Living in a time when hatred and shifting blame have become the “new normal”, the world has become an increasingly dark and scary place. The effect in the Counseling Room has been a marked increase of Clients struggling with anxiety coupled with hopelessness. Many who come say, “The Bible tells us, ‘Do not be anxious,’ but how can I NOT be anxious in such perilous times?”
The following are some of the things we discuss in the Counseling Room to address this very timely question:
1. We talk about how the world can be a dangerous place and how Jesus had first-hand knowledge of that. The writer of Hebrews 12:2,3 helps us appreciate this:
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners,
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
We need to acknowledge that the world CAN BE a very frightening place. God calls us not to be naive about the dangers around us, but to walk daily in obedient faith. As we do He enables us live for, love and serve Him in trusting obedience.
2. We talk about how God calls His children to come to Him with our fears as our Shepherd and God of Hope.
“Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden.
Take My yoke upon you and LEARN FROM ME,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.”
Matthew 11:28, 29
3. Living in a time when there is a lot of anger and finger pointing as to who’s responsible for the explosion of hatred being manifested around us, it is tempting to become caught up in shifting blame. But as followers of Jesus, we have an obligation to resist blame shifting (be it in our personal relationships or in the world around us) as we determine to follow Him:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘
Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
But I tell you, love your enemies and
pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good,
and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
The commitment to honor Christ as we pray for our enemies is what insulates us from being overwhelmed by anger and hatred ourselves. Such a practice (speaking from personal experience), is both humbling and freeing as we are helped to look at ourselves and the world around us with His eyes. Only then do we become teachable and experience His peace–even in the midst of trials:
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
Isaiah 1:18-20 (ESV)
How can we put all of this into practice? Here is a two-part answer::
A. By maintaining the discipline of giving thanks to God through the process of doing their Journey Notes:**
“Thank You God that, no matter how I feel, I am never alone.
Thank You for Your love and mercy.
Thank You for the hope of spending eternity with You . . .
As one Client said this week, “Doing my praises helps me keep fear from taking over my thoughts.” It is as we give thanks to God to for His loving provision despite our fears, that humility and hope lighten our hearts.
B. By asking God to help us guard our hearts using this simple tool: The Triangle Illustration.** (I know it’s an odd name but when you look at it you will understand.) It helps to identify who (or what) is influencing our perceptions. Is it fear or anger? Personal desires or a desire to please others?
If it is anything less than God,
it is an Idol and needs to be confessed as sin.
The blessing is that when we put God in His rightful place,
He strengthens and guides our every step.
No matter what you may be facing, give thanks to God that you are not alone. Give thanks for His love and mercy displayed on the Cross as you follow His lead every step of the way . . .❤️
All to His Glory!
**See top of this post to access.