Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Peace That Replaces Anxiety

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:6-7
A good friend pointed me in the direction of an "All Things Considered" segment on NPR this morning with Tavis Smiley.  It was a good and powerful reminder that we may be too zoned in on success.  I am told I have the weakness of personalizing failure, such that I create a negative attitude about myself that is not in keeping with the made-in-the-image-of-God beloved one of our Lord's flock and fold.  I've been pondering these words and scripture passage this morning and recalling the somewhat stale cliche` - "God doesn't expect you to be successful, but only faithful."  The implication of this is that you can (and likely may) fail in the midst of being faithful.

I don't know about you, but failures tend to create a great deal of anxiety within me.  Sometimes -- often in fact -- the failures do not even need to happen, just the fear of failure is enough to awake me in the early morning hours fretting.  My father used to say that fretting and worry are a form of prayer.  I do not think so.  I do think they are about the best catalyst in God's Tool Box to get us on our knees in prayer though.  Worry and anxiety are me-focusing.  They are hamster tread wheels for our brains to go around and around clanking ourselves in the head and saying, "You should be doing better" over and over again.  That is not a prayer.  That is empty self-flaggelation.  Getting on one's knees, however, and praying out what request you are needing, as Paul writes the Philippians, resurrects faith that was silenced by the worry treadmill; therein bringing the peace of God.  Reassurance of God's place within you and your life get restored.  Anxiety erodes and peace rises.  Thanks be to our Lord.

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