Does worry tend to steal your awareness of awe and wonder? Me too. It creates reverberating ripples of anxiety which eat away at our confidence and erode joy. We forget to look up and be amazed at the ordinary-extraordinary.
A lot of the time I remain blissfully unaware I am worrying, putting my stress down to profound fatigue and illness, until one more unwanted thing happens and I blow it all out of proportion.
Worry and anxiety reveal we’re probably not fully trusting God with everything, so accustomed have we become at coping alone. They also indicate failure to take our cares and concerns to Him immediately in prayer.
During this Advent season, when the words love, hope, joy and peace are frequently on our minds, it’s hard to admit to not always feeling that way as we write or speak. We soon realise we won’t find peace in possessions, presents, a lack of pressing problems or a checked off ‘To Do’ list, but we will find lasting peace in the person of Jesus.
How can we achieve inner peace and joy when there’s so much for us to potentially worry about? Worries will only wear us out unless we learn to discern, prioritise, pray, be patient, delegate and rest.
It begins with honest awareness and confession, then looking to see where our major focus lies. For instance, I don’t have to fixate for long on my physical pain before it feels more intrusive and overwhelming than before.
What our hearts and minds focus on most will tend to define our days. Allowing our souls to become saturated with worry and stress is a surefire way to lose our peace and happiness. Our bodies seize up tense with anxiety and fear, hearts beat faster and breath becomes rapid and shallow. It’s not healthy to stay in a state of heightened adrenaline, or we risk burnout.
But if we seek to focus most on God’s daily grace gifts instead, remind ourselves of His wonderful provision for our every need, His utter faithfulness, trustworthiness and deeply loving care, then we can assist ourselves to rest and relax while dealing with our current circumstances.
What helps to restore calm is to saturate our souls with Scripture instead of stress, and take several small, deliberate pause moments throughout the day, where we slow our breathing down, still our racing thoughts and turn our hearts toward God in contemplation and listening prayer.
We can learn to establish a life rhythm that makes room for interruptions (holy and otherwise) and creates space for sensing grace. We can better witness God’s hand at work in the everyday, His breath of Life giving us renewed hope and strength each morning.
We can find a way to breathe freely again, because we trust in God and His constant care, rest in His love and pursue the peace which only He can give, the sustaining grace He offers for every difficulty we may encounter.
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will displace worry at the centre of your life” ~ Philippians 4:6-7 The Message
How do you find peace when worries pervade? I’d love to hear in the comments below.
Here’s a link to a book on rhythms of rest that has helped me a lot as I’ve implemented its practices. And here is a prayer you can pin and share…
It’s so hard not to worry though, isn’t it, Joy? It’s hard to surrender all our cares into God’s all-capable hands. I’m so grateful God is so patient with us. This is so true and something I am learning, step by step – “But if we seek to focus most on God’s daily grace gifts instead, remind ourselves of His wonderful provision for our every need, His utter faithfulness, trustworthiness and deeply loving care, then we can assist ourselves to rest and relax while dealing with our current circumstances.” His love is steadfast, and He will never abandon us, no matter what happens in our lives. Love and hugs to you!
Oh yes, I struggle with worry far more than I care to admit, though the physical signs are a dead giveaway! It seems to be intrinsic to the human condition. We have every reason to be grateful for God’s patient forbearance in the face of our unfounded fears and multiple anxieties. And this makes all the difference in the world: “His love is steadfast, and He will never abandon us, no matter what happens in our lives.” Amen, Trudy! May you sense His loving companionship bringing the oil of joy and the banner of His peace to prevail in this season of extra busyness. Love and hugs to you too! xox ❤
“May we be people who still their souls.” Oh,Joy, this is so timely for me. God spoke these same thoughts to me, as the word “stillness” became my #OneWordAdvent for this week. I love how God keeps confirming His Words to us, that He is encouraging us to move forward in holding our hearts out to Him. Only He knows how to carry those fears for us. I agree with Trudy–it’s hard to surrender our cares into God’s Hands! But His Hands are absolutely the only safe place to carry them. Your words and your heart are such a blessing to me, dear friend! Hugs! xoxo
Praise God for words coming just when you needed to read them! I sensed an atmosphere of peace and stillness at your beautiful blog. It seems like God is already at work in your previously fretful heart. Having also popped over to read Bonnie’s post via the link you provided, I am still seeking my #OneWordAdvent for this week, though I have a sneaky feeling it might be one I am resisting i.e ‘rest’! It’s so hard to take the break we truly need sometimes. Bettie, your faithful prayers, keen following, sweet friendship and beautiful encouragement are such a gift to me. Blessings, hugs and love to you! xoxo
It is so good to read and sit here with your words for a bit. You share such wisdom about worrying and anxiety. As much as I would like to think I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself, God is teaching me that I need Him for everything. In this season of preparing and making room in our hearts for Jesus I am finding that I can easily get anxious. It is a place I don’t want to be but in those times of complete brokenness the one person I can rely on is God.
Your words not only speak to me but are whispers of truth and promises I can hold onto as I learn a new normal without both of my parents this holiday season. Love and hugs friend!
Mary, it is SO good to see you here and even better to hear how you’ve been blessed by this post. Sorry to say, I am failing to keep up with reading many blogs in this season of extra stress and busyness, but I hope to stop by your place soon. Oh how I can relate to your words here: “God is teaching me that I need Him for everything” and the necessary surrender that is required. May you hold onto “whispers of truth and promises” from God which lift and encourage your heart to take even more brave steps of faith in the year ahead. It’s really hard to do Christmas when we have lost loved ones. My heart goes out to you as you strive to maintain a sense of joy and peace while feeling the ache of things being far from “normal” for all of you this year. Love, hugs and prayers winging their way across the pond to you, dear friend! ❤
“Does worry tend to steal your awareness of awe and wonder?… We forget to look up and be amazed at the ordinary-extraordinary.” This reminds me of the post I just read from my friend Esther Emery. She talks about being outside, standing in the snow and looking up at the trees. I remembered that it always helps me to go outside and look up at the sky and trees and be in awe of the wonder. It’s true when we focus on ourselves and our problems they get blown out of proportion, but when we look up our whole outlook changes.
Blessings to you, dear Joy! You have blessed me today. xo
Gayl, I sometimes read Esther Emery’s blog as well. It’s usually chock full of good godly things! We don’t have snow here yet, do you? Speaking of the great outdoors, I find if I get tense it helps to either look out a window for a while and catch clouds skimming by, or try to get outside in our tiny garden for a few minutes of sky watching. Our perspective on life definitely changes when we look up. Maybe it’s because the vastness of sky reminds us of how small our cares are in context of the heavens, or that our problems seem to shrink by way of comparison. Thank you for inspiring me to consider these things more deeply. I love it when you stop by, dear friend! xo
Worries can truly derail us if we give them that power – they can take on a life of their own. I love your perspective to diminish their power by turning out thoughts on God and His word – by focusing on His nature and goodness. His power and ability is so much greater. Lovely encouragement today, Joy!
Tiffany, in trying to diffuse worries and put our focus onto God instead, the key thing is just as you share with these words: “by focusing on His nature and goodness. His power and ability is so much greater.” Amen, my friend! Thank you so much for adding to the conversation here. I love it when you stop by! God bless you. xo
Love image ‘ What helps to restore’ I needed this reminder to stop and breathe,
Hello Leslie, thank you so much for visiting. It’s good to meet you! I think we can all use a reminder to stop and breathe, can’t we? Especially in the middle of extra busyness. May you be able to find small pockets of time to sit quietly before the Lord and just be still. Words aren’t always necessary, because He already knows our every concern and worry. I’m praying for you, friend. God bless you.
I so agree with you Joy. The only way to worry-free existence is through the word of God and His grace. Thank you. Blessings to you!
Thanks for stopping by, Mari-Ann, it’s good to see you here! Sorry it’s taken me a few days to reply. I’ve had some host server issues to sort out and they made this blog inaccessible for a while. Blessing to you, friend, and thank you for your patience! 🙂 x