Whew! What a year so far. 2020 seems to be turned upside down in the last few months. Maybe. Kind of. In a way I see it as God trying to wake something up in each of us spiritually, but then there’s that fleshly part of me that is just worried about how horribly summer has been. Either way, I think it’s safe to say that many of us have found ourselves feeling afraid, discouraged, and worried about what is to come. And I understand, because sometimes I feel that way too. But when those feelings come, they need to be discerned and rebuked in the name of Jesus because we were not given a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7)! Know that God is with you along the way, His protection is over you and ultimately His Will will be done.
Today I want to share with you 3 ways that I have been able to stay encouraged through the craziness of this worldwide pandemic. I encourage you to grasp these, hold tight to them, because there is still more to come so we have to continue to be strong in our faith and still in our spirits.
SPEND LESS TIME ON YOUR PHONE
If you’re anything like me, during a quiet moment throughout the day, you probably find yourself aimlessly scrolling through social media. DANGER! Social media, although very useful at times, can become the center of your stress. There is so much competition, false or exaggerated news, and if you’re not careful, you can begin to harbor feelings of resentment and fear.
Sometimes the people we follow can cause us to see our own lives as “not good enough” and that’s where the danger comes in. That’s not to say that the people you are following are intentionally posting such things to make you feel this way, but the heart feels what it feels, and if we do not guard it, it can definitely create resentment, envy, and uncontentment within our own lives. It’s okay to hit the unfollow button sometimes, even if it’s for a short amount of time. But those feelings need to be released and removed from your heart. You have to take care of you first and find your inner peace before you can give someone else the satisfaction of seeing a growing number of followers.
As for false and exaggerated news? Some people are just out there throwing around their own opinions and conspiracies, and if you are unable to discern through the Spirit of God, what is true, exaggerated, false, or just merely an opinion, you can start to get buried in fear over this pandemic. And fear, my friend, does not come from God! I’m not saying you shouldn’t inform yourself of current events because you definitely should, but overwhelming yourself with everything the media has to say is not good for your health.
It’s okay put the phone down sometimes. You won’t miss much, I promise.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 NIV
INDULGE IN THE WORD OF GOD
Notice how I didn’t say read the Word of God? That’s because reading and indulging are two different things. When you read, sometimes you don’t even savor the words that you are reading. You might find yourself thinking of other things of no worth compared to the Word and eventually, not remember anything from the fifteen minutes you spent “reading”. That’s why I say indulge! When you indulge in something, you allow yourself to enjoy it and be completely involved. I truly believe that there is no better time to dive into the scriptures than now. Our world has been shaken for a reason. God is calling us to get closer to Him. He wants to give us peace but how will we find that peace if not through His Word?
There is so much encouragement to be found in the Bible, the problem is that we expect the Bible to open itself up and to do the work for us. I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but thinking about moving a muscle to grab your Bible and never doing it isn’t going to be much of a help to you. Be intentional. Take some time out of your day, find a quite spot in your home, set apart a time when the kids are napping or you have a break at work to read with intent.
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4 ESV
PRAY. PRAY. PRAY.
I can’t stress enough that prayer is essential in our lives. My greatest peace always comes after I have had an intimate moment with ABBA. If I’m honest, there are times that I kneel down and just sit there in complete and utter silence, not knowing what exactly to pray but knowing that I am kneeled before the presence of God is enough to get the waterworks going. Now I’m not saying that every prayer should make you cry because I’d be lying to you. But what I am saying is that when you can’t find the words to pray, listen for His voice in the silence of your prayer and you will hear the quite, still voice, speaking to you.
God want’s to hear from you. He wants to hear about your worries. He wants to hear about what you’re feeling. He wants to give you peace, but He can’t and wont do it until you open up you heart to Him. You see, God is a perfect gentlemen (I’m sure you think it’s cliche but it’s the truth). He is truly a perfect gentlemen. He will not make His way into your heart unless you let Him, and you do that by telling Him: God, here I am before You. My heart is open to You. That’s all it is.
I don’t know why people make praying such a difficult task. It’s the easiest way to have a relationship with God. You simply talk and you take a moment to listen. Just as you would a conversation with your spouse, or your mother, or your best friend. It’s a sacred relationship. It’s a one on one with your Creator. The One who created you in HIS PERFECT IMAGE.
“Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.” Jeremiah 33:3 NLT