You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Is 26:3).
So this week Lorraine Hill is discussing unforgiveness and Jill Briscoe is discussing worry. On Tuesdays I try to add to our study of Reclaiming Your Joy (Lorraine Hill) by discussing a chapter from Heartstrings: Finding a Song When You’ve Lost Your Joy (Jill Briscoe). I thought this would be the first week that I couldn’t find a way to draw the two books together but God made a way when He gave me the scripture above. I had just been thinking of the verse and trying to remember the reference, when I opened the bible reader on my phone and it was there! Next I opened today’s chapter in Heartstrings and it was there, at the top of a page – there are no accidents! Immediately, I saw the connection between worry and unforgiveness. I realized that worry is holding on to fear and unforgiveness is holding onto anger (resentment and bitterness). God wants us to hold on to Him instead. He promises to keep us in perfect peace if we (1) keep our mind on Him and (2) trust in Him. Keeping our minds on Him is a discipline. Worry and unforgiveness crowd God out of our minds when they dominate our thought-life. Fear and anger (which drive worry and unforgiveness) can consume our thoughts, whether we are fretting over all the bad things that could happen or rehashing a conflict that already has happened. Sometimes those thoughts are uppermost in our minds and other times they are just lingering there, in the background, ready to spring up when we least expect it. On the other hand, filling our minds with God will not leave any room for fear or anger. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things (Phil 4:6-8). We must choose the content of our thought life. To whom will we open the door of our heart and mind? “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Rev 3:20).
Trusting God is a discipline as well. We all want to feel better about things…to not feel afraid or not feel angry. I have tried waiting around for my feelings to change; it doesn’t work. It’s like trying to watch paint dry. The only relief I have found for my busy mind (preoccupied at times with both fearful and angry thoughts) is to acknowledge that God is in control of my life, and He is good. The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love (Ps 103:8). When I remember to trust in His goodness, I am reminded that He has a purpose for me in everything. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Eph 2:10). I cannot get sidetracked from that purpose. In a fearful situation, God has a job for me to do – that is why I am in it. With a difficult person, God has given me a ministry to carry out for Him, that is why they are in my life. Instead of thinking of my feelings, I try to think I God’s plan and how I can be a part of it. When I do this, it really helps. When I give in to my feelings, I am lost.
Isaiah prophesied that our Savior would say: The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners (Is 61:1). Jesus died to free us from the sins of worry and unforgiveness. He came to take away our fears and to heal our wounds so we could be equipped to minister on His behalf. We must choose Him daily in order to fulfill His purposes for us. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer (Ps 19:14).
JustaGirl…just like you