised a very important comment about mental health and anxiety disorders. First, let’s read the post…

Here is the original post:

Faith Is the Opposite of Anxiety

Posted by Richard Rohr, OFM on Jul 31, 2020 5:00:00 AM

For Jesus, faith is not opposed to not believing in God, it doesn’t mean you go to church, or that you’re into religion or that you say “Lord, Lord!” (see Matthew 7:21). Faith for Jesus is the opposite of anxiety. If you are anxious, if you are trying to control everything, if you are worried about many things, you don’t have faith, according to Jesus. You do not trust that God is good and on your side. You’re trying to do it all yourself, lift yourself up by your own bootstraps. The giveaway is control. That’s a good litmus test of the quality of your faith. People of faith don’t have to control everything, nor do they have to change people. You have the wisdom to know the difference, as the Twelve-Step people say. You cannot “fix” the soul. “Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on God’s saving justice, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself ’” (Matthew 6:33-34a).

—from Jesus’ Plan for a New World: The Sermon on the Mount  by Richard Rohr, OFM

I love Matthew 6. It is my favorite chapter in our Bible.

I am about to say something that may offend some of you.

God does not want us to have anxiety.

ANY anxiety. It is not what He called for us to do. In fact, he devotes an entire section of Matthew 6 to this matter. Here it is:

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)

Our society thrives on anxiety. Our society thrives on busyness, stress and worry.

This is not the will of God. I have anxiety. I have had at times debilitating anxiety with my heart pounding in my ears and my mind swirling as I capture my thoughts so I can leave my house. But, why?

I do not trust God.

I do not trust him to get me safely to my destination. I do not trust him that the person I have to have a meeting with will not say something I don’t understand, demean me or make me feel I am not good at my job. I do not trust God to protect me in social situations because I have what society has dubbed “social anxiety.”

I don’t even work with mean people. It’s just how my brain works.

Oh, we love our anxieties. But we don’t have to have them. When did we decided that having anxieties is how we need to live? It’s like a badge of honor.

The worries and stresses of life have taken over. But this is not what God intended. I want to hold on to things. EVERYTHING. I want to control my circumstances, situations and outcomes. But, here’s a secret I discovered since I posted that post on Friday–I have no control. Over anything. Absolutely none. Only God has universal control. And, the moment I trust him in it, I experience peace. Not worry.

But why is it so hard to give God our worries? I “trust” God. I do. Or, at least I like to say I do. I write about God, for God and of God every single day. Yet, I still have worry. But as I pray and peel back the layers, I understand now thanks to my friend who commented on my post that all of my anxieties are truly my lack of trust in God. ALL of them. Believe me, I’ve been super analyzing this since our comment exchange. And, today I know longer wish to have worry in my life. So, God, I pray right now for you to increase my faith like that father in Mark 9: 23-24:

23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (NIV)

God cares about you. He cares about every single nit picky, piddly worry you and I have. Give them to Him and see what happens. I will too!

So if I have offended you today, I want you to think. Who are you giving the power to in your life? God? Or your false sense of control? And, I want you to know one thing–I’m right there along with ya.

Comfort. – 3 Ways God Comforts Us in Uncomfortable Circumstances

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3‭-‬4 NIV

God comforts us.

His Word says so.

But, why don’t we believe Him?

Why it is so much easier to get sucked into misery and unbelief? Way easier than peace and trust! Are we simply conditioned to look toward the darkness instead of the light?

When each of us is put on this planet, we trust everyone. We have to. We don’t know any differently so we assume others will take care of our every need. And, our cries are beacons of “Hey! I need this.” or “Hey! This thing I’m in is wet! HELP!” But then…

Some of us lose our trust–our comfort.  A comfort that God never intended to leave. 

But, God gave us three ways that He ensures our comfort will never leave. 

First, He gave us his Word.  In today’s scripture, it says. “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles.” I want to emphasize “all troubles” here. ALL. OF. THEM. There is not a trouble that our Father does not know is coming. And, if you sit back and trust Him, He offers unending comfort even in the worst situations. And, He is handling your situations, too. He confirms this in Jeremiah 32:27 when He says, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?” 

Second, He gave us His people.  You know who they are. Those people who continuously lift you up, offer prayers to our Father for you, and have a cup of coffee at the ready plus some good, solid conversation. God put these people in your life for a reason. Use them.

He gave us “us.”  In times of struggle, it often helps us to help others. Lifting someone else up who needs it helps us get our eyes off our own circumstances and onto serving God and His children. This doesn’t make your situation any less important, or your needs any less significant. But, in today’s verse, God reminds us that gives us comfort so that we can give comfort to others “with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

If you are going through an unspeakable time right now, I urge you to lean on Dad today for your comfort. These times will pass. And, He promises to bring us comfort every step of the way.

 “Cast your burden upon the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22)

Riches, Honor and a Long Life Can Be Yours. Trust me.

Humility is the fear of the Lord ; its wages are riches and honor and life.
Proverbs 22:4 NIV

It always makes me wonder when people don’t want to follow God. They say, “It’s not for me.” Or, “I’m glad you have your ‘religion,’ but I choose A, B, or C.” ⁣

Why? When all of what God promises us is so beautiful and what everyone wants. ⁣

To remain humble and fear God gets you riches, honor and a long life. ⁣

Is it the “fear God” part? That isn’t bad. Fearing God doesn’t mean you hunker down in his wrath. Fearing God means to…Okay…think back to when you lived at home and you thought about doing something not so smart and you in that same thought said, “Mom and Dad would kill me.” (Not literally, but you get my point. And, we’ve all said it.) THAT is fear of God. Knowing and acknowledging that what I’m doing is a bad idea and not doing it to save my hide. In the end, you want your parent/s proud of you. We all crave that. Nothing feels worse than a parent’s disappointment. Do you agree?⁣

So today, do you want a chance at riches, honor and a long life? You can have it. It’s that easy. ⁣

By His Grace

Salvation. What does it even mean?

Good ole Merriam-Webster says:

1a: deliverance from the power and effects of sin b: the agent or means that effects salvation c Christian Science the realization of the supremacy of infinite Mind over all bringing with it the destruction of the illusion of sin, sickness, and death 2: liberation from ignorance or illusion 3a: preservation from destruction or failure b: deliverance from danger or difficulty

Usually, we stick with meaning #1, which is good and all. It’s gets the point across and directly says why Jesus came here–to deliver us from the power and effects of sin.

I don’t know about you, but I really like meaning #2.

“liberation from ignorance or illusion”

Liberate ultimately means “to free.” But, it also means “to free (something, such as a country) from domination by a foreign power.”

When we are born onto this planet, we are of this world. We are dominated and oppressed by the spirits, principalities and sins that come with citizenship. We are susceptible to the illusion that comes with that meaning and we believe that what we see is reality. That this is the way we should operate in this space.

We are selfish and do not like to share.

We say “mine” and we like to say it a lot.

We also like to say “no”… a lot. Only to discourage a mom who is tired and just wants us to eat our peas.

We are constantly dominated by the “foreign power” on this planet — Satan.

Ephesians 2:1-3 says:

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”

Ephesians 2 continues with…

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God’s grace. We are not products of our ourselves or our good deeds. We are not to be given credit for our salvation except in making one powerful decision — to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to acknowledge that we are sinners, that He died on the cross for our sins and that he rose again on the third day. He did all this for US. For you and me, a pair of terrible sinners who couldn’t ever get out of this mess ourselves, but only through the grace of God.

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

Ephesians 2:8‭-‬9 NLT

If I Were A Butterfly

White words that say, 
"If I were a Butterfly - Chosen - Blessed - Treasured" on a red background with a purple butterfly. With a link to and @dmmwrites for social media.

Do you ever feel different?

I think a lot of us do. Maybe even all of us. Like we don’t belong or don’t fit in.

Today, a friend of mine shared a story about a song I first heard in Vacation Bible School. You may have heard of it. It’s called “The Butterfly Song” by Brian Howard. You can learn all about the song and about Brian’s new music here.

The song speaks of gratitude and the love of God.

But, most importantly to me, it speaks to all of us who feel at times like we are not special, like something is wrong with us or that we were a mistake.

No one is a mistake in the eyes of God.

Luke 12:6-7 says…

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

And, Psalm 139: 15-16 (ESV) says…

“My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

You are not forgotten. You are not a mistake. You were put here on this earth for a specific reason ordained by God himself. A purpose chosen by Him to make this world a better place for us to walk in.

Now, it’s time to walk in it. To find it. To be it.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-14). Stop doubting God’s ultimate plan. Stop believing other people. YOU are a child of God.

Here are the lyrics to “The Butterfly Song.” I really want you to pay close attention to the chorus:

‘Cause you gave me a heart
And you gave me a smile
You gave me Jesus
And you made me your child
And I just thank you, Father, for making me Me!

“You made me your child.” We as believers in Jesus Christ are adopted members of God’s family. We become children of God with all the benefits, favor and love of an adoring Father. He made each of us perfect. He made each of us exactly the way He sees us.

I know that may be hard to believe.

But, it’s true. You are unique, LOVABLE and a treasure.

Are you doubting this today? What would help you see just how much you are a blessing to our world and God? Let me know in the comments. Do you need to discover your purpose? Let’s chat.

Here are the complete lyrics to the song. What part is your favorite? I totally love the wiggly worm. He could hate being a worm and the whole being-eaten-by-birds thing. But, instead he is grateful for his squirm. LOVE IT!

The Butterfly Song

If I were a butterfly
I’d thank you, Lord, for giving me wings

And if I were a robin in a tree
I’d thank you, Lord, that I could sing

And if I were a fish in the sea
I’d wiggle my tail, and I’d giggle with glee

But I’d just thank you, Father, for making me Me!

‘Cause you gave me a heart
And you gave me a smile
You gave me Jesus
And you made me your child
And I just thank you, Father, for making me Me!

If I were an elephant
I’d thank you, Lord, by raising my trunk

And if I were a kangaroo
I’d just hop right up to you

And if I were an octopus
I’d thank you, Lord, for my good looks

But I’d thank you, Father, for making me Me!

‘Cause you gave me a heart
And you gave me a smile
You gave me Jesus
And you made me your child
And I just thank you, Father, for making me Me!

If I were a wiggly worm
I’d thank you, Lord, that I could squirm

And if I were a crocodile
I’d thank you, Lord, for my big smile

And if I were a fuzzy wuzzy bear
I’d thank you, Lord, for my fuzzy wuzzy hair
But I’d just thank you, Father, for making me Me!

‘Cause you gave me a heart
And you gave me a smile
You gave me Jesus
And you made me your child
And I just thank you, Father, for making me Me!

‘Cause you gave me a heart
And you gave me a smile
You gave me Jesus
And you made me your child
And I just thank you, Father, for making me Me! Source: Musixmatch