Tag Archives: joy

Worry Robs Our Rest

Don’t worry about anything.  Instead, pray about everything…(Philippians 4:6 NLT).

Do you have a problem with worry? Maybe you’re exhausted from worrying about everything from your family to the elections, to the economy, to the condition of the world.  But here’s some good news:  The Lord has given us a secret weapon to use against anxiety. He tells us we can overcome worry through prayer.

Now, I happen to be a world class worrier. I didn’t have to learn how to worry. It just came naturally as a by-product of an overactive imagination, a curious mind, and a relentless memory. Marriage and a family only brought more responsibility, and therefore more things to worry about.  I agree with my friend who defines worry with the acronym: W.O.R.R.Y:  Worry-Only-Robs-Rest-from-You. It’s true. Worry is exhausting.

 So as one who is prone to worry, I’m inspired by Paul’s letter to some persecuted Christians in the town of Philippi. They were always in danger of getting killed, and therefore had lots to worry about. “Don’t worry about anything,” he encouraged them. “Instead, pray about everything.”

I’m struck by that word instead. Paul didn’t just say to stop worrying. He said, instead of worrying, to pray.  He tells us to redirect all that furious, anxious energy into prayer.  To make worry work for us instead of against us!

I get that concept.  It sounds a little like a trick I learned back in high school when I took karate in between sports seasons. I was taught to use the enemy’s energy against him. A violent attack could be redirected to incapacitate my attacker.  The Bible reminds us that daily, we are in a spiritual battle.  So, in a similar way, prayer is one way to use the devil’s energy against him.

When we use all the energy (that we are not using for worry) on prayer,  we can begin to experience gratitude and peace, instead of anxiety.  Paul puts it this way: “Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.” Then, “If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6, 7 NLT).

Reminder: When you are tempted to worry, try redirecting all that energy into prayer!

(Adapted from Sometimes He Whispers, Sometimes He Roars: Learning How to Hear the Voice of God,  By Marilynn Chadwick, Howard Books, 2012).


30 Days of Hopeful: Day 16

The woman suddenly turned and faced me as we waited for the hospital elevator together.  She looked me square in the eye, and said proudly, “Today marks five years for me as a cancer survivor!”  Both of us were there visiting family members.  “I’m thankful everyday I live that I was blessed with cancer, she added.”  I looked at her quizzically, so she went on to explain,  “I’m 72 years old, and cancer taught me how to live.   I never miss an opportunity to reach out to someone with God’s love.”  And with that comment, she smiled and hurried off the elevator.

Then it hit me.  The person she had just “reached out to with God’s love” that morning was me.  I’m the one whose path she crossed–and she didn’t miss the opportunity to let her joy spill over to me.

I’ve thought about that woman several times since our brief encounter yesterday.  I don’t know her name.  Can’t tell you what she looked like, except that she had blondish hair, a big smile, a Christmas-y sweater, and sturdy looking shoes.  But what I can tell you is that she literally radiated with life.  It sounds a little cliche, but I can’t think of a better way to describe her.  She’s like the person described in Isaiah 50:4 who was always ready with “a word to sustain the weary.”

I found myself calculating her age when she got cancer…67.  And how at a time in life when most folks are winding down, this woman seemed to be winding back up.  She would say that cancer was the “blessing” that caused her to pause.  Reevaluate life.  Rejoice at a second chance. But mostly, it inspired her to be on the lookout for people in need of God’s touch everywhere she went.  So glad I got to be one of them.


30 Days of Thankful: Day 26

In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 NKJV).

Giving thanks to God can diffuse even life’s most difficult circumstances. Gratitude has a healing power all its own. I have seen this over and over in our decades of ministry as we have come alongside people during their times of trial. I’ve watched praise and thanksgiving emerge from those walking through the worst of tragedies—clear evidence that God is providing supernatural strength and comfort.

But I’m learning the value of giving thanks all over again while spending much of the last few days in the trauma unit of our local hospital. This time I’m not here as a caregiver, but as a family member.  My younger sister, while battling an illness,  sustained a head injury in a fall and has been fighting for her life. Some of you have walked this journey yourself. There’s lots of watching and waiting and praying at a time like this.

Since we are going through our 30 Days of Thankful, I’ve chosen to begin each difficult morning thanking God for what He is doing and will continue to do in this situation. I’ve also been watching for evidence of His work, jotting down each little sign of hope—however tiny—in my journal.

There have been many. Like the kind custodian who assured me that God was “in control” and then, looking over at my comatose sister, said with conviction, “She’s going to be all right.” Or the beautiful chaplain with a Middle Eastern background whose family had once smuggled Bibles into her closed country. What a special time of prayer we had together. Or the beautiful garden I discovered—a nice spot to have lunch in the bright October sunshine; and the beautiful walking trail just outside the hospital; the friends who dropped by at just the right moment to pray for my sister. The list goes on. We have a long road ahead of us—but today, I have hope. And I am thankful.

Life here on planet Earth is full of these kind of laboratory experiments…opportunities to take God at His Word. It’s not like Jesus didn’t warn us: I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.] (John 16:33 AMP).


30 Days of Thankful: Day 18

Whoever said these words got it right: “It’s hard to be thankful for something you think you deserve.” The world is full of people who believe that their parents, siblings, school, job, God, or society owe them something.   This can sometimes occur when a person feels they’ve experienced more than their fair share of hardship. Such was not the case with my friend Becky.

No doubt Becky had suffered throughout her life. She had been born with a handicap that left her with a stature of just under 4 feet tall. But I forgot about her disability the minute I met her. Becky’s face was beautiful—but it was her regal grace, her cheerfulness, and her kindness to others that I most remember. I have only a dim memory of her humped back and deformed legs. It was Becky’s inner strength and trust in the Lord left me wanting to know her secret.

I was in my early twenties at the time—just a young bride. Becky was married, too, and well into her forties. This was long before breakthroughs in physical therapy and special accommodations for the disabled would have made life a little easier for her. I couldn’t imagine how she could have grown up with so little self-pity and such a rock solid faith in God. Part of the reason was her thorough knowledge of Scripture—she was one of the best Bible teachers I’ve ever known.

But as I got to know Becky better, I learned that her thankful spirit was also due to the way her wise, godly parents had raised their handicapped daughter. “If my mother and father ever noticed that I didn’t seem thankful for the blessings I had, or if my attitude became selfish, they’d tell me that I must have too many blessings,” she explained with a smile. “So they’d cut back on gifts and privileges for a while until I showed a little more gratitude for what I had.”

I’ve sometimes wondered if God notices when I struggle with being thankful or when I feel entitled. Is He anything like Becky’s wise and loving parents who refused to encourage self-pity in their disabled daughter? Becky’s words have remained with me all these years—I can almost hear her gently warning me not to take the blessings of this life for granted.

No doubt, she’d also point me back to the Bible and remind me to “ rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV).


30 Days of Thankful: Day 14

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

When we’re struggling, it’s hard to be thankful. Sometimes it helps to refocus on God’s big picture. My friend Kris shows how—even in the middle of pain—a shift in perspective can inspire a thankful heart.

GUEST BLOG: Kris McBride

About three weeks ago I received an urgent text requesting prayer for my friend’s 24 year old son who fell 30 feet from a tree. Although he was alive the doctors feared his back was broken. The tests confirmed their fear. He was paralyzed from the waist down. In one brief second his life changed forever.

As my friend delivered the devastating news I was surprised by what she shared. Instead of focusing on all that her son had loss she was thanking God that he did not have any head trauma, had no other broken bones, and the fact that he was alive! She sounded hopeful and optimistic in spite of the difficult circumstances. Instead of focusing on what was wrong she made an intentional effort to shift her perspective to thanking God for the blessings in the situation. This resulted in feelings of gratitude and hope instead of anger and bitterness.

I have found this to be true in my own life. Giving thanks is a proven way to change the attitude of your heart.  When my mom was dying of cancer I was almost overcome by grief. In desperation I called out to God for help. He gave me this thought, “You’ve had a wonderful mom for 26 years, some people never experience that even for a day.” Almost immediately I began thanking God for my mom. It still wasn’t easy to see her pass from this life, but mingled with grief was a peace and joy that came from a heart focused on gratitude.

Giving thanks works well with small issues too. I’m not a fan of housework. I know people who find great joy in keeping their house in order but that is not my natural bent. However, I’ve found that instead of grumbling about the things I don’t like to do I can take the opportunity to use them as triggers to thank God for all the blessings He has given me. It’s amazing how giving thanks shifts my perspective and lifts my spirit.

At times I realize it is quite difficult to give thanks. However, Paul gives us a plan to follow:

  1. Rejoice always
  2. Pray continually

Incorporating these two items into your daily routine helps cultivate a heart of gratitude which gives us the ability to thank God no matter what we are experiencing.

Praying God helps you to see the many things you can thank Him for in your life, no matter your circumstances.