It’s My Choice

Anxiety is something I have battled for a long time. I find that when I start to get anxious about one thing, my anxious thoughts breed anxious thoughts. For example, recently Dan and I were packing to leave for a quick weekend trip. As I packed, I started worrying that I hadn’t packed enough clothes. Then I started worrying about leaving our cats. Then I started worrying about my friend who had reached out to me earlier in the day. Then I started to think about some debt we have. Then I remembered a pain I had recently, so of course, I googled the pain and convinced myself it was probable that I was close to death. I know… it doesn’t make sense, but anxiety takes me to ridiculous places!

That night as anxiety worked to steal all my joy, I literally sat on the floor and cried out to the Lord. I told Him all the worries I had and that I knew it was silly for me to consult “doctor Google”, and asked for His forgiveness for not coming to him first. He simply whispered Philippians 4:6-7 to my heart:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV Translation)

 As the scripture promises, peace started soaking in. Before going to bed, I grabbed my phone and read the scripture again, but this time Philippians 4:8 stuck out:

So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always. (The Passion Translation)

As I read what my mind should be fixed on, my heart was so encouraged. The next day, as anxiety tried to sneak in, I would ask myself “Is this thought authentic and real? Honorable and admirable? Beautiful and respectful? Pure and holy? Merciful and kind?” When the answer was no, I was able to write off the anxiety and refocus my thoughts. I made a conscious effort to have an attitude of gratitude and not let the anxiety soak in.

A few days later, the stress of life was high. The day included traffic that made me crazy, difficult personalities, pending deadlines and hard news – all before lunch! As I drove home for lunch, I was angry and wanted to punch something. In that moment the Lord spoke. “Is this thought authentic and real? Honorable and admirable? Beautiful and respectful? Pure and holy? Merciful and kind?”

Can I just be honest? Philippians 4:8 is a lot less encouraging when you want to beat someone with a baseball bat because they aren’t driving the speed limit or not listening to you. It’s downright convicting to hear the Lord whisper, “Is this thought authentic and real? Honorable and admirable? Beautiful and respectful? Pure and holy? Merciful and kind?” when you just want to scream and pull all your hair out because things aren’t going your way.

However, as the Lord spoke to my heart, I realized I was missing something. Philippians 4:6 says present your petitions to God with thanksgiving in all situations. In verse 8, it says to keep your thoughts continuously fixed on these things. Not just when it suits me, but all the time.

If I choose to ask myself “Is this thought authentic and real? Honorable and admirable? Beautiful and respectful? Pure and holy? Merciful and kind?” with every thought, I think I would begin to see the situations around me in a very different light.

I was talking with Dan the other day through text while all the weight of the world seemed to threaten to engulf me. He responded with the perfect words for the moment and helped me see that even though it may seem dire now, I can work, with God’s help, to change my perspective. He said: “A road less traveled is not without it’s challenges. There will be times when you have to cut back the branches and brush to continue on. Remember, there will be times where that road is free and clear and it seems too easy, but at the start, it’s not going to be without its trials.”

Let me remind you of Philippians 4:8 once again:

So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always. (The Passion Translation)

 

  1. This post is such a great practical example of transformation through the renewal of your mind (Rom. 12:2) and taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). Your right, it so does not come naturally or automatically on those days when everything seems to be going wrong, but it is still a choice that we are free to make!

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  2. Thank you for reading. I love the scripture you shared! So true! 💜

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  3. So convicting, friend! I definitely need to put this into practice. I get overwhelmingly anxious about the silliest things. That’s not from Him!

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  4. It’s for sure a daily reminder for me! Thank you for reading.

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  5. Well this was incredibly timely for me – just talked with my husband tonight about my tendency to fall for the lies anxiety feeds me. Such a great message for all of us to hold every thought up to the lens of Truth and discern what is the best use of our minds’ occupation.

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  6. Oh Jennifer! I’m so glad this post was timely for you! It’s so easy to fall into the lies anxiety feeds you, however it’s also so freeing when you trade the lies for truth. Saying a prayer for you now!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. […] with what the word says, we can tell it to leave (You can read more about thinking Godly thoughts here.) When I have a thought that tells me I am not enough, I have the authority to tell that thought to […]

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