When it comes to composing a blog, my only rule is to never write for the sake of writing but to listen to what the Father is telling me and put those words on a page. It’s amazing how God can be silent one minute, and the next you’re up until 2am composing words into something that I pray will impact your lives!
Recently, I’ve found myself struggling with overthinking and anxiety. I’m not usually an anxious person, but over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed a pattern when it comes to decision making. No matter the topic, if a decision is going to impact my life (which is most decisions, honestly), I start to overthink and work myself up. Can you relate? I’m sure most of us can.
Would you describe yourself as an optimist or pessimist? Do you tend to focus on the positive or negative? I’d like to think of myself as a generally positive and optimistic person, though I’m also a realist and consider the downfalls that have a chance of occurring, hints my indecisive tendencies. Whether it’s going somewhere new, deciding if someone’s going to stay in the friend zone (sorry boys), or putting words together for a blog post, no matter the subject, I’m starting to realize how much time I’m wasting by overthinking and turning situations into more than they really are.
Thank God for friends and family members who aren’t afraid to call me out for my dramatic reactions to simple gestures or ideas. They keep me grounded, even if my head still wanders into the clouds on a daily basis. I’m so thankful to have them in my life, no matter how much I hate hearing them tell me that I’m ridiculous and need to calm down. In the end, they’re usually right, which is why I need to put the coming revelation into practice as soon as possible!
The word trigger has gained a new meaning recently, and people are now using it to describe their agitations. I hear it all the time: “That person’s Facebook post triggered me.” “I’m feeling super triggered, right now.” “Just looking at Donald Trump’s face triggers me.” (The last example was a joke, not my political opinion)
I, also use this word when I get frustrated, but it’s not something to be proud of. Not only are we, Believers, called not to be anxious, but we are also instructed to be slow to speak and slow to anger (James 1:19). These two subjects walk hand in hand; becoming triggered can lead to anxiety about your life and being anxious can make you more susceptible to getting triggered.
Everyone has days where their emotions run wild, and a simple question can tip us over the edge. I, for one, have been known to have bursts of emotions (again, not something to be proud of). That said, I’m learning that it’s not so much how we are reacting that’s the central part of the problem, but the fact that we’re allowing our emotions to take control of us.
For most of this week, I’ve been studying Romans 8 after “spontaneously” adding Romans 8:28 to the end of one of my morning prayers. However, following the events of that day, I no longer believe the verse was a random choice. With every prayer entry I write, I always search for a Scripture that links with what I’ve written. On this particular morning, I was at a loss for words, but as a systematic person, I still wanted to end the short prayer with a verse or two, so I went to my Bible app’s Verse of the Day section and read through the results. As I skimmed through my options, my eyes landed on Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Thinking it was an encouraging verse, I quickly wrote it, closed my journal, and began my day. The way God works is truly incredible! After “randomly” writing that small verse in my journal, God brought it back to my mind as we were having dinner with a friend. To conclude our evening together, we had a time of prayer. While we were praying, I felt the Spirit come over me and knew that He had words He wanted me to write; however, it wasn’t until our guest quoted a verse from Romans 8 that things started to click.
When I got to my bedroom that night, I grabbed my Bible and read the entire chapter for myself, and boy is this a powerful chapter! Romans 8 contains various topics that I could write at least ten pages about, but I’m only going to focus on one part, this week. In Romans 8:5-11, Paul writes about living life in the Spirit:
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the matters of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the matters of the Spirit. For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace. Because the mind of the flesh is enmity towards Elohim, for it does not subject itself to the Torah of Elohim, neither indeed is it able, and those who are in the flesh are unable to please Elohim. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of Elohim dwells in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Messiah, this one is not His. And if Messiah is in you, the body is truly dead on account of sin, but the Spirit is life on account of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Yeshua from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Messiah from the dead shall also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit dwelling in you.”
Every time I read this passage, I get excited! For too long, I’ve allowed the thoughts of my flesh to take up my time and forget that it’s not I who lives, but Him who is living in me!! (Galatians 2:20) Yes, certain things of this world need our attention (such as bills), but allowing them to cause worry and anxiety in our lives is a mindset we should be cautious about. We are called for a specific purpose, and I don’t believe that worrying gets us any closer to that calling.
It says in Matthew 6:25-34 that we should not worry about ANYTHING because our Heavenly Father knows what we need and will take care of us. I’ve heard Matthew 6 used in teachings and as examples so many times that the words have almost lost their meaning. We can listen to something said a thousand times, but it isn’t until God opens our ears that the same words can change the way we look at our lives, forever.
Every day, I find myself asking the Father for same things (patience, wisdom, gentleness, less “triggers,” and peace instead of anxiety), and every day I find myself slipping up in some way. However, as God has been showing me the parts of my life that need work, He’s also been teaching me that it’s okay to ask for the same things and not master it all in one day.
I used to beat myself up when I would go to my prayer journal in the evening and see that I had poorly reacted in a particular situation and not done what I said I would, but that wasn’t the right response to have. Instead of looking back and scolding myself up for not being perfect, I should’ve looked at the day and thanked God for giving His instructions and been encouraged in the realization that with each day, new things are being revealed to me that I need to start working on.
I love what Matthew McConaughey said after winning an Oscar for Best Actor back in 2014. He explained the three things he needs each day: Something to look up to, something to look forward to, and someone to chase. His final point, someone to chase, he explained is his hero (him in 10 years). You’ll have to watch the full video (below) to get a better explanation; but to summarize, Matthew explained that he will never become his own hero, but that he was fine with that because it keeps him with someone to chase…
We are continually trying to be our best selves. We look at articles to help us have the best bodies, the healthiest diet, the perfect relationship, stronger faith in God, etc.; but we’re never going to be the perfect people we wish we were, and it certainly won’t ever happen overnight! So, instead of looking at all the things I mess up on each day, I’m going to learn from the mistakes I’ve made and keep taking steps forward rather than continually looking back or wishing that tomorrow would come. I honestly believe that the harder I work towards becoming the person I’m called to be, the stronger my faith will become and the happier I’ll be. I’m never going to be my hero, but I can definitely chase that person and listen to God’s voice to help me get close.
I encourage you to read the whole chapter of Hebrews 12, but there’s a section that I want to add before ending this post. Hebrews 12:4-13 talks about God disciplining His Children and quotes Proverbs 3:11-12, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
Wow! So even though I don’t get it right every day, the revelation that God sees me as His daughter is enough to keep me moving forward. How wonderful is it to know that we are children of the Most High? We are all His children, and when we open our ears to hear His instructions, it shouldn’t be a discouragement to us, but an encouragement because it shows that God loves us so much that He wants to be not just a God but a Father to us all!
No matter what gets thrown our way, we have the power to decide how we’re going to react. I don’t know about you, but I’m done overthinking and getting anxious over situations that God can easily handle. Why should I take on the pressure of things that will only make me blow it all out of proportion when God is more than capable of taking care of it all?
People always say, “You only live once, so live today like it’s your last…” We don’t know when our final day on earth will be, but each day we get is a new opportunity to move closer to the purpose God has for us, don’t wait until your final day to make that change! Someone once told me that tomorrow never comes, it’s always going to be the following day, and that really resonated with me. Live today as a new day, don’t let the things of yesterday or the plans of tomorrow dictate what you’re going to do right here and now in the present!
So, today, I pray that we will stop wasting precious days worrying or being anxious with the path we want our lives to take. I break anxiety from your lives! Just as it says in the Bible, we are to be anxious about NOTHING and wholeheartedly trust in God! We are His children and the things of this world come to naught in the end. I pray that we will have our ears opened to listen to Him and when anxiety or overthinking starts to creep into our brains, we will remind them who our God is and not allow those thoughts to take hold of us! Satan has used these things for far too long, and it’s time to say ENOUGH! God is in control, and even if we don’t know what tomorrow brings, we can rest in the knowledge that God does, and He will work everything together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose!! We all have incredible callings on our lives but allowing minute topics to cause such anxiety is unacceptable. It’s time to take charge and follow God’s lead and Voice!
I’m pumped tonight, can’t you tell? I’m so excited to see what this next week brings! I don’t want to overthink anymore, and if I start to, I’m going to remind myself of the things I’ve written above so that I can snap out of that mindset. It’s time to get triggered by the Spirit and not by aggravations. We’ll have slip ups, but if we have each other and God, nothing can stop this unbeatable force!!
Hebrews 12:1-3, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus (Yeshua), the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”