Hmmm… Coke or Pepsi? Tennis shoes or boots? Salad or Big Mac?
We make thousands of choices a day. I know that sounds a little bit crazy, but seriously– just think about it. From the moment we wake up, our brain is buzzing, making decisions before our feet even hit the floor. (Even the action of getting out of bed is a choice!)
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get a little overwhelmed with all the choices that whack me in the face each day. Sure, I love having control (which is an entirely separate issue) but some days I halfway wish someone would just make the choice for me.
Especially the difficult ones.
That’s right– not all of our choices are as easy as what we will wear or if we will go to the gym after work or not. There’s some tough choices out there… like what career to pursue, where to live, who to marry (or to get married at all), or who/what will be the center of our lives.
With freedom can come choice… and with choice can come anxiety.
But did you know that we can make a choice NOT to be anxious and instead be content? I know, I know, we gotta chalk that one up in the “easier said than done” category. But it IS possible.
Paul says in Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Um, yeah… Great idea, Paul. But HOW in the name of Jesus do we make that happen?
We do just that– simply whispering Jesus’ name is a great place to start.
We must CHOOSE to pray instead of worry. It’s a choice we can make with each thought, no matter how big or small our challenge or circumstance might be.
In Linda Dillow’s book “Calm My Anxious Heart,” she addresses this very question with four of Paul’s basic practice principles to CHOOSING God over our worrisome inclinations:
*Choosing to give our anxieties to God
*Choosing to pray specifically
*Choosing to be thankful
*Choosing to dwell on the positive
It’s a choice. Daily. Hourly. Minute-by-minute. It’s not going to happen over night, (darn!) but as with all things that God calls us to do, He doesn’t expect us to do it alone.
Ultimately, we have to CHOOSE God over ourselves. See, our flesh loves to have control and when things don’t go OUR way, we tend to worry or get upset. Instead, we can make the choice to trust God with EVERYTHING in our lives. When we do, He will help us to calm our anxious hearts and find contentment in Him alone.
So I have a couple of questions for you today:
1. What is the biggest barrier to choosing to pray instead of defaulting to being anxious?
2. What practical things can you do to choose prayer over worry?
I always love hearing your thoughts– leave a comment below!
They say it takes (at least) 21 days to change a habit. What if, for the next 21 days, each time our heart flops and a worry bubbles up, we mentally STOP… And pray it away? After awhile, we wouldn’t just have a new habit– But God would have transformed our heart.
Choosing prayer over worry can be one of the best choices we will ever make. So what will you choose?
Choosing Him First,
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” ~Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG)
If you are “officially” participating in our online bible study for Calm My Anxious Heart, here is Chapter 3′s “homework” for the upcoming week. Enjoy!
Day 1: Study Guide– Question 1, Memorize Psalm 139:14
Day 2: Study Guide– Question 2, 3, 4, 5
Day 3: Study Guide– Question 6, 7, 8 a.,b.
Day 4: Study Guide–Question 9a,b, 10
Day 5: Study Guide– Question 12
***Extra (as in, you don’t have to do it– but if you are into it, go for it!***
Word Study: Psalm 139:14 (Remember Old Testament is written in Hebrew)
Fearfully; Wonderfully; Made; Works; Wonderful; Know
Word Study: Phil. 1:6
Confident; Began; Work; Completion