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Friday, September 4, 2009

When Flocks of Geese Attack: Dealing With Anxiety

Why is it that in the middle of a restless night, worries come at you like a flock of geese relentlessly honking and snipping, demanding the bread in your hand? As soon as you give a morsel to one, another comes charging at you.

As I write this, it’s 2:30 am. I’ve been lying awake due to mid-life hormonal power surges and a persistent snore beside me. Before I rose, my personal flock of geese was closing in, snatching my peace thought by anxious thought.

Question: What do you do when worries surround you?

In the spirit of Family Feud: “Survey says … pray!”
I’m guessing that “pray” is the number one answer for anyone reading this devotional, and that’s a good answer!

1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you,” and the first order of casting off anxiety is to open up conversation with our Father.

Sometimes I tell God about my troubles as if he were an ordinary friend, explaining to him the situation and my questions and fears.

But the Lord is so much more than an ear to bend. He is, of course, well … bigger.

Let’s review, Class. He is:

Faithful

Good

Incomprehensible

Infinite

Loving

Merciful

Omnipotent

Omnipresent

Omniscient

Sovereign

Wise

The list goes on. I’d like to add one more: Near.

Remember Psalm 23:5, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” He is with us in the presence of enemies, whether tangible or intangible.

I’m so thankful that although God is everywhere, he is also near. We do have troubles in this world. But it’s comforting to know that whatever besieges us, we do not face it alone, even if we’re battling in the middle of the night. He is always near and always awake.

When I turn to the Lord for help, I must continually remember to “cast” my cares upon Him. That is, I have to make sure I’ve done more than just vent my feelings in prayer. I must release the burden to Him in faith, because He is faithful.

In other words, I have to divest myself of the habit of rehashing the whole scenario.

The Amplified Bible opens up 1 Peter 5:7 in the context of giving (casting) our concerns to God: “… the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.”

I need to digest that: “All of your worries, once and for all, because he cares for you,” and may I add again, this is a really BIG God who watchfully cares for you.

Finally, I will share an exercise that helps me release my burdens, although it is fairly juvenile. It goes like this: my son has shared that he and his teammates are traveling to North Carolina for an Ultimate Frisbee tournament.

Eventually, after I pray about his safety, my imagination will evoke anxiety, in this case, by presenting the scene of a terrible wreck. I then picture a red (appropriate for alert or fiery trial, yes?) helium balloon representing my specific fear. Sometimes I envision the burden written on the balloon, such as “Keep Jordan safe.” Then I let it go, and watch it waft up, up and away. Then I remind myself that I have released this fear to a big, omnipotent God who loves my son more than I do.

Now it is 4:00 am, and I’m getting sleepy. If the geese encircle again, I will stand my ground and say, “In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You, Lord, alone make me dwell in safety and confident trust” (Psalm 4:8). And if I have to, I will release a big bouquet of red balloons one by one until I drift off under His watchful eye.

Questions:

1. Do you ever find yourself merely bending God’s ear in prayer instead of trusting Him for peace and resolution?

2. Is there a mental image or exercise that would work for you to help you release burdens for which you’ve already prayed?

3. Which scripture would be most helpful for you to have at the ready when geese attack?


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10 Comments:

Blogger Denise said...

This was awesome, thank you.

September 4, 2009 at 5:16 AM  
Blogger Pamela said...

This is the scripture that was the 1996 promise (scripture) that our church used: Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine hear; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy was acknowledge Him, and He shall direct they paths. (KJV)

Now for the extended paraphrase (which I love)

Throw yourself completely upon the Lord-that is, cast all your present and future needs on Him who is your intimate saior-God...finding in Him your security and safety. Do this with all your mind and feeling and will. In order to make this possible, you must refuse to support yourself upon the crutch of human ingenuity. Instead, recognize HIs presence and concern in each one of your circumstances. Then He (having taken full contril of the situation) will smooth out and make straight your paths, removing each obstacle along the way.

It is laminated and up on my refrigerator where I can be reminded of it throught the day...because some days I need reminded of it often. I also have a picture of my son (Nate) up there beside it. It reminds me of how far he has come in almost two years. And that is all the picture I need. Somedays I am better than others at remembering that.

September 4, 2009 at 7:04 AM  
Blogger 2nd Cup of Coffee said...

That is excellent, Pam.

September 4, 2009 at 7:12 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Good word, Linda...

Yep, I've had some anxious thoughts in the midst of planning a wedding with a very low budget....

Yep, I've had those nights of not being able to shut down my mind.......

I had some intimate time with Jesus the other day. I realized in that sweet time that I was trying to carry things that didn't belong to me. Papa God had them covered. They belonged to Him. I gave them back and walked away free.

September 4, 2009 at 8:01 AM  
Blogger Mocha with Linda said...

Love this. Great visual

September 4, 2009 at 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

Thank you so much for this devotion. It is so relevant for me at this time in my life when so many things have "ganged up" on me.

"Thou will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee" Isaiah 26:3

September 4, 2009 at 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Charlene said...

Like so many other women I too have had those mid-night, mid-life anxiety attacks. Mine were not geese, but little hampsters, spinning away on their wheels, frantically hurrying to escape from nowhere. Sheer will alone could never still the hampster, could never quiet the thoughts that raced toward the unseen finish line, jostling to be the first to frustrate, with fear and worry coming in a distant last. I have done my share of after midnight fridge staring as a result. That is until I decided to claim Proverbs 3:5,6

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;6 in all your ways acknowledge him,and he will make your paths straight.

I grew up on the Kings James Version which says ...he will direct your paths. I like that. Especially when you say it with the emphasis on He WILL direct your paths. No question there. I don't HAVE to worry any more. I just keep repeating; He WILL direct when I trust. He WILL.

September 4, 2009 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger Jo Princess Warrior said...

Fantastic, Thank you for this!

September 4, 2009 at 10:22 PM  
Anonymous alisa said...

Such a blessing! I so needed this today. I came to the computer filled with axiety. I've been struggling with finding a way to release it! Thank you for this awesome reminder of how very big an awesome our God is!

September 5, 2009 at 7:17 AM  
Anonymous gelee royale said...

Thanks a lot for this. It will give me an inspiration to keep up the faith in God. Almighty is the ultimate guide for us in our life. He leads our way in our bad and good always. So now onward I don't have to worry about anything.

September 10, 2009 at 1:27 AM  

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It is good to hear from you... thank you so very much for leaving a note on the table. That makes us smile!

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