Monday, October 13, 2008

Practicing Peace

I'm an anxious person.

If I could have three wishes from a genie in a bottle, one of them would be to POOF, take away my anxiety. The other two wishes would have to do with cottage living on a lake and poverty. Really. I mean that about ending poverty. Even if three wishes from a genie are meant for frivolous things.

But I digress.

I'm the kind of anxious that produces nail-biting and leg hopping. There could be absolutely nothing anxiety producing going on in my life and I'll still walk around with a bit of an edge to me. A bubbling group of butterflies batting away at my stomach.

I'm sick of it.

Every which way I turn these days, I have been hit over the head with these words:

"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. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

Easy peasy, right?

Not for me. I can admit that I need some work in this particular (and many other) area(s). It seems like a simple equation:

Stop yourself when you start to worry + Pray + Think on lovely things = Peace.

So straight-forward.

This may not come easy for me, but I believe that it works.

I am an excellent example of a work in progress. Because it will take some time and faith to re-train this anxious brain. It's easy for me to fall back on worry, to listen to the little red guy on my shoulder, whispering his negative messages, his lies.

But I would like to silence him, until he is bored and moves on. I would like to stop when I notice that I'm about to start chewing my nails and staring off into space, thinking hard about all that isn't good. I would like to stop and say,

"I am good. Maybe even lovely. I have this man in my life who thinks I am good. I have these children. They are pure joy, and that is excellent. I have these parents that I admire. I see someone hurting and I want to help and do what is right. There is a God who loves me, and I know that is true. He is more than praiseworthy."

I want to stop and speak truth. I want to do what these verses say and calm my anxious heart. I want that peace that passes all human understanding. I want to stop biting my nails over lies.

Sometimes I want it to be miraculously simple. Like that genie in a bottle. But then I realize that most of the time, change comes a little slower, by putting a new way of thinking into practice.

I have met my "genie in a bottle," and I'm so thankful that He still speaks, bringing me peace when I didn't think it was possible.


MidnightCafe said...

I am so totally with you. I don't even know what to say. This was timely for me.

Sabrina said...

yeah timely for me too. I've been so anxious lately. Thank you for this post.

a Tonggu Momma said...

As you know, I needed this today, Heather. Thank you.

Carrie Thompson said...

I read both blog post, the sentence about being angry before I know if its something to be angry about hit home. I too am an anxious person. I too desire that peace! Thank you for your post! It was needed and I hope tommorow I remember to think on lovely things and enjoy the peace God has for me (and my kids...). thanks.

Ali said...

wow! love it.

and, i think we are having that weird connection again. read this:

And, I am working on one right now called, "Hello Anxiety, meet peace" that is pretty much me trying to take my moments of anxiety ( the little man lives with me too) and do what you did until I reach peace. Although you did it far more eloquently than i will.

I love your brain. Can I crawl in and take a nap?

Beth in NC said...

I understand. I was so bound by fear and anxiety that it almost made me home bound many years ago. The only solution is letting the Word of God transform your mind. Standing on the scriptures and using them as your Sword. God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind. Use the word against satan just as Jesus did when He was tempted in the wilderness. You have authority over the one tormenting your thoughts. God bless you!

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