Tag Archives: worry

When We Run Into Problems.

3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:3-5

These verses carried me through the hardest time in my life over 14 years ago. I read this passage again this morning with a different set of eyes. A confident set of eyes. A heart that knows and understands. A life that can testify to it over and over and over again.

Our initial reaction to adversity and problems isn’t, “Well thank you, Jesus. This is going to grow me and strengthen my character.” No. It can be anger, frustration, sadness, disappointment, and so many other things. Certainly not happiness that we get to endure something hard. It’s not a normal reaction. Hey, you’re normal. So, I am I! However, once we get over the initial shock and awe of it, we get to make a choice how we are going to through the problem. Whether the problem is as large as what I endured 14 years ago when my husband walked out or even if it is as small as a conflict at your work, we get to choose to endure it with a confident hope that He will grow us and work it for our good.

So, what do we do after we get over the initial onset of a problem? I wanted to share some things that I do that may help you, too. First, I vent upward. That means I don’t share my problem with someone who isn’t on the same page of life with me spiritually. Because, that person may feed into my anger or resentment where nothing redemptive comes from it. I vent to someone who has compassion but who also brings light to it. They help me process it from a position of forgiveness and understanding. They remind me to trust Him. The conversation is always redemptive.

I slow down. Haste causes us to react instead of respond. It causes a build up of negative emotions and feelings that are hard to come down from. I slow down my responses, my comments, my time. When we slow down, we are able to think more clearly, take captive our thoughts that are negative more easily, and avoid making the mistake of saying or doing something we might regret.

I pray and meditate. This keeps my heart soft and refocuses my thoughts. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Don’t worry about your problem. Don’t dwell on it. Tell God what you need, and THANK Him for everything He has already done. Everything He has already delivered you from and made better for you. Re-center your thoughts on Him and on thankfulness. When you catch yourself dwelling on the problem, replace that thought with all of the good in your life. Everything you have to be thankful for. THEN, peace will flood your life.

Finally, I am open to change. What if I am the one that is the problem? What if God is not just working something for my good, but what if He is changing ME? What if I created the problem myself? Stay open to accept responsibility. Allow people you trust to speak into your life.

All problems are meant for our growth. I learned a long time ago to say, “Nothing goes wrong in my world.” Instead, every situation is an opportunity to grow. To learn. An opportunity to be a better friend. A better mom. A better wife. A better person. Without running into hard situations, it is impossible to become BETTER. So, with that knowledge, we really can rejoice in hard times. Because, we are then presented with an opportunity for our lives to be better. We may not always see the end from the beginning and know the hows and whys, but we can trust in the One who is working all things, ALL, for our good.

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Filed under God Stuff, gratitude, life, Relationships, Uncategorized

When Fear and Anxiety Try To Win.

I have moments where I worry just like you. I let my thoughts run wild. I don’t discipline them and before I know it, I am awake in the middle of the night doing the exact opposite of what I tell other people to do. Anxiety fills me. Fear grips me. Stress takes over my physical and mental being. It’s an awful feeling. I long for morning, because I need a new day. A new grip on life. I need Kris to wake up and reassure me what I need reassure myself.

Last night was that kind of night for me. I tossed and turned. I let fear grip me. Hold me. Wrap its ugly hands around me. Grab hold of me like it owned me.

I finally slept the last hour. My alarm went off. I peeled open my eyes. And, I reminded myself of this scripture:

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. 
2 Corinthians 10:5

DEMOLISH those thoughts that don’t come from Him. Take them captive. Interrogate them. Hold them captive so they can’t hold you. Remind your soul of who God is. Recall every time God proved Himself faithful to you.

Recall every stone that has piled up in your life as a memorial to the goodness, the faithfulness, and the mercy of God.

Remember every situation that looked impossible and how God grabbed you and said, “I am for you.”

Hold onto thoughts of His goodness. Hold onto His love that stretches wider and deeper and longer than anything we can imagine.

Hold onto THOSE thoughts.

Hold them tightly.

Demolish those other thoughts. Take them captive. Strip them of their power. Because, the One inside you is greater. He is truth. He is good. And, in Him, we have no fear.

This Sunday at Eagles Way, I will be opening up our new series, Silent Night, with this very message. I will preach it with as much passion as I possibly can. Because, I know what it feels like to be gripped by something that takes the wind out from under you. But, I also know what it feels like to send those thoughts back to hell. And, to rise up with a renewed confidence, a renewed mind, and renewed passion for TRUTH.

His mercies are new every morning. And, because, of those mercies, this is mind is new….and finally, it caught up with what my Spirit already knew.

 

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Filed under disappointment, God Stuff, life, Spiritual Journey

What I Quit Doing.

The past few months my stress level has been pretty low.  My load is no lighter.  As a matter of fact, it’s probably fuller.  My secret to controlling the stresses that I actually can control?

I quit dreading.

I quit dreading the commitment I made I wished I had not made. 

I quit dreading the thing I have to do whether I want to do it or not. 

I quit dreading the fact that pretty soon my alarm is going to go off, and I’m going to have to motivate two little people to get out the door to school.

I quit dreading obligations that take away time I wish I could spend….resting….replenishing.

Dreading makes everything worse.  My grandfather used to always say, “It’s worse to dread something you have to do when just doing it is bad enough.”  In other words, nothing is going to change that commitment.  That thing.  Those obligations.  And, dreading them makes the doing them that much harder. 

So, I quit.

I no longer worry or stress about when I’ll have my next down time.  My next reprieve.  Instead, I make up my mind to maybe say no to the next request.  Unless that request is a life-giving need.  Because, it’s in those life-giving times that I remember my life is not my own.  And, God is always faithful to make me lie down in green pastures and restore my soul.  And, this rain sure does make them even greener.  A little drop of a degree or 100 might help, too.  But, I digress.

Stop dreading.  Remember whose you are.  And, how faithful He is to give you exactly what you need when you need it. 

Deal?

Deal.

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Filed under life, Randomness

What If.

I’m gonna give it to ya straight.  I know I’ve blogged on this before, and I’m sure to blog on it again.  This is me.  In my head.  Driving my Yukon.  By myself.  Because, who helps one drive?  Stupid:  “by myself.”  But, I’m leavin’ it in this post.  ‘Cause I’m so see me, love me and all.  Rabbit trail, rabbit trail.

Back to inside my  head.  I’m drivin’ yesterday afternoon.  I’m thinking about how much Kris is gone lately.  He is a pilot.  Did y’all know that?  Those pilot people fly airplanes.  Away. 

Little fears start surfacing.

What if he is gone too much too often?  What if our marriage suffers?  What if my children suffer?  What if there is another snow day, and all of my kids are home ALL DAY AND NIGHT, and I’m the only parental reinforcement around? 

What if?

As fast as those thoughts went swirling around my head, another voice calmed my stormy mind.

“I will trust You.”

And, that was the next thought that dominated my little head.

When has He ever not proved Himself to me?

You may be allowing thoughts of fear consume your mind right now.  Worry.  Doubt. 

I can throw out the Matthew 6 scripture to you about not worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself.  But, honestly, that scripture has never helped me with my worry one bit.

I’m just sayin’.

Sorry, Dad.

But, I can tell you that God makes good on His promises.  I can tell you that He has made good of my ugly finances.  He has made good of my messy relationships.  He has made good of those times where I distanced myself from Him.  He has made good of those moments where I failed as a mother.  He has made good of my disappointments.  He has made good of my broken heart. 

He has made so much in my life good. 

So, what if?

I will trust Him.

And, you, my friend, can trust Him, too.

If you would like for me to pray with you today about something that has you worried or an area of your life that you really need to trust God in, comment here or email me personally at durstee@aol.com  I will pray for you today.

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Filed under God Stuff, life, Spiritual Journey

Bounce Your Thoughts.

I have this sweet, little scripture hanging in my home:

Whatever is noble, right, pure, lovely…think on these things.  Philippians 4:8

I say “sweet, little” because, well, it’s a nice goal.  Don’t ya think?  But, who really takes it to heart and executes it in his or her life? 

Not me.  Not always.

I can let my thought life take me down a road of perpetual worry.  I can let my thought life cause me to become resentful of not having more time for myself.  I can let my thought life lead me down a road of becoming irritated with my husband, because he fails to see his clothes on the floor.  I can let my thought life do a lot of damage in a day. 

It can rob me of time that I can’t ever get back.  It can rob me of trusting in Him, because I worry.  It can rob me of enjoying a smile from my baby boy’s sweet face, because I’m thinking how little time I have to myself in a day.  It can rob me of appreciating how hard my husband works for our family. 

I’ve always heard we should “bounce our eyes” when confronted with something visually unhealthy.  That’s important.  But, so is bouncing our thoughts.  The moment we let a thought that is not noble, right, pure or lovely surface, we need to bounce it immediately.

What if every one of our thoughts was truly noble, right, pure, and lovely?  How different would our life look?  How much more would I enjoy the gifts God has given me?  How much more would I trust in my Savior who has NEVER let me down? 

This is exactly what God is working in my life right at this moment.  He is teaching me how much I need to bounce my thoughts.  And, oh boy, will I need some reminders and accountability on this one.

How is your thought life?

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Filed under gratitude, life, Spiritual Journey

FEAR. It’s A Dirty Word.

Kris:  “Remind me to talk to your doctor Thursday about the H1N1 vaccine.”

Me:  “Haven’t we already discussed this with him?”

Kris:  “Yes, but I need more clarification.  There could be over 90,000 U.S. deaths this flu season.”

Thankyousokindly for giving me something else to worry about.  It’s not like I’m not already consumed with my Anna’s pre-school assignment on decorating her family shield.  A little Hobby Lobby here.  Some photo printing there.  It’s kind of a big deal, yes?

It’s easy to give into the ugly, four-letter word, FEAR.  And, I’m not talking about a pre-school project.  I’m talking about things that can create an emotional response to circumstances beyond our control.  If I allow it, I can downright talk myself into a fear frenzy.  I began doing just that last night while talking to my dad.  I briefly paused, and these words fell off my tongue:

“We just need to pray protection.”

Oh, well, there ya go.  Let’s invite God in.  Swell idea?  How often I make God the size of my biggest problem. 

He’s bigger.

He’s already told us what to do with our fear.  He said our fear can just go straight to hell. 

Okay, that’s not exactly what He said.  But, He did say this:

 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

And this:

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  2 Timothy 1:7 (Gotta love the KJV)

Oh, and this:

The Lord is my light and my salvation – so why should I be afraid?  Psalm 27:1

No matter what the day brings, I know I have nothing to fear.  Because, nothing can separate me from His presence.  When I walk through the waters, He will be there.  When I walk through the fire, He never leaves my side. 

And, so I say to FEAR:  You can go straight to hell. 

And, Big Mama would follow that declaration up with a little tongue talkin’. 

For real.

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Filed under God Stuff, prayer

Nothing Can Separate Us.

I read this last night before nodding off to sleep.  I’ve read it many times before.  But, this time it just pierced me. 

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?  36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”)  37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.  38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.  39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:35-39

Even when we go through difficult times, His love still surrounds us. 

And, nothing can separate us from that love.  “Neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow….” 

Just thought maybe somebody needed to hear that today.

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Filed under God Stuff, life, Love