Refusing to Drown in Worry| By Zuzana Niedelová

You know that feeling when everything just works out, God is providing and you don’t have to worry too much about anything? That genuine happiness and thankfulness for all that you have?

That is what I felt, or at least, what I thought I felt. When people asked how I was doing, I would talk about the great job I have, or my ministry that is going so well. I would say I had an assurance of knowing I am in the right place even though not everything is perfect, and of God’s guidance and peace.

I truly meant all that I said, but I had not yet realized there was more to everything that I had not yet seen.

It was only when my mentor mentioned something small that he noticed and valued about me that I could not hold back the tears. It was in that moment that I realized there was something more, something deeper that I was holding back not only from others but from myself as well.

I realized I felt unappreciated, overlooked, undervalued, not known or wanted by anyone and most of all lonely. As if it that is not enough, God revealed even more; He showed me I was also hiding this from Him too. I did not want to disappoint Him after He gave me so much! I felt like I had to be thankful for all I have and hopeful for what is coming.

It was unacceptable in my mind to not enjoy my life after being brought to a stream while wandering in the desert. I knew what I needed to do – God had been teaching me this for a long time. I had to be honest with Him and to know He loves to hear how I am and what my desires are. So there I was, kneeling in front of God, crying my eyes out, and telling Him all about how I felt. I did not know what was to come, but once again, I trusted that He has me in His hands.

To be honest, not much has changed. I am still insecure about my future in my job. I still long for seeing more growth in my ministry. I still miss having close friends who live at least in the same country, and I am desperate for the freedom to be myself without being misunderstood or judged by everyone.

However, one thing has changed. I am no longer alone for all this. I have my good Father by my side who is ready to fight for me, to take care of me and to give me everything I need even if it is not exactly what I asked for.

With God, we have the freedom to feel our feelings whatever they might be. Freedom to come to Him with everything that we are and pour our hearts out to Him because only He knows how to turn our worries into blessings and our battles into praise.

A while ago, God gave me a picture of me drowning in deep waters, gasping for air between the currents pulling me down and letting me go again and hopelessly reaching out for someone – anyone to take me out. Right after, there was a different picture. I was enjoying a gentle rain coming down on me during a hot summer day. Every one of us desires that rain that comes in just the right moment, so refreshing and joy bringing. Drowning, however, is not so pleasant at all.

God does not want us to drown in the worries this life brings. He wants to refresh us with the water but by His own terms not ours. He wants it to be life-bringing and easy. Although the outcome of drowning and the rain is the same (you’re soaking wet), the process makes a difference between death and life.

Maybe your desires are good and Godly, but if we try to force the blessings to come into our lives, if we try to do it all alone, if we pretend we are alright and if we deny our need for God, we are willingly jumping into the deep waters, willingly drowning just for the sake of getting to that water.

God invites us into a deep relationship with Him. In this relationship we can be real and open without any fear of judgement or disappointment. He invites us to look up to Him first and to trust Him that He will let the water come down in just the right time and in the right form, that will not be harmful but will bring us life in all its fullness.

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)

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Being Still in the Midst of Anxiety| By Jasmine Beard

Heart pounding, thoughts going a mile a minute, scared, terrified for no apparent reason.

I was 18 when I had my last major panic attack. I was leaving college and was headed on my way home when I was hit with sheer panic and confusion. It may have been 8 years ago, but I still remember my thoughts directly after the incident. I thought:

“what’s wrong with me?”

“What is this?”

“Will it happen again?”

“What if something really bad happens when/if it happens again?”

If you cannot tell, I was a bit of a worrier at that age, and if I am not careful, I can still go into a cycle of worrying, fear and eventual panic attacks. I like order, plans, and control, but life is simply not predictable.

Honestly, anxiety makes sense in our world because of the sheer pressure we put on ourselves and on other people. My days are filled with ever ending lists, juggling jobs, ministry, bills, starting a non-profit organization, trying to maintain a normal social life for a 20-something  year-old woman, and much much more, but I will spare you.

On top of all of our ever growing to-do lists, throw in unplanned life happenings, and it can turn some of us into the biggest worrywarts and anxiety-ridden folks. I cannot tell you the amount of acquaintances, coworkers, friends, and relatives I know who battle anxiety on a regular if not on a daily basis.

One day recently in the midst of my ever growing lists and unforeseen situations, I heard the Holy Spirit whispering to my heart for a slower pace and for a season of rest.

If you are anything like me, you cringe when you hear that word. I cringe not because I do not want to rest (because trust me, I really do, like really.) But my question was, how?!

How was I supposed to rest when my world was spinning? That’s when Psalms 46:10 began to ring in my ear, it says:

“Be still and know that I am God…” Psalms 46:10 (ESV)

I have always loved this passage of scripture, but up until recently, I have never dug deep into the meaning of this.

Most of us have heard this scripture before. Maybe when you read it you picture yourself waiting quietly and expectantly waiting for a whisper from Heaven. Although that is not a bad thing, when we dig deeper into this scripture we learn that the Hebrew root of be still is not “to be quiet”, but rather “to let go”.

This may sound crazy if you are a planner, a doer, and maybe even a worrier like me. Even with knowing scriptures like “who has ever added a day to their life by worrying? (Matthew 6:27)”, I still find that worry can be my initial reaction instead of faith.

Maybe you feel like that today. You worry about the big stuff and even the little things that maybe do not matter as much. I want to encourage you to let go of your anxieties and worries and place them into the hands of your Heavenly Father.

It is all little stuff to Him and fails in comparison to how BIG our God is.

So let’s position in our hearts to be still and to know…..

To know that God is making a way for that light bill to be payed.

To know God is making a way for your baby to be healed.

To know God is making a way for you to get that raise at work.

To know that God is making a way for YOU.

He is making a way that allows you to let go of every anxiety, worry, and pain, and for you to trust Him at His word that “He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

Remember that God is walking through every step of life with you holding your hand, longing to carry your burdens and guide your every step. Let go of the pressure you place on yourself. You are not called to carry the weight of your burdens one little bit. Just let go and know that God is trustworthy and faithful to work all of our anxieties out all on His own if we just trust Him.

“Many put their hope in chariots, others in horses, but we place our trust in the name of the Eternal One, our True God.” Psalms 20:7 (Voice)