"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
1 Peter 5:7
Honestly, I had a hard time understanding these verses. I worried about everything, and as a parent what's not to worry about?! There is the safety of our children, the safety of our children and THEN the safety of our children! And, for many of us as SPs, there are greater periods of time when our children are not in our care.
For so long (this is an ongoing issue by the way), I did (do) the exact opposite of what is spoken in these verses. I justified my worry as "doing something." I figured God had enough to worry about, seeing as He was running a universe and all. So, worry became functional for me. I thought if I was worrying, God would understand I was trying to "fix things" myself. God helps those who help themselves, right? Not exactly how He works...
God helped me to see that worry was the exact opposite of what He wanted me to do! This was a humbling realization, as my intention was not to make worry my idol! But it had become exactly that. Instead of going to God in prayer about the things I feared, I tried to handle all of these things myself. And by doing this, I didn't understand who God was at all.
God, who equals love, drives out all fear through His perfect love. By not surrendering this to God and trying to fix things myself, I was in this perpetual circle of fear. If I managed to quiet the thing that was worrying me at the moment another thing would take its place. Finally, in an act of desperation, I begged God to take it away. God answered my prayer, just not in the way I would have preferred (isn't that usually how it works?)...
You see, all of the things I feared (abandonment, betrayal, loss of health, wealth, reputation and yes single parenting!) actually happened to me. It was the most frightening time of my life. Its been a year since the great "unraveling" of my life was initiated. But, from where I stand now I can see there was no other way. God stripped me of each of my "worldly comforts" and allowed my worst fears to come to fruition. I'm still standing. But, when I stand now, I stand with a completely different perspective of purpose and what life is all about.
Sure, in the eyes of the world I could pretty much be classified as a failure but in the eyes of the One who loves me more than anything, I am right where I need to be on my spiritual journey. I am now of the camp that when God comes to rescue you from the depths of a hell on earth, you are never the same! Through the actualization of my worst fears, I have learned that, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).
I am learning that when I bring my fear to the Lord, He takes it from me. He is the perfect love that casts out fear (1 John 4:18). It is an amazing, mysterious gift! In my suffering from anxiety, God has used it for good in order to bring me in closer relationship with Him. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).
The more I understand who God truly is, the more I learn that He doesn't want me to fight fear alone. He knows there is no way possible that I can do this on my own! So, He tells me to go to Him in prayer, and HE will cast it out with HIS love. Anytime I feel the fear start to rise, I take it to the Lord. I ask Him to help me and to show me why I am fearful. I go to His Word and start reading (some days I read a lot!). By doing so, He gives me peace. It is another amazing, mystery of the Lord!
Here is a catch phrase I use in order to help me remember to surrender my anxiety to the Lord:
"Exchange your worry for prayer, and God will always be there."
So SPs...here's the question: What are you fearful of?