Yesterday I wrote about how I was feeling stuck. I couldn't get motivated. This feeling was caused by physical tiredness. Not quite exhaustion, which requires lots of rest. I just felt a little depleted and tired of the whole routine. Last night, at our church Christmas party, we had the pleasure of hearing a lady speak about something most of us can relate to--anxiety. After hearing what she had to say, I realized that there's another kind of stuck--being mentally stuck with anxiety and worry that robs your energy.
The speaker shared her struggles with worry and fearful thoughts. Her mind was stuck in a negative pattern of "what if this happens" fear and "if only I would have" regrets. Instead of living for today, she was stuck in the future, worrying about what might happen or stuck in the past regretting what already did happen. This pattern of thinking caused her to become deeply depressed. Her constant worry and anxiety had robbed her energy and put her into a terrible state of mind.
She went to her pastor for help. She also was lead to an encouraging book, Loving God With All Your Mind by Elizabeth George. I recognized the title because I read that book and it's one of my favorites. George says we must be faith oriented, not feeling oriented. We should never view our lives through the lens of feelings because they are too varied and unstable. When we feel panic, worry or any kind of anxiety we need to put our faith in God and the truth of His word, not in our feelings.
That's exactly what the speaker did to win her battle with anxiety and depression. The first thing she did was ask God to bring any unconfessed sin to her mind so she could confess and be forgiven. This was her way of starting fresh and cleansing her mind. She didn't want anything to hinder her healing. The second step was filling her mind with the truth of God's word. She knew that she had to replace her worried thoughts with more positive thoughts.
Phillipians 4:8 was one of the scriptures she began to dwell on: ..."whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things." She said she had notecards of scripture placed around the house-- where she stood to wash dishes, at the bathroom mirror, even in her car. Whenever a negative worrisome thought crept into her mind she took that thought captive and pushed it out of her mind. Then she replaced that thought with the truth of God's word.
Speaking God's word out loud was another weapon she used to battle her anxiety. Speaking God's promises out loud has great power she said. Jeremiah 29:11 was another scripture she would dwell on to keep her mind free. In that scripture God promises this: "I know the plans I have for you...plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
In Loving God With All Your Mind, Elizabeth George says God reassures us that His purposes for us are good. Romans 8:28 says, "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." We can use this promise in our prayers. Simply say, "God, Your word says all things including this (you name the present problem) work together for good." This is sometimes called praying God's word and it forces us to acknowledge God's involvement in our lives and reminds us that He is the source of our hope.
No matter what kind of stuck we are... physically, mentally, or emotionally, the answer is the same. Go to God and dwell on the truth of His word. Commit your work to Him. Dedicate your day to Him. Psalm 37:5 says, "Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him and He will do it." Elizabeth George paraphrases that promise this way: "Trust God to take over your career, home, work, all the circumstances, aims and ambitions of life, and He will so mold events that your deepest and purest desires shall find unmeasured fulfillment, and life will be filled with utter satisfaction" "What a promise!," she adds. "What hope! What a plan God has for us, His children!"