Our church has been going through a series out of the book of Philippians. My mentor and I were reflecting on how awesome the messages have been. She told me that she was actually reading through Philippians on her own at home as well. She is pretty darn wise, so I thought I’d copy her and crack it open and read it for myself.
This morning I opened up to chapter 4 and only made it through the first 7 verses. I have been praying daily that I would be sensitive to the spirit’s presence in my life. The last couple of months have been difficult for me and some days I lose the heavenly perspective.
Read with me Philippians 4:4-7: 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I don’t know how many of you have dealt with or are currently dealing with anxiety, but it is unfortunately something that I have struggled with for the last 7 1/2 years. It can be paralyzing. I find that it gets triggered when I lose all control of a situation. Since I don’t have much control of anything, my breathing exercises have become second nature. Thankfully, I know myself well enough that I can tell when the anxiety is building in me. I know to take a breather, put on some worship music, and call out to Jesus.
I think because this season is difficult, it is fueling my prayers to be sensitive and aware of the spirit’s presence. There is a desperation for my heart and mind to be guarded or else they can completely derail me, allowing anxiety to take over. Making me less present and available for my husband, my kids, and my community. I am not willing to be derailed again, so I am willing to do whatever it takes to guard my heart and mind, keep a heavenly perspective, and be the best possible wife, mom, and friend possible.
So, as I read through those verses they jumped out of the page. I literally turned around to Jason with my eyes bulging out of my head. “Jason!! The secret ingredient!! I found it!!” He humored my dramatic response to hear me out. Such a good man 🙂 “With thanksgiving, present your requests to God, AND the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds.” Wait, what?! Peace comes and anxiety goes with a heart of gratitude?? I immediately started making a list of all of the things I am thankful for that directly related to the areas of my life that have been so difficult for me. Instantaneously, I had a joy overcome my being. I sent out a text to several people telling about them the secret ingredient to peace and challenged each and every one of them to text me 5 things they were thankful for. They all cooperated and as the text messages came in I couldn’t help but smile and soak in God’s presence. The gratitude that they all felt for their individual lives blessed me and brought me peace. Gratitude is contagious.
I have had a great day today. A day full of peace, joy, and complete gratitude because of the way God spoke to my heart and encouraged and inspired me. It is supernatural. None of my circumstances changed, but my heart and mind did.
I want this for you. I want for you to be able to walk through your life, not weary or discouraged, but hopeful and encouraged. If you can take even just 5 minutes right now and jot down 5 things you are thankful for, you will sense the shift in your attitude. So, grab your phone and use your “note” app or grab a pen and paper and do this exercise! I promise, there is power in an attitude of gratitude!