|Abide in Him. I remember the first time I heard that exhortation and thought, What does that even mean?
Do you ever look around at your circumstances, your troubles, those pesky trouble-makers causing chaos at work, your finances, or your worries and just freak out? It’s like the volume turns up to 10, your mind starts racing, spinning, and catastrophizing, and now it’s DEFCON 1. The tidal wave is headed right for you. Nuclear war is imminent. You’re convinced the worst will happen. You’re dead meat for sure this time.
Those of you who’ve been through studies with me before have heard that for me, the spiritual battleground is usually in the middle of the night. That’s when the enemy knows I’m most vulnerable and comes after my thoughts provoking fear and panic. That’s when I have to pull out my Bible and start slaying those dragons with His Word, surrendering my mind to what God says is true, and realigning my focus.
…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. — Philippians 4:8
So what is abiding? Abiding is knowing Him. Practicing His presence. Listening for His gentle whisper. Leaning into His goodness. The more we know Him, the more we hear His voice, the more we rejoice in His goodness, the more we metaphorically tattoo what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy onto the inside of our eyelids… the less we will fear and freak out and believe those negative thoughts that assault us.
What we think about matters.
Margaret Thatcher, former PM of the UK said:
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
So, are you thinking about positive things? Are you trusting that God is good and He has good in mind for you? Are you telling yourself the truth? I think it’s so easy to slip into catastrophizing, especially when the issue is something close to our hearts or important to our future. That weird skin bump gets mentally inflated to lethal cancer. The little bit of bleeding gets instantaneously ramped up emotionally to impending miscarriage. The snarly look from a boss who’s having a bad day gets ballooned into “I’m probably getting fired and I’ll be homeless.”
Exaggerated, overstated, inflated, irrational messages are the devil’s specialty. And they are all lies. ~ Max
Fear is never from God. Never. Fear is never the right emotion for decision-making, or conflict-resolution, or building relationships, or even just moving through normal daily life. When stressful situations arise, we mustn’t freak out, my friends!
Anxiety is best faced by clear-headed, logical thinking. ~ Max
In the middle of fear, take a breath. Remind yourself of what is true. God’s got me. He loves me so much. I can thank Him for His long history of caring for me and trust Him whatever may come. Yes, we will face difficulty and troubles, suffering and hardship, confusion and anxiety, but it’s in Him that we find peace and security. No matter what. That’s abiding. Trusting in God through panic or fear, with our minds focused on His Word, our hearts choosing to praise and worship through storms, our defenses down, and spiritual ears open.
Lay claim to every biblical promise you can remember and set out to learn a few more. Grip them for the life-preservers they are. Resist the urge to exaggerate, overstate, or amplify. Focus on the facts and nothing more. Pray and trust. ~ Max
Are you worried? He loves you, friend. He wants to comfort you, give you His peace, and cause you to flourish and produce much fruit.
Come and abide.
~ Laurie McClure, OBS Leader
Scriptures of the Week
2 Corinthians 10:5
I Timothy 6:15
Prayer for the Week
Jesus,we love You. Help us to abide in You. No matter what difficulty we’re facing and when we feel afraid and anxious, please bring Your peace. Turn our hearts to Your Word and help us to hear Your gentle, kind voice. You love us, Lord. And You have good planned for us. We trust You. And, we want to bear much fruit for You! Amen.
You are going to be so excited! We’re thrilled to share that our next study is, drum roll, please…
It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa TerKeurst
August 19 – September 29 (6 sessions)
Have you ever caught yourself thinking…
God, please don’t let this be the way my story unfolds? or
Why did God let this happen?
An invitation from Lysa:
Life often looks so very different than we hoped or expected. Some events may simply catch us off guard for a moment, but others shatter us completely. We feel disappointed and disillusioned, and we quietly start to wonder about the reality of God’s goodness. I deeply understand. That’s why I want to invite you to discover how to better process life’s sometimes painful twists and turns using my book, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way. My friends at FaithGateway are hosting an OBS for this study with their community in August, and I’m so grateful that they are.
You’ll get free access to all 6 video teaching sessions with me, participate with others going through the study, and they’re giving away first chapter downloads so you can get started reading right away.
You don’t have to fight through your disappointments, tears and unanswered questions alone, sweet friend … sign up here today.