As we leave the season of thanksgiving behind us, I am still pondering on the things I am thankful for in life. Of course, the most commonly referenced come to mind: family, health, etcetera, and I am very thankful for those things. But I’ve been trying to wrap my head around giving thanks in ALL things as commanded in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In EVERYthing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
I was born into a fallen world and surrounded by people in a fallen world (Romans 5:12). As a result, I have learned horrible habits for dealing with perceived stress. I do one of two things when presented with an uncomfortable situation. I either completely excuse myself from the anxiety-provoking situation alienating myself from people and the opportunity for relationship, or I let the feeling of fear, in the form of total panic, compel me to fight back with an unnecessarily mean quip that sets people on their heels. Both have the same result: alienation from people.
Neither of those options allow me to trust Christ to guide me. Neither option allows me to stop, let the adrenaline of fear pass through me, and stand to know that God is with me, and I am sufficient. I am worthy, not by my action, but because I am His creation. I may and probably will give the wrong answer, but as long as I trust Christ, He will continue to work in me to become a new person refined by the two-edged sword of truth.
Each day, I must choose if I want to represent Him or myself. When I represent myself, I am a selfish, argumentative, and a miserably demeaning person. When I choose to represent Him and His love, I have peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:6-8). I don’t let the current circumstances control me, but I see them as an opportunity to bind myself with Him and His mission to bring redemption in a fallen world. Christ gave us free will, and with that opportunity, comes a choice: me or Him.
Through my anxiety, I’ve learned that Christ is still there for me. It doesn’t matter how broken I feel. He is unchanging (Hebrews 13:8) and willing to meet me where I am at the moment. He doesn’t embrace and accept my sin, but He embraces me and works to refine me. So yes, I am thankful for ALL things including my anxiety and fear. For without it, I tend to think I can navigate life on my own. I reverence the created over the creator (Romans 1:25). Anxiety reminds me of my fragility and the need for God and His love.
It takes faith to go down either path: (1) Christ has me or (2) I can take care of myself. And the reality is that I can’t convince anyone to believe me and trust Him. Each of us make a step of faith to choose what we believe and then walk it out. We get to see, feel, and embrace the consequences of those actions. Then we can choose to keep walking that path or adjust and set a new path. Me personally, I pray that you choose Christ, because for me, He is the only person that has been able to provide a life free of anxiety and filled with love for others as He has shown us. That is so much better than bitterness, anger, self-doubt, and alienation from the people around me.
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
— Written by Kati
Romans 5:12 – “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
Philippians 4:6-8 – “(6) Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (8) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Hebrews 13:8 – “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”
Romans 1:20-25 – “(20) For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (21) Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (22) Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, (23) And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. (24) Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: (25) Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”
Joshua 24:15 – “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”