Fear and anxiety are normal emotions. As normal as fear and anxiety are, these stress-makers shred our ability to be kind, caring, and compassionate people. Fear and anxiety turn us inward towards ourselves. Satan can and will use fear and anxiety against us at every opportunity. When we experience fear and anxiety, we must take a deep breath and think about Christ and His assurance to be with us. We must remember to relax and place these negative emotions in a proper perspective.
Fear is the negative emotion generated by a tangible threat. Anxiety is the negative emotion generated by an intangible threat. Fear is the result of something real. Anxiety is the result of something imagined. Anxiety causes an unsettledness within, often people can’t identify what they are anxious about. Worry is different, the object of their worry is identifiable.
When we are worried, fearful and anxious, we must remember to pray. Obviously, fear and anxiety take away your prayerful moods. However, God cares about your coming to Him in prayer, regardless of your emotions or your circumstances. Pray God’s word over every fear, worry or anxious thought. By doing so, we are promised in Philippians 4:6-7 that the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds.
Always remember that negative emotions are rooted in negative thinking. Emotions will not change unless we change our thinking. Scripture backs this up beautifully, “Anxiety in the heart of a man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.” (Proverbs 12:25).
Saturate yourself in the Truth of God’s Holy Word. Meditate on the rich promises that are part of your inheritance as a beloved precious child of the living God! No matter how your feel right now choose to embrace the truth, strength and wisdom and peace of God by changing your spiritual focus from darkness to light. Let the One who counts every hair on your head comfort and fill you with hope for the future. His perfect love casts away all fear. Set your fearful thoughts on Jesus. He is the greatest mood stabilizer of all.
When you are hurt and you are wronged by another person you may want to even the score. When you are damaged and broken by another person you may want to undo the damage and fix the brokenness by getting even.
However, the idea of getting even is a false idea put into your mind by Satan and his forces of deception. The truth is there is no true way of getting even with another person. There is no true way of evening up the score by hurting another person for what was done to you. There is no true way of getting even because hurting someone else does not make your own hurt go away.
Hurting someone else does not fix your brokenness. Hurting someone else does not undo a wrong committed against you. However, there is a way to erase the wrong, heal the hurt, repair the damage, and fix the brokenness. You can erase the wrong, heal the hurt, repair the damage, and fix the brokenness by pushing back against wanting to get even. You can push back and heal, repair, and fix the hurt by asking Christ to push with you.
You can push back by asking Christ to help you be forgiving. Certainly, the way of the world is not to forgive. The way of the world is to try to get you to even the score by doing to others the same bad things others have done to you. However, look around you. Look at the results of the way of the world. Now look within your heart where God is within. When you look within your heart…the place within you where God is found, then you will see His way is not the way of the world.
God’s way is the way of giving you healing. God’s way is the way of giving you wholeness. God’s way is the way of giving you rightness. God’s way is the way of giving you peace. To go God’s way means you must use your might, use your will, and use your heart to push in His direction and ask Him to help you forgive.
When you and God both push in the same direction, you win and you do not just even the score into a tie, you do not just win by a slim margin…you win by smashing the adversary back into the ground from where the adversary slithered forward to bite you and poison you.
Christmas is a time of good cheer, excitement, expectancy, warmth, busyness and feelings of joy surrounded by family and friends. But for some, it can be a time of extreme loneliness. Loneliness can be described as a feeling of emptiness in the pit of your stomach when someone you love has left you either through death or broken relationships. You may feel abandoned, unwanted, or unneeded as if you’re all by yourself when you are actually surrounded by all kinds of people. You may feel like no one really cares.
These feeling can intensify if you begin to believe that your loneliness is a result of something being wrong at a core level with you – that you are somehow unacceptable, unworthy, don’t measure up, or unlovable. When this happens, you may feel hopeless and have nothing to live for. Your pain can erode your self-worth, and drain you of strength. Loneliness puts a huge wall around your heart and prevents you from allowing others in including God.
When you feel as if the entire world has abandoned you, and that no one understands your pain and sorrow God’s Word promises that the Lord is with you and He will never leave you.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
In your loneliness and despair, have you distanced yourself from the Lord?
It is never too late to draw near to Him again. You are His precious child. And when you return to Him, you will be welcomed with open arms. You will have heartfelt joy when returning home to the shelter of God’s unconditional love and acceptance. You are never alone!
Every person has a learned pattern of behavior when dealing with conflict. Some lash out; others become critical, defensive and sarcastic, while some retreat like a turtle and avoid conflict altogether. None of these patterns work towards solution and even create more conflict adding layers of bitterness and resentments causing hearts to get hardened and broken intimacy in relationships.
What’s God’s solution when conflict in relationships arises? GRACE! You see people model what was modeled to them. If they attack, they were attacked. If they are critical, they were criticized. If they avoid, stuffing and avoidance were the names of the game growing up. These patterns are brought into relationships and affect those we love. It’s important not to personalize the wrongful reactions of other people. It has more to do with their faulty filters and less to do with you. Grace understands this. It can build a bridge to healthy relationships.
God’s word says “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Instead of getting angry and replying in kind commit to sifting every conflict through a grace sifter. Nothing gets through unless it contains grace. Just like a flour sifter catches big lumps of flour that will ruin a recipe – nothing critical is allowed to sift through that will ruin our relationships. There is nothing wrong with the flour it’s just the wrong consistency. Likewise, conflict issues are legitimate and must be addressed and dealt with. But it’s our negative reaction to conflict that needs sifting through the filter of grace.
The next part of the recipe calls for seasoning with salt. Salt is a preservative. If your conversation is full of grace – allowing for faults and imperfections of others – it preserves relationships and brings peace to our lives. This is the perfect recipe for healthy God-centered relationships. Let’s get to cooking with grace.
“But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”
Nothing hurts and nothing heals like the truth. Facing the truth is sometimes like getting a shot from the doctor. Facing the truth sometimes brings a sting, but eventually healing will come and we will feel better.
The truth heals us and restores us when we place our life in the hands of God. Without placing our life in Christ’s love and grace, the truth can only hurt us and there are even times when the truth can maim and traumatize us.However, God has organized things in such a way as to bless us and heal us when we are with Him and when we rejoice in knowing the truth.
The truth heals and restores our soul because when we live and immerse ourselves in the truth, eventually the truth will lead us to God. We are healed and restored by the truth because the truth always leads us to a place where we find comfort and love in His presence.
The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is this…God loves us beyond our ability to fully comprehend. All the hurt, trauma, and tragedy of this life can be washed away in the truth of God’s love and grace if we are willing to be His child. This washing away of our darkness is how the truth heals and restores us.
After we are washed clean by Christ’s love, we find ourselves being wrapped up in His arms. In the washing away of our lies and deceptions, we begin to see clearly our Savior who stands by us every second of our life. We also see He wants us to join Him in Heaven after our mission on earth has been completed.
We all go through struggles and hard times. Life is not fair. There are times of sadness, despair, and regret.
The Psalmist paints a picture of someone trapped in an emotional downward spiral. Everything seems overwhelming and yet, in the end, they were able to say that there is encouragement in seeking God’s help. Why? Because God hears us.
There are two types of trauma that bring the kind of despair that we read in today’s passage. There is the trauma of “not getting what we need” , and then there is the trauma of “getting something that we should have never received.”
The first is the result of neglect and abandonment, the second from abuse. But the good news is that God hears us in our despair, and He can help us.
Life brings each of us inescapable traumas that block maturity. God’s redemptive activity comes to us in two ways: He brings healing to our traumas, and adopts us into His family. Both ways boost us through our blocks to maturity, along the way to wholeness, With these boosts, we will be able to live from the hearts He gave us, our true identities will emerge, and our relationships with family and community will be characterized by joy.
Today, praise God for His healing. It is there for you as you bring your pain to Him. Also, praise God for His family. It is through the fellowship and love from each other that we are made whole and can experience the joy He has for us.
“Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me. I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me.” – “Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. For the LORD hears the cries of the needy.”
Psalms 69: 1-3, 32-33 (NLT)
Emotional pain is the scourge of the heart and soul. Emotional pain eats away at our humanity. Emotional pain is a burden taking away the quality of our life and most assuredly our emotional pain weighs us down. When we are burdened by our emotional pain we need to lighten the burden. When we hurt, we need a way to take some of the weight off our heart and soul. There is a way to lighten our burden of emotional pain. The way to lighten our load is to tune into the upward pulling force of Jesus.
If you let Him, Jesus is always pulling upward upon your heart. If you let Him, Jesus is always pulling upward upon your burden. Jesus, in His love, is always pulling your burden upward toward Heaven. Jesus is now with you and He is now supporting you, guiding you, and giving you hope as He pulls you upward.
In our emotional pain, we need hope things will change. If there is one supernatural ingredient Christ brings to all of us in our pain, it is hope. Jesus did not come to our world to push you down but to pull you up. Now, take your emotional burden and hold your burden out to Him. Hold your burden out so His light and love can shine into your heart. As you hold your burden out in front of you, watch as Jesus comes and places His healing hands of power upon your hurt…and see His light and love pulling your emotional hurt over to Him…lightening your load, lightening your burden, and lightening your pain.