Author | Jamie
Life has felt so hard recently. The obvious uncertainty of our future mixed with the emotional fatigue of making major decisions have left me battered and bruised. I have often found myself in a pit of confusion and doubt and self-pity. Every once in a while, a moment of clarity sets in, and I am able to see my life for what it actually is – fabulous. When I consider the lives of believers throughout the world and across the ages, I realize that I am giving a bit of uncertainty the power to completely unnerve me.
I am giving a bit of uncertainty the power to completely unnerve me.
Battlefield of the Mind
The battlefield is surely in the mind, isn’t it?
There isn’t a literal war raging around me, yet in talking to me recently, you would have been tempted to believe there was. Real grenades have not been flung at my home, but the enemy of my soul has been busily at work shooting his flaming arrows into my thoughts. He is always on the prowl, seeking someone to devour. All the changes afoot recently have made me an easy target.
The other day I wrote about some of the arguments in my mind (read “Up in the Air”) that have been slamming me. There are more, but I’ll save you from listening to them blow by blow. Suffice it to say, truth has been elusive. It has been difficult to recall much of what I know about God or even His past mercies in my life. All I can think of are the doubts, and those are easy to replay. Over and over.
The Battlefield of Prayer
As I was working through a Bible study recently, I came across this verse from Philippians 4:6-7:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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 minds in Christ Jesus.
I’ve been praying a bunch lately. That anxious, begging type of prayer. The kind of petitioning of God that doesn’t lead to peace but is really just an excuse to worry, excessively. But it doesn’t feel wrong because, ya know, I’m praying.
God is a gracious and patient Father and lovingly listens to all my prayers. Then, also in love, He points me to a different way. “Is it peace that you want, my child? Bring all your requests and concerns to me, but pepper it with thanksgiving. It will make it easier to not be anxious. It will guard your heart and your mind. It’s a better way.”
I’ll tell you, I fully intend to give God thanks when He has finished working out this big ole mess in front of me. But why would I thank Him before He’s finished the job? That seems weird. However, I’m desperate. The lack of peace and the mental turmoil are slowly wearing me down. I’ve gotta try something!
I’ll tell you, I fully intend to give God thanks when He has finished working out this big ole mess in front of me. But why would I thank Him before He’s finished the job?
How about you? Is the struggle in your mind getting the best of you? Are the doubts and fears and uncertainties of your life stealing your energy and your smile? Is it hard to be patient with those nearest to you?
Will you join me in trying something different? First, let’s just confess to Jesus that we’re in a bad pattern and need His help. Can we ask Him to empower us to choose thankfulness for the gifts right in front of us today, even though the future holds a lot of unknowns? Can we make a small step and thank Him for the sunshine, the smile from a friend, the small beginnings of something new? As the Holy Spirit causes that thanksgiving to settle into our hearts, we can praise Him for what He supplies today instead of focusing on all the gifts He still needs to give? I think it might make a difference.
Can we ask Him to empower us to choose thankfulness for the gifts right in front of us today, even though the future holds a lot of unknowns?
I’d love to know how that works for you, so please encourage me by sharing your experience in the comments below: