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Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 12:8‭-‬9 ESV

And that is what I live with. His Grace is all around me and His love never ends.

Later,

.

Pat

Devotional Day 7 The End

Today I wanted to encourage you.

It is so easy to look at ourselves in defect and shame when an ongoing affliction rises up in our life. To forfeit our purpose and live in this constant pit of “something is wrong with me”.

But I want to reassure you that this anxiety has not canceled God’s plan over your life. Your struggle has been no surprise to God. He is not taken off-guard by your fears and insecurities. He’s not waiting for some future version of you to show up. He delights in you, His child, right now. In fact, He gets the glory shining through our broken cracks.

 His power is made perfect in your weakness.

What does that mean?

It means that despite your flaws, when God meets them, you become the perfect match. So be proud that He is at work in your life. It was never up to you to get this whole thing right.

What you’re going through now and the work God is doing in your life is all specifically tailored to the calling He has on your life. These vulnerabilities are a part of your story. They are how you will connect with the world around you from a real place of humanity and compassion. They are how you will be able to speak the language of the hurting and the broken and show them the light of Christ.

I’m a witness.

This series exists because of my weakness.

Remember when Jesus and the disciples came across a blind man and they asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus said, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:2-3)

Many times these struggles aren’t because of something we did. It isn’t because we’re any less Christian or because God has decided to turn His back on us.

We live in a fallen world, disrupted by sin, where being broken is inevitable. Some things God allows so that we may witness His restorative power and He will show His glory to others. So I want you to rebuke shame and condemnation.

God can turn our pain into a purpose and we have to trust His love in the process. And to be completely honest, while I hope these 7 days have encouraged you with the tools and edification to let go of anxiety, that doesn’t mean it won’t try to pop up again. It will.

On my weakest days, it still tries to have it’s way with me. But because of the combination of my understanding of how anxiety works, loved ones I can turn to as needed and personal accountability to take my thoughts captive, I have learned how to face it.

Renewing and sustaining our minds is a daily practice.

 

Action Steps:
Start seeking out accountability and don’t be afraid to reach out for the help you need to manage and develop more skills for combatting anxiety. 

 

Today’s Prayer: Lord I know I’m not perfect but I trust that in spite of myself you are still faithful to see me through the trials of this life. Because of this I will continue to have hope.

Devotional Day 6

You know what the problem is with anxiety?

We get too far ahead of ourselves.

We convince ourselves to fear things that either haven’t happened or don’t actually exist. After all, FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real. Sometimes it’s so bad, we won’t allow ourselves to get too happy, enjoy ourselves too much or experience the fullness of a great relationship. We self-sabotage our own joy all out of the fear of disappointment.

Fear that it’s only so long before something goes wrong. We’d rather be prepared than endangered, but these walls soon become a self-imposed prison.

Have you ever experienced this?

I know I have.

Brené Brown, in her book Daring Greatly, calls this the shield of “Foreboding Joy”. 

Brown mentions, the whole idea is that “you sacrifice joy, but you suffer less pain.”

This has become the world that many of us live in.

And let’s be real, it is bondage.

However Christ instructs us in Matthew 6:34 to take one day at a time- to be present.

The truth is that you cannot experience the fullness of joy without allowing yourself to be vulnerable to the present. It was when I realized how hard it was for me to be fully present that I began to understand the depth of my anxiety. By placing my mind in the future I somehow thought I could control it or stop things before they happened even though they never existed.

And most of the things we fear, never even happen. It’s all a trap to keep us from living the abundant life we’ve been called to in Christ. Remember God’s sovereignty? He has already seen your future. He has every single day of your life laid out before Him (Psalm 139:16). So we don’t have to worry about the future when we know He is already there.

Today my challenge for you is to let go of Foreboding Joy and be present.

Action steps:
 

When you feel tempted to overthink a situation:

1. Set aside another time to think about it.

Designate a time when you have more peace and better timing to think it through.

You’ll feel better because you can redirect your focus to what’s in front of you without the lingering feeling that things have gone unresolved.

2. Slow Down.

Practice the pause. Recognize that anxious ruminating bears no fruit. Visualize yourself pushing everything out of your brain and to the side. Readjust your concentration and slow down. 

Today’s Prayer: Lord, right now I am grateful for the 24 hours you have placed in front of me and I will trust you with the days to come.