Monday, August 7, 2017

Anxiety Vs. Relief

Proverbs 12:25 says, “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.”

This verse reminds me of two very different loads I can choose to carry every day---anxiety or relief.  I'll bet you face that choice too. When I wake up in the morning I must decide: anxious words or kind words. Which will I listen to today? Which will I allow to stew in my heart?

You’d think the choice would be easy! Take the kind words and be cheered up! But that's not a popular option, many people would say it's not realistic either.

The anxious words were so familiar when I was widowed. I was used to them. Some people would say I had a right to them. Here they are:
  • It’s not fair . . .
  • If only . . .
  • What if . . .
One day even my wedding ring was sending me anxious and discouraging words. I know that sounds a little crazy! But I didn't hear voices or hallucinate. I loved my ring and never intended to take it off. But that day, it seemed like every time I looked at that ring, instead of stirring memories of the good marriage I had enjoyed, it would say, “You’re not married any more.” Of course that was true, but looking at my ring had become negative and painful, and no longer a sweet reminder.

I had recently been given my grandmother’s diamond ring. So when the wedding ring started sassing me, I took it off and put Grandma's on in it’s place. The new ring sparkled and seemed to say “good things can still happen.”

In the same way, even years later today, I can take off the anxious words and choose kind words. Well, kind of in the same way, but this is a bit harder than simply replacing a ring (and some days I know even that's too hard). Stay with me though...

Instead of “It's not fair...” we can pick up on Eph. 1:3 which isn't very fair either, but is a much better deal. It says that God has “. . . blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ...” I sure don't deserve blessings like that, yet God is gracious and generous.

Instead of “If only...” we can replace it with “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made... all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” Psalm 139:14-16.

Instead of “What if...” we can fill in the blank withwhat ever 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

In fact, read all of Phillipians 4:4-9 today. It’s a pile of kind words. If you pick up this load of Scripture today, instead of you carrying it around, it’ll carry you! It's not always easy to replace our thoughts with Scripture. Sometimes it's spiritual warfare and a struggle, but God really can give us victory in this, I'm living proof (most of the time--I'll be the first to tell you I know the struggle, and I'm not perfect. Ever.).But if I can pray for you about this please let me know by emailing me at WCplace@gmail.com. We're not meant to struggle alone but rather to bear one another's burdens and I'm more than willing to listen and pray for you.

One of the most amazing things about being a Christian widow is that we can experience new life and true freedom in Christ. He lives within us. We experience grief, and grieve deeply (!),  but we do not have to be enslaved to grief and ruled by emotions alone. God has a much better way. We are not alone or abandoned, He is with us and He loves you deeply. Your life is not a waste and good things can still happen. There's new life in heaven for your husband, but there's also new life here for you. It starts with making a choice between anxious thoughts or kind words today. Don't worry about what you'll do about that choice tomorrow, today is the day for a victory.

ferree

2 comments:

  1. Wow great post, I have been strugging a lot the last couple of week. It is coming up on my second year of widowhood. My husband when home to the Lord Aug 17 2015. I never thought it would be so hard. Lots of anxiety. On my walk today I prayed for the Lord to help me to be kind. I'm trying to choose the better way, however a lot of what ifs sneak in.

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  2. I totally hear you and agree! I'm so sorry for your loss too. This takes a lot longer than we expect too and sometimes we even fell guilty about that! For me, those "what ifs" can still sneak in but I know how to fight them off now. Keep choosing the better way and all your little steps and victories are going to get you through this to the point it doesn't bother you as much anymore. You'll never forget, which is good, and you'll always miss him, but God will send good things your way and good purposes to serve. I'll be praying for you! And if you didn't see today's follow-up please be sure to check here: http://www.widowschristianplace.com/2017/08/a-prayer-for-anxiety-vs-relief.html

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