Many of us struggle from time to time with worry. Some of us can be consumed by it. I was drowning in it. I had thought my life was normal. I was newly married, my husband and I were leading the youth group at our small church and I was working. One day I experienced heart palpitations that sent me to the hospital. My world was shaken. I had never prepared myself for death, and I felt very out of control. Soon I became afraid of everything. I even couldn’t sleep at night for weeks. I clung to everyone and everything for help, but nothing consoled me. This episode eventually passed and was followed by a few others. But most of the time I settled into more “normal” worries. Late at night I’d ponder what would happen if I ever got cancer… what if a tornado came… what if something were to happen to my children? I felt overly responsible to control parts of my life that I just couldn’t.
The first thing I learned about worry was that it spreads like a disease. My words were shaping my children’s worldview. If I expressed fear they were likely to feel unsafe and afraid. I began holding my tongue and continued seeking God for more clues in my journey.
A few years later God began speaking to my heart which had grown a bit distant and comfortable to go to Him with my every need. The verse that has been transforming as I have learned to live it is 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.” I began turning worries into prayers. As God began answering prayers, prayer became transforming. I saw that He does indeed care for me. I began to believe the scriptures that God will answer when I ask (John 14:14; 1 John 5:14,15) . His faithfulness was feeding my faith and where it was weak, I would ask Him for more faith.
When we moved to Austin I joined a women’s bible study. Of course, they were teaching on fear! When I heard, “The opposite of fear is faith” it resonated with me. We read Psalm 139 and I realized that God knows the number of my days: the first AND the last. He makes no mistakes. He knows how my life will end and it’s in His perfect timing. Trust was beginning to form in my soul. I rely on a God who knows all, is always working all things together for my good (Romans 8:28) and cared for my needs. Philippians 4:678 says, “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.”
Thanking God every day for whatever I can has also changed my mindset. When I’m thankful, my mind is filled with such better things than worry. There are times, too, when I have to recognize a dangerous thought a “whatif…” or a fear creeping in, and take my thoughts captive. In other words, I put it out of my mind, pray about that concern or just replace the thought with something better.
I now try to fill my children’s minds with faith: reminding them who God is, that He’s in control, He’s good and how much He cares for them. I plant seeds of faith knowing the fruit will be a strong offense against fear.
Not knowing these scriptures and quoting them has helped me, but doing them. It’s easy to become familiar with God’s truths but when we believe, it actually has power to transform us. Faith is believing forming trust in our Father who cares.
I tend to be a planner and I do like to be prepared. But now I do what I can and know that God has really got the rest. I still struggle with anxiety at times I’m wired that way but not the layawakeworryingaboutwhatifs kind of anxiety.
Last week I got a message that my 83 yearold father was in the hospital. I thought, “This is it.” I was overwhelmed with sadness at the reality that this could be the end of his life. I went to pray and was quickly reminded that God’s got this. He knows the number of our days. He is always good. He’s my Father, and I can trust Him.
“I sought the Lord and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.” -Psalm 34:4
Kristen Hotea lives in Austin, Texas; is Mom to Ethan, Marlie and Ivy and a wife to Danny. Her calling is to be a voice and her passion is for God, marriage and parenting. She also is passionate about Moms in Prayer, and would love to help you get connected to pray for your kids and their school. You can contact her at https://twitter.com/KristenHotea and read more at https://texasstuff.wordpress.com