Sunday, April 18, 2010

Be Not Anxious

One thing about us homeschoolers is we are easy targets for anxious thoughts. What is making you anxious? What is the most worrisome thing you face as a homeschooler? 

I’ve heard various answers to these questions from many homeschoolers around the country. Like others, perhaps you have a child that struggles to get his work done. Are you fearful that you’re not covering everything, not doing enough? Perhaps you’re dealing with personality and behavior issues in the home. Maybe you’re struggling with feelings of inadequacy as an educator, a mom, a wife, a person.

Whatever it is, I can promise you God does not want you to be anxious at all about these things. Not only that, He has great instructions for how to overcome the anxiety you face.

First, present everything to God.

We are told, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” 

How often are you bringing the issue before God? I know sometimes I worry and mull over my problems for days, sometimes weeks, dare I say months, before I finally realize I am not truly bringing this issue before God on a regular basis—or ever! 

As many times as I’ve seen God do miracles (big and small) through prayer, you would think I would be in a constant state of prayer over every little thing that pops up. But no, often I think a discouraging, negative thought. Then I let it begin to haunt me—telling me what a failure I am or what a mess I’m making. I eventually accept it as truth and find myself muddling through my days in a state of discouragement and despair, with anxiety my most familiar companion. Emotionally exhausted, I finally realize I’ve been walking on my own and not with God on this issue. Wow. I need to remember to take everything to Him. Every discouraging thought and belief, everything that stirs up anxiety. God has a remedy, but He awaits my request.

Second, present everything with thanksgiving.

I never want to speak on this verse without bringing attention to those enormously significant two words: with thanksgiving

God has a lot to say about thanksgiving, but let’s just sum it up like this: We experience the power of God in our lives when we choose to be thankful in ALL circumstances—and not just thankful for the good, happy thing in that circumstance, but thankful for the struggle itself. 

I never understood how this “thankful in all circumstances” concept worked until I realized years later that those horrid struggles (that at the time I thought were God’s punishment upon my life) were actually the things that grew me, humbled me, and gave me the greatest testimony and maturity as a Christian. They were far more important to my character development, my walk with God, and my ability to be full of peace and joy in all circumstances, than any happy, good thing that happened in my life. Those horrid struggles were gifts. So, yes, we are to be thankful for even the struggles we encounter.

I have rarely seen God deliver me from problems until I chose to be thankful in and for those very problems. He’s true to His Word. In fact, we enter God’s presence with this very tool—thanksgiving! “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, enter his courts with praise!” Psalm 100:4 

Let’s choose to give a sacrifice of praise for that thing with which we struggle. When we do, we will surely find God’s Word is true as, “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

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