Breathe Out and Breathe In. Peace.
I suppose Anxiety has been a theme in my life lately (see Roller coaster blog). But now, God is showing me the true meaning of peace-- the conquerer of anxiety.
Merriam Dexter describes anxiety this way:
One of my friends once passed along a summary of a homily (homily= Catholic version of a sermon), where the main point was that anxiety is an action. 'Its something you do, not something that is done to you.'
For me- when I hear that, I am encouraged that I can change...that I can 'just NOT be anxious,'
but later, I am again dismayed to find that anxiety often comes without my consent. I don't FEEL in control of it...I don't even FEEL like it's me DOING anything at all. And if its not God, and it doesn't feel like me, then wouldn't it have something to do with Satan? (after all, he IS the master of fear... or as Dexter says "fearful concern").
And that is what brings me to my life lately.
Last month, I was seeking where I should be this summer...and I got an unexpected answer.
I got an answer that I probably wouldn't choose normally, but I thought that if God was for it, then I was for it.
Through all of my self doubts and doubts about money, I pushed through and made plans. I desperately wanted to follow Him (and I still do!)
Anxiety flooded my body. I have failed to describe it in any other way- it was overwhelming and...actually- impressive on Satan's part. How could a feeling have such a paralyzing effect on me? It felt like an infection...and it spread to a constant and consistent bitterness/confusion combo.
Yet I pushed through.
Anxiety is something SATAN causes and uses. My thinking is that Satan gives anxiety when He doesn't want something. It makes sense to me. Why would Satan make it easy to do go forward with something that glorifies the Lord? He wouldn't...and if he can make you anxious, he will.
Knowing that, I pushed on.
BUT I never had peace about the summer. I didn't understand.
Last night, it all came together...the key to this was that Satan doesn't know the future.
Thats something God tells us (Isaiah 44:7- Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come-- yes, let him foretell what will come.)
Because Satan doesn't know the future, he will attack things which sound like they will bring God glory (or the most glory).
But He doesn't actually know God's intended step...only God does. So when Satan attacks us with anxiety, it means that, TO SATAN'S KNOWLEDGE, our idea seems like something that would threaten him.
So if Satan attacks every good idea with anxiety, why we don't feel anxious with many God-glorifying actions?
Last week, my friend Margo was talking to me about her spring break mission trip. God has provided for her: with finances and with peace. She feels so light and UN-anxious about it, when just a few months ago, she felt completely anxious about another trip. Her spoken wisdom was that she didn't feel peace before, and now she does...so she "should have known" that this spring break trip was the one that she was supposed to go on.
Her words were truth, but how? How did anxiety not grow? Wasn't Satan threatened?
And here's what matters: GOD GIVES PEACE.
Its one of the fruits of the spirit, and it makes sense, but God has opened my eyes to the depth and beauty of peace this week.
Satan doesn't know the future, and therefore he will attack many things that seem to be right. But God, who KNOWS what is right, will give PEACE to the path He wants. I always thought that "I didn't have peace about it" was an excuse to be comfortable, but -as Margo showed me- thats not the case. Peace is crucial. Many times, I have been seeking Satan's attack as the 'green light.' But it shouldn't be.
Because God is the all-knowing one, I want to wait for His peace.
I want for it to be my "green light," and I want to have faith that God will give that peace when I am supposed to move forward.
I want to trust that the peace Jesus gives is greater than the anxiety Satan uses. If Jesus wants you to feel peaceful over the intensity of Satan's anxiety, you will.
I've realized through this long month of trying to fight anxiety, that God WILL rid that ugly pit in my stomach if He wants that certain path. His peace seems to be the seal of approval, and what a blessing!!
As for me and my summer plans, I think the timing was different than I expected (the "what" and "where" may have been right, so maybe I'll just listen more for the "when"), but if God has told me that I am supposed to go eventually, He will give me peace in His timing. Until then, I get to live in peace wherever I am. PRAISE Him! Also, if we get it wrong...if we follow a path that isn't ideal, we can trust God to correct it.