Calm Through the Storm

Well it’s finally here. Today is the Monday before Halloween (Unless of course you are reading this early here!). The kids will walk around your neighborhood in the costumes they are proud of, candy will be consumed in vast quantities, and many laughs after frights will be had. My family loved Halloween, at my old church the kids had a fall festival my mom put on and I would work hard on a costume with my dad. Things like, a guy in a shower, a laundry basket, or garbage bag (all were real, and all were epic). The past week has been kinda crazy. My life has started going a million miles an hour, and stress has started to build. I’m stepping into new roles, and balancing several things on my plate. On a Tuesday I had a rough day. I struggle with anxiety, fears put in my head that tell me I’m not doing enough or that I’m not good enough. On Tuesday I had a pretty rough anxiety attack, the whole day my mind was constantly racing, worrying about my role and place in the world, I was afraid that I wasn’t doing all that I should, I was worried that people hated me, and I was afraid of countless scenarios that aren’t even possible. It didn’t make sense, but it makes sense now. I had fear in my heart, doing all it could to convince me I wasn’t who God made me to be.

But fear is from the devil, and the devil is a stupid liar.

I guess it sort of makes sense, this past month I’ve been writing on the topic of fear and how we can fight it. I got hit with a wave of fear because I was fighting the devil back with scripture and truth. It’s kinda like asking the Lord for patience and being put in places where our patience is tested. I was put in a place where fear attacked me, and I was fighting alone. I didn’t immediately turn to God and cry out to him, but because of that, I suffered. My mind went all over the place. The reason I’m talking about this, is because this is a very real thing you might be facing. Whether you deal with anxiety or not, we have all had moments like this, storms that test us. Moments in life where our faith is put to the test. To tell you the truth, it wasn’t until late that Tuesday night that I cried out. We aren’t perfect, I for sure am not perfect, but the thing is, we have to press into the Lord in moments of struggle. We need an authentic faith in order to have a calm through the storm.

Know who you are.

This is a necessary thing in any situation you may face. We need to remember that we were called for something greater, we are a child of God, made in his image. 1 Timothy 1:18 says, “My son Timothy, I am giving you this command. It is in keeping with the prophecies once made about you. By remembering them, you can fight the battle well.” This is Paul talking to his apprentice during a time where Christians were falling away from the church in times of struggle. Think of this verse in another way, replace the first part with this, my son/daughter insert name here. Each of us needs to remember that we have been called sons and daughters of the king. When we remember that God made us in his image, made us for something incredible, we can fight the battle well. We need to remember that we have been called to do great things, that we are a masterpiece. Not some of you, but all of you. Even when you feel like you don’t fit in, and take it from a guy who feels like he doesn’t fit in), God made you and he loves you, because you are worth loving. Know who you are.

Hold on to faith.

This is the idea of having an authentic faith, not a pseudo faith. Our faith has to be our own, going to church is great, but until you choose to step into an ongoing relationship with your savior, you never have a faith you can call your own. We simply get by on a weekly message, forgetting to be intentional every day. 1 Timothy 1:19 says, “Then you will hold on to faith. You will hold on to a good sense of what is right and wrong. Some have not accepted this knowledge of right and wrong. So they have destroyed their faith. They are like a ship that has sunk.” What Paul is saying to Timothy, it’s that the people had dropped their faith, not made it truly their own, and when the storms came, they sank. We have to make our faith our own. In my struggle on that Tuesday, I didn’t cling to my faith. Maybe it was the fear or my own pride, but I chose to try and beat it with my own strength. The truth is, I’m not that strong, I can kill anxiety, only my God can. When I chose to rely on God, it was like a parent opening their arms to a child, I felt a comfort because I knew my God had me. Do I still struggle with fear and anxiety, yeah. I wish I didn’t, but in my struggle, God drew me closer to him. We need to have an authentic faith, we have to hold on to it by pursuing Christ each and every day.

Calm

Art (and aesthetics behind this post) by Jeff Lemire

I wanted to write this post as a finale to this series on fear. Fear is the worst. I hate having anxieties of things that don’t have any basis in reality. The enemy will try to isolate you and make you feel alone. He will try to make you feel worthless. He will say that what you do doesn’t matter.

God says otherwise.

God calls you his child. God tells us that we have a family of believers that love and support us. God says you are worthy of great love. God says that what you do will impact the world forever. We need to believe it, and rest in him completely. We are never alone, the Holy Spirit lives in us. The next day I had leftover anxiety, and that night my friend Daniel asked me if I was good, simple, but he knew that something was up. I was able to know that I had a friend there for me when the enemy said I had no one. Isn’t God just great? In my moment of struggle, I had a friend step out and be there. God loves you and wants you to rise out of fear.

We are called to live in freedom, so live free.

-Joshua Thomas

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