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.
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.