Sunday, September 29, 2013

Beloved...!

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to test you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:  But rejoice, since you are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy. (1 Peter 4:12,13)

We live in a world today that news can be given to us at a moment's notice. The vast majority of households throughout the world have internet access and TV. With that said, it is easy to be enveloped with not only the good news of our day, but the bad as well. 

With bad events continuing to unfold around the world in forms of natural disasters, wars, and rumors of wars, it is totally understandable why people become anxious about their respective futures, especially those who live in the countries by such events. Last Sunday, I came across an e-book titled "The Anxious Christian - Can God Use Your Anxiety for Good?". This book serves an amazing encouragement to me as I ready how God allows anxiety to play a role in our personal development.

I want to share a small portion of this book with you and then follow up with discussion questions, exercises, and a prayer from the book  as well to finish this post. Here we go. 

"It is more than likely that if you have ever taken the risk to share your anxiety within the Christian community, you have heard some counsel in the form of the apostle Paul's exhortation in Philippians 4:6. Paul says to the "holy people" at Phillipi, "Do not be anxious about anything." It's a very powerful verse, a favorite of mine, and one that Christians have turned to time and time again when they experience anxiousness. Perhaps you have used it when trying to encourage others during their times of anxiety. 

To be honest, I have been guilty of providing "Christian counsel" to people encouraging them to "not be anxious for anything". Little did I know that God can actually use our anxieties to embrace the challenges that we are confronted with and refuse to give up regardless of the circumstances, especially the bad ones. My dear friends, this one last piece from the book should encourage you to embrace anxiety as an agent that God will use to help you move forward in light of His grace and power over your life. Here we go.

"Without our anxiety, we do not become who God wants us to be. Begin to embrace it on your journey with God."

Sounds simple enough. Right? Wrong! Knowing very well that there are two faces to anxiety, the vast majority of us will fail to embrace anxiety and fall victim to wearing masks and living out pretentious lives for the sake of being politically correct and maintaining a "positive self-image" when our anxieties are eating at the core of our being. Don't get me wrong friends! I'm all for remaining optimistic and having a hopeful outlook on what God has to offer for my life. We simply have to keep in mind that we should never pretend to be someone that we are not at the expense of anxiety. To close, here's our discussion questions, exercises, and prayer from the e-book mentioned above.

Discussion Questions

1) How have you most experienced anxiety in your life (i.e., fear, stress, worry, etc.)?

2) When you feel anxious, do you ever find yourself experiencing shame or hiding from others?

3) What are some of the messages that have been communicated to you by the Christian community about anxiety?

Exercises:

1) Write down any anxieties that you are currently experiencing.

2) If you feel safe in your group or with someone, share some of these anxieties with another person.

Prayer:

God, please take the anxiety I feel and use it for Your good. Help me to not hide in shame, but instead to be covered by Your grace. 

Thank you for reading this far my friends! May God bless you and keep you at ALL times! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-).