I was briefly reading Psalm 55 before a meeting this morning, and as I came across verses four and five I realized it described how anxiety feels. I am grateful that David was able to share his heart with God and thousands of years later, many us, if not all, can relate.
Anxiety can be felt in your chest as it pounds to the beat of stress and sorrow. Anxiety can be a lump in the throat making it hard to swallow the fear that does not want to submit and go away. Anxiety can be sweat and chills with tension and rapid eye blinks. Anxiety can be in the trembles of the body and the mind wandering a mile a minute with a plague of worries and thoughts. Anxiety can be in the avoidance of necessary activities in life and still step out on faith in moments while having a desire to run and hide, costing you freedom and joy. Anxiety can be the mind stuck in the past or stuck in the future. Anxiety can feel like death is following and no one can help or understand. Anxiety can feel like a death sentence as well as a life sentence. But God…
There is hope. And we are anxiety fighters. Thanks to God we can take one day at a time and fight through. We can develop courage and joy because the joy of the Lord will be our strength. We can learn about ourselves, how to endure, and learn to see ourselves the way God does. We can heal and grow, and many of us will receive the deliverance from the spirit of fear because God did not give us a spirit of fear, but that of power, love and a sound mind.
But I will call on God, and the Lord will rescue me. Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice. He ransoms me and keeps me safe from the battle waged against me, though many still oppose me. Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Psalms 55:16-18, 22 NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/psa.55.16-22.NLT
God is our safe place. God can and will sustain us. God cares about us and is concerned about everything that concerns us. God hears our cries and collects our tears. He is the answer to our problems. He loves us greater than anyone ever can. Jesus is a testament to His love for us. God reminds us to not fear. He is with us and He will never leave us nor forsake us. He is a present help in the time of trouble.
Let us ask God where we have not been trusting Him. Let us take a deep breath and rest in the God who loves us beyond measure and wants us to receive the life and life to the full He came to give us. Share with Him, like David, the contents of our hearts. And let us remember how good God has been and worship Him through the good times and bad, the certainties and doubts, and anxiety.
Just recently, I had the privilege of getting an awesome word from my cousin-in-law. We talked about anxiety and fear, and we also talked about being afraid to fight and not being use to fighting. She encouraged me so. My heart was full.
I went on to talk about these topics with my sister and we concluded that sometimes it may not always be we are used to not fighting but that we are afraid of conflict. And sometimes we are afraid we won’t be able to respond the way we need to or even hold up during the fight or conflict.
And just this morning, as I prepared to walk the dog, I walked past the tv that had been left on and saw a clip of Divergent. One of my favorite movies. The clip was Four getting ready to take Tris in to the landscape of his mind to show her how to prepare for the final test. She can’t just do things how she would normally do them. She can’t just rush through or even avoid some things. She must show that she is indeed Dauntless and not that she is (spoiler alert) Divergent. And so this clip made the lightbulb go on in my head. I immediately thought about fighting. Not the throwing up fists and releasing punches but getting back up and persevering. Fighting with wisdom and faith and resilience. Fighting strategically.
Just maybe during this season, God is teaching me how to fight. We can’t always avoid a fight. We can’t always run. And we can’t, like Tris, rush through it and respond the way we normally would. Each fight may require a different strategy. And my cousin-in-law said something similar. Oh my, I am getting full again. This fight may be different than the previous fight. You may need to do more than praying, sis. You may have to fast. You may have to cut some things off and out.
It is found via Google search that “fear not/do not be afraid” is written in the Bible 365 times. God has to remind us daily to not be afraid. God wants us to remember who we belong to and that the war has already been won. He wants us to also know that we have a strong defense team (He, His Son and Spirit as well as His angels) and the best tactical gear (the armor of God and prayer as well as worship) in the world and heavens.
So, why is God teaching us how to fight or to fight in this season?
1. God wants us to face our fears. Just like Four and Tris had to face their fears in the landscapes of their minds, God wants us to face ours. He also wants us take every thought captive. Destroy every proud obstacle that keeps us from knowing Him. There is a war going on in our minds and the best way to bring peace to our minds is to train our minds to catch, check and change certain thoughts that do not line up with the word and will of God. Or the love of God. We should even check thoughts that may not seem detrimental or harmful and see if they are sowing seeds of confusion, distraction and complacency with the world, fear, etc. Fears as they say are false evidence appearing real but to our minds it feels so real. And our fears can stem from so much trauma in our lives that it is normal to feel the way we feel. But God doesn’t want our identities and lives to be rooted in fear. He wants us to overcome and live fruitfully. We can’t fully live if our lives are fully rooted in fear.
2. God wants us to learn how to fight. God has strategies to overcome and to persevere. He has plans that always succeed. And He has promises that awaits us. His wisdom is supreme and it can aid us and save us from making poor decisions sometimes made due to fear and emotions. And like I mentioned before, the next fight may be a different kind of fight and may need a different kind of strategy. God may want us to be still during this fight to learn that He will defend us and to build our confidence in Him. Or He may want us to increase in prayer and fasting. We may need to be much bolder and let some things fall off of us. We may be carrying so much pain and so many distractions that prevent us from fighting effectively and consistently. So, He may call us away to Himself to heal and reorganize our priorities. We need to seek Him diligently and saturate in His Word. Find scriptures concerning our issues, problems, battles and meditate on and pray these scriptures. Just because we are afraid of the backlash from the enemy, afraid that our loved ones will be uncomfortable or afraid that no one in our circle will fight with us doesn’t mean the battle will go away. And God is Almighty and with us. The devil’s fate is sealed. And he already lost the war. God got you. We must learn to fight and learn to trust God.
3. God wants us to know that we are not alone and that we are joining the fight with other believers and for others, saved and unsaved, who need us to step up to the battle line. Tris had Four to help her. Tris had to realize that Four and many others like her needed someone to stand in the gap and make a difference. There are generational curses that need to broken in our families. There are children who need our intercession. There are churches that need revival and marriages that need reviving. There are sick people that need healing. There are people that need deliverance. There are some people that just need to experience God’s love and joy, especially during the uncertain moments of their lives.
So, be encouraged. Today, you may not feel like fighting. That is okay. Say thank You, Lord, for a new day. Start there. And then continue to listen for His voice on how to proceed throughout the day.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. II Corinthians 10:3-6 NKJV https://bible.com/bible/114/2co.10.3-6.NKJV
These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience): They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands, which he had given their ancestors through Moses. Judges 3:1-2, 4 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jdg.3.1-4.NIV
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:2-5 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/jas.1.2-5.NIV
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV https://bible.com/bible/111/eph.6.10-18.NIV