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From anxiety to…

From anxiety to…

What a month it has been. If you’ve been following along in the #neuethingchallenge2020, you know we have been in the Psalms this year with a unique look at different themes that are displayed throughout the Psalms. The month of April was focused in on the theme of anxiety and how we see that theme represented as we read certain passages in Psalms. And I’ll say it again—what a month it has been!

With a global pandemic, states and governments shut down, stay at home orders, social distancing and more as our present reality, there is no doubt that anxiety has been on the rise within the hearts of so many. Panic, fear of the unknown, and so much uncertainty of what the future holds.

Anxiety: distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune

Anybody? Our lives have significantly changed within a matter of weeks. Plans have been cancelled, circumstances have been altered, and we sit here peering into May, June, July, and beyond, and we wonder, “What’s next? How will this all play out?”

Listen, those of you who are boasting, “Today or tomorrow we’ll go to another city and spend some time and go into business and make heaps of profit!” But you don’t have a clue what tomorrow may bring. For your fleeting life is but a warm breath of air that is visible in the cold only for a moment and then vanishes! Instead you should say, “Our tomorrows are in the Lord’s hands and if He is willing we will live life to its fullest and do this or that.” James 4:13-15 TPT

I spent some time in the book of James these past two weeks, and I’m so much the better for it. Friends, I love the book of James! There is just so much goodness, so much wisdom, and so much practical application found within these five short chapters of Scripture. If you’ve never read it, or even if you have, I encourage you to read through it today.

One of the things the LORD has struck me with as we’ve all tried to adjust to this “new normal” is this idea that we see in James 4:13-15: we never knew what tomorrow would bring, we’re just much more aware of that reality now than we were before. Isn’t that true? Human control is such an illusion, and I do believe that anxiety rises the more we try to maintain control over things…because ultimately, we know that we can’t. Things aren’t in our control. They never were, and they never will be.

But still, we strive and we try to maintain a grasp on controlling the things around us.

Why?

What if God is actually presenting an incredible opportunity to us in these unprecedented times? What if He’s extended an invitation to us to move from anxiety to open-handed living?

What does that mean?

Scripture is clear that planning is wise, so James is not telling us to stop planning. That would be foolish. However, the principle here is to live with our plans surrendered to the LORD. “God, here are my plans. These are my desires. However, if you want to take them or change them, have Your way. Have Your way.” This is surrender.

What if we lived like this instead? And what if this shift was the catalyst in our freedom from fear? Just something to chew on today, friends. Live open-handed before the LORD with everything you desire and everything He has given to you. It’s the pathway to freedom.


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