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Entries in Anxiety (7)

Tuesday
May122015

Changing the Way We Do Change

Julie Sanders' life is in flux right now with many changes, but in this Spiritual Growth UPGRADE, she explains how she stays grounded.

"One thing is certain about every woman’s life; it will not stay the same," Julie says. "Instead of being tormented by transitions and shaken by shifting seasons, sojourners learn how to change the way we do change."

Having experienced many seasons of unexpected change, I (Dawn) agree with Julie. We need a biblical perspective on change.

Julie continues . . .

Regardless of our time of life, status, or circumstances, we are all positioned for change. You may be coming out of a season of upheaval, in the midst of massive change or getting ready for transition. Still, we are taken by surprise, as if we hoped to escape it.

We fear it. Dread it. Try to avoid it. Yet, it comes.

Change can shake our foundation relationally, emotionally, physically, professionally and spiritually. How can a woman survive the waves without being overturned?

Every woman faces change, because every woman is “a sojourner on the earth” (Psalm 119:19). As someone who lives temporarily in a place, we stay for a time on our earthly home. Our lives reflect that transience in regular transitions.

Revolutions often include our loved ones, bodies, homes, professions and identity. We are sojourners and sojourners face change.

We can approach seismic shifts with three actions when the ground shakes and we feel it deep in our hearts.

1. Hold to what doesn’t change.

The Psalmist leaves no doubt about what deserves our trust:  

"Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens" (Psalm 119:89). 

God’s Word is reliable and unchanging, so we can hold to its truth when evaluating decisions and shaping plans. In God’s inspired Word we find comfort for the raw emotions of upheaval and confidence for boldness to move forward into new territory.

When all else feels foreign and uncertain, God’s Word is familiar and secure.

2. Look to the answers God provides.

Change surprises us, making feelings overflow in hot waves. Our own emotions are hard to trust. Well-meaning voices offer advice, but no one takes the place of our all-wise God who remains the sames.

His word is “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). It helps us sort through opinions and urges.

A job change, geographical relocation, new church or empty nest begs answers from our loving Father. Instead of downcast feelings, we can hope in the God our salvation (Psalm 43:5).

3. Run to God’s plan for you.

Grief, regret and questions often accompany transition, threatening to paralyze the sojourner with an overwhelmed heart. To press on, let lesser things fall away and reach forward to God’s good plan (Jeremiah 29:11). 

Determine not to turn to the left or right (Proverbs 4:27). Instead, when facing opposition or confusion, cry out, “I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!” (Psalm 119:32) 

A sojourner may feel uncertain, opposed or weary on the journey of change, but at those moments, sojourners can take the next right step with a heart that says,

“Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it” (Psalm 119:35).

Know what will not change, look to God’s answers for your feelings, and do what God has marked out for your journey.  

We are sojourners, and sojourners face change.

What change are you experiencing in this season of your life? Are you coming out of, in the midst of, or leading up to a change? How prepared are you to sojourn through it?

Julie Sanders is a sojourner who just moved from the sweet tea South to the desert Northwest. The change collides with gaining an empty nest and leaving a professional ministry she loved. Everything will be different! She is grateful for her unchanging God and His hope-filled plans in a new season. Julie's devotional, Expectant, encourages expectant moms with truth and practical wisdom. Discover more about Julie at her blog.

Thursday
May072015

The Secret to Confident Mothering

Author and speaker Becky Harling impresses me as a woman who makes wise choices, and in this Parenting UPGRADE, she highlights the powerful choice to practice praising God in the home.

“Motherhood is a crazy journey, simultaneously wonderful and terrifying,” Becky says. “I know because I’ve been there.”

I (Dawn) remember those young days of motherhood. I worried about a lot of things when my boys were little. I wish I'd had someone like Becky to whisper words of peace to my heart.

Becky continues . . .

I’ve raised four kids and now have five grandchildren. While I enjoyed much of my parenting journey, I struggled with a lot of anxiety. There were days when I wondered if I would lose my mind or, worse, if I would mess up their minds.

I lived in fear that, because of me, my kids might have to spend thousands of dollars on therapy! A therapist friend of mine has a pillow siting on the couch in her office that says, “If it’s not one thing, it’s your Mother!” 

Well, into my parenting journey, I began a new spiritual practice that not only enhanced my relationship with God, but it also made me a more confident mother and strengthened my relationships with my children.

I began the practice right after being diagnosed with cancer.

If anything throws a curve ball into your parenting, it’s cancer. As I was grappling with the severity of that diagnosis, a friend challenging me,

“Becky, will you praise God for twenty minutes a day even as you walk through cancer?” 

Initially, I thought that was a lame idea! I mean honestly, I didn’t exactly feel like jumping up and down shouting, “Hallelujah, I’m facing a double mastectomy.” But, after considering my options, I decided to take my friend’s challenge. What I experienced radically changed my life.

I began INTENTIONALLY praising God daily for what He was doing in my kids’ lives and in mine.

I praised Him that cancer wasn’t catching Him off guard and that I could trust Him with our family’s future.

Trust me, there were moments when I didn’t feel like it! But as I continued, I learned that praising God isn’t just some glib hallelujah when finances are prospering, your health is flourishing, and your family is thriving.

Praising God is the intentional declaration by faith that exalts God above your life circumstances.

  • I praised God for His sovereign control over the lives my children.
  • I exalted Him that He loved my kids even more than I did.
  • I worshipped Him as the Almighty One who was able to do beyond what I could even imagine in the lives of my kids.

As I continued, I began to notice changes. God’s presence came close and calmed my fears. My kid’s faith grew deeper and relationships grew stronger. Most of all my anxiety lessened. 

I believe this is what the Apostle Paul was getting at when he wrote,

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

From a human perspective, there are many things to worry about as a mother. But I believe with all my heart, if you will choose to praise God above your fears, your anxiety will diminish and peace will replace panic.

What do you worry most about in your mothering journey? How might praising God diminish that anxiety?

Becky Harling. Authentic. Passionate. Funny. Insightful. Becky is a frequent speaker at conferences, retreats, and other venues. She is the author of Rewriting Your Emotional Script, Freedom from Performing, The 30 Day Praise Challenge and The 30 Day Praise Challenge for Parents. Becky is married to Steve Harling and has four adult kids and five grandkids. Visit her website and blog!

Graphic adapted from an image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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