Tuesday, February 11, 2014

How to Defeat Worry

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deut 31:6 NIV"

We are all worrywarts at heart. Will I pass the test? How am I going to get this promotion? Are our children safe? Questions of success and safety swirl in our brains. To some giving in to worry is cardinal for a lack in faith. For others we are simply sinners doing our best to remain faithful.

For me, this supposedly joyous experience of pregnancy was crushed and overshadowed with doubt when I lost our first pregnancy to miscarriage. I knew that this happened but I had never known anyone firsthand who had experienced it so this wasn’t a huge concern to me. Turns out, no one talks about it so first-timers don’t realize just how frequently it happens. “It,” such an insensitive term to use here. I lost a baby, WE lost a baby.

When I should have been jumping up and down with glee at the sight of our second set of blue lines, I remained reserved. I had already been burned. A week later when my doctor told me that my hormone levels were so low that I should prepare to head to the ER for an ectopic pregnancy, I gave into the fact that I would be just another statistic. “Repeat pregnancy losses” would forever stain my file at the doctor’s office.

But something happened, a miracle. I TURNED AWAY FROM WORRY AND TURNED TOWARDS GOD. I felt hopeless, but that didn’t matter. It couldn’t. After all this is NOT my plan, it is HIS.

I remembered some advice I had once received that we too often just beg God for help instead of actually holding him accountable during prayer. Hear me out… God has promised us so many wonderful things and it even says in his Word that we should pray through petition. We need to hold him accountable for all that he has promised to us.

This verse changed my life:

The first thing I did was fervently thank God for blessing us with another sweet little life. I gave all of the glory to him. Secondly I presented my concerns to Him. I begged him to hold this little baby in his hands and allow the baby to keep growing and developing. I begged against all odds. And lastly, and most importantly, knowing the promises he has granted us, I petitioned him to follow through.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11 NIV"

Knowing that his plans are for us to prosper, my prayer went a little like this, “God I know that you have promised to prosper and not to harm me, I know that you will always follow through with your word. God I ask that you give me faith to believe in my heart that this baby has hope and a future.” Now whatever it is that you are worrying about, of course change your wording to fit your concern. I also knew that God knows us even while we are in our mother’s womb. I mentioned this to God and prayed that he knew my little baby and the plans that he had for this child, specifically plans for a life in which our child would be pleasing to God’s purpose. I begged him to have a plan for this sweet baby’s life that would be a life of loving God and sharing his word.

I felt so full after praying this to God, often times I would cry the whole time. I would cry, scream, beg, sing, be silent, etc. No one, not even my husband knows this, until now. I would get to work early and sit in my car, singing songs of praise and petitioning God. As soon as I got in the car after work I would talk only to Him. I was a prayer warrior, something that we should be everyday!

Little by little my faith increased. Each day went by and although any twinge of pain sent me into a spiral of worry, I kept talking to God. I made sure to thank God for another day carrying this child. I was given medicine by my doctor and with held breaths; my husband and I watched as at the 6-week and 8-week ultrasounds, there was a strong, precious heartbeat waiting for us. Even when we had concerns about the length of my cervix, God gave me peace and our ultrasound showed no signs that we should worry. Now at 20 weeks, we have a healthy, active little girl. Hardly a shadow of doubt or worry cross my mind anymore. I continue to pray this way. God has delivered what I have so ardently prayed for.

How can you defeat worry? I don’t claim to have all of the answers but this advice was given to me by a very Godly person one time and I promise that if you follow this prayer method, the prayers alone will give you peace.

1.    Contemplate your concerns and research specific verses that pertain to what you are going through. Write them down. Do not type them, put them in your handwriting. I have about 10 verses on worry that I carried around in my back pocket; I now have them memorized. Anytime that you let worry creep in, take a breath and read the word of God that you have copied down.

2.   Pray. A lot. You cannot expect one prayer to yield results, if this is something you want, you have to put in the work to show God how important it is to you.

3.   When you pray, start by thanking God. We don’t do this near enough. Thank him for your life, the blessings you have received and specifically for the opportunity that you are currently experiencing. You need to realize that none of this would be possible without him.
"I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth." -- Psalm 121
4.   Present your concerns and worries to God. He knows your heart but it is necessary to bring these directly to him. You need to pray passionately. Lend your heart and mind ONLY to him.

5.   Most importantly, realize the promises that he has made to you through his word (through those bible verses you now carry in your back pocket) and present them to God as a part of your “argument.” You should petition God and hold him accountable. Prayer isn’t just a begging session; God is our Lord, our Judge, and our confidant. Confide in him and ask him to deliver on his word.

6.   Realize that it is true what they say, “nothing makes God laugh more than when you make a plan.” We are not in charge of our lives, in fact, we gave that right up to him when we asked him into our hearts. And thank goodness we did. How wonderful is it to have someone PERFECT planning our life? If you pray hard enough, although you may not get the result you were planning on, God will give you PEACE and PROSPER through the best avenue possible.

This is how I defeated worry. This isn’t how I got my way. I am living in God’s way. Through this prayer method my faith grew and peace consumed my heart. Just as it says above, God gave me a peace that transcended all understanding. 

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