Monday, March 6, 2017

Hope Floats


David said about Him:

“I saw the Lord always before me.
    Because he is at my right hand,
    I will not be shaken.
   Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest in hope..."
Acts 2:25-28

"My body also will rest in hope..."  Something about those words spoke to me.

Spoke to me in a way quite different from the context of the Scripture passage where that statement is found...

Here David is referring to the blessed hope he has in knowing that when his body experiences death, he will be at rest with the Lord.

But as I read those words recently, during a time when my body was craving rest, rest from the constant anxiety that was pulsating through it, for no reason at all... I began to truly ponder this passage in a different light.

As I've shared in past posts, I can go through seasons of anxiety where I'm not anxious about anything in particular, but my body assumes an anxious state despite this.

During those seasons of anxiety, there may not be an anxiety provoking situation that I am acutely aware of, but upon further reflection, there are certainly attitudes and thought-processes that are preventing my body from resting, keeping it in an anxious state.

There are, of course, those situations which are understandably anxiety provoking, no matter how hard we try to calm ourselves.

The medical community certainly has documented how anxiety and stress effects the human body.   God designed our bodies with a fight or flight mechanism which is triggered as a result of fear from an immediate threat.  It is fascinating how our bodies respond to fear in such a manner that actually preserves and protects us.

Yet when we live in constant fear, even though there is no immediate threat, that same fight or flight response will have an extremely negative effect on the systems of our bodies.

What's that saying?   "A year from now, everything you're stressing about won't even matter."

As I look back at the things I was worrying about a year ago, I can say that for the most part this quote is spot on.

So why do I continue to worry??...

Worry is definitely a manifestation of having control issues.  And I'm preaching to myself here. When we worry, it is because we are fretting that things aren't going to go the way we feel they should, thinking we might not be able to effect the situation as we see fit.

IN OUR ATTEMPTS TO CONTROL, 
WE FEEL THE MOST OUT OF CONTROL.

And isn't control essentially playing God, wanting things to work out the way we deem it should rather than resting in the Hope that the One who has a perfect plan and purpose for everyone, will accomplish it.

Remember the story of Sarai and Abram.  Even after God had told Abram that a son of his own flesh and blood would be his heir, look at what happened...


Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian 
slave named Hagar;  so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”

Abram agreed to what Sarai said.  So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, 
Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.  
He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.

When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.  Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”
Genesis 16:1-5

Sarai, who sadly I can relate to, was taking things into her own hands to force God's promise to come about.

So much strife and suffering resulted from "playing God" rather than resting in the Hope that God would accomplish His promise in His way and in His perfect timing.

Or what about the story of Rebekah setting into motion the deception of Isaac - wanting Jacob to receive the blessing rather than Esau...

Now it came about, as soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob had hardly gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.  Then he also made savory food, and brought it to his father; and he said to his father, “Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game, that you may bless me.”  Isaac his father said to him, “Who are you?” And he said, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.”  Then Isaac trembled violently, and said, “Who was he then that hunted game and brought it to me, so that I ate of all of it before you came, and blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed.” When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, “Bless me, even me also, O my father!” And he said, “Your brother came deceitfully and has taken away your blessing.”  Then he said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob, for he has supplanted me these two times? He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.” And he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?”  But Isaac replied to Esau, “Behold, I have made him your master, and all his relatives I have given to him as servants; and with grain and new wine I have sustained him. Now as for you then, what can I do, my son?”  Esau said to his father, “Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” So Esau lifted his voice and wept.

Then Isaac his father answered and said to him,

“Behold, away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling,
And away from the dew of heaven from above.
“By your sword you shall live,
And your brother you shall serve;
But it shall come about when you become restless,
That you will break his yoke from your neck.”

So Esau bore a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him; and Esau said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”  Now when the words of her elder son Esau were reported to Rebekah, she sent and called her younger son Jacob, and said to him, “Behold your brother Esau is consoling himself concerning you by planning to kill you.  Now therefore, my son, obey my voice, and arise, flee to Haran, to my brother Laban!  Stay with him a few days, until your brother’s fury subsides,  until your brother’s anger against you subsides and he forgets what you did to him. Then I will send and get you from there. Why should I be bereaved of you both in one day?”

Rebekah said to Isaac, “I am tired of living because of the daughters of Heth; 
if Jacob takes a wife from the daughters of Heth, like these, from the daughters of the land, 
what good will my life be to me?”
Genesis 27:30-46

How many lives were hurt because Rebekah decided to play God.  And in the end, she STILL lamented living because she was worried that Jacob would now take a wife from the daughters of Heth.

The moral of these stories, even when we succeed in effecting the change we set out to control,  we STILL won't be happy.  We will suffer consequences of going outside of God's will, and will possibly have caused pain to the others we sought to control.

Our Heavenly Father watches over every aspect of our lives, including those lives that touch ours. We will lose the desire to control, when we  rest in the following promise...

The LORD will keep you from all harm-- he will watch over your life;
Psalm 121:7

Even in the deepest affliction, God is there with us, sustaining us, blessings us.  (I spoke more about this in last week's blog post.  If you missed it, you can read it here.

There is truly something cathartic about letting go and placing all of our Hope in God and in His promises.

There were a few acute times in my life when I felt an overwhelming psychological and physical relief when I let go and put my Hope in God to accomplish what concerned me.

I can remember a couple of times lying in bed late at night,  I would experience crushing sensations of anxiety, usually related to my own medical crisis, to the point of physically shaking in bed.  I was so distraught with anxiety and worry.

I remember coming to a realization that I was literally holding on for dear life TO MY WORRY!  I became so exhausted, I just let go...  Let go of the anxiety and worry...

I then placed my Hope for the situation in the Great Physician and the God of all Comfort.  It was at this point that I had experienced the most profound physical rest of my life.

The striving ceased, the worry released, the hoping commenced and the body rested.

You will be secure, because there is hope; 
you will look about you and 
take your rest in safety.
Job 11:18-19

Therefore my heart {was} glad and my tongue rejoiced!

May we always remember that the Lord is before us because he is at our right hand, and we WILL NOT BE SHAKEN...

 And may we say with the Psalmist...

 Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.     
Psalm 62:5




You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home Messy Marriage Link-up Friday at the Fire Station Link-up Tune In Thursday

36 comments:

  1. Oh, dear friend! This is JUST what I needed today! So many times God does this through you...you are such a dear blessing to me. I could relate to so much of this. I struggle with such severe anxiety, and I know it is not pleasing to our dear Lord. It has only been over the past several months that He has begun to reveal to me how much I try to control and make turn out the way I want it to...the way that it won't be a negative outcome. But, He is showing me through so many life lessons that we truly have NO control over anything that happens in this life, other than our own self (reactions to things, mindset, attitude, etc.) I long to sink more into Him and let go of my feelings for needing to fix everything. I feel so hopeless with it all sometimes, but I know through Christ we can do all things. Thank you for your transparency and the love with which you write. God uses you so mightily to minister to me time after time. I love and appreciate you dearly, sweet friend. May God bless you and everyone you love today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Cheryl, Thank you for sharing so transparently your own struggles with anxiety and control. As my blog's name states, my desire was to learn right along with those that read my posts. It means so much to me that the Lord uses my feeble attempts at writing in such a profound way in your life. All Glory and Honor to Him!

      I feel so privileged to have you in my life now. I treasure our friendship.

      Sending you much love sweet friend.

      Delete
  2. so good to remember that most of what we worry about never happens (so a friend said, worry works! haha) great post !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sue, "worry works". Wow! So true! I thought I remember a Pastor saying that Jesus admonishes the most times about worry than any other sinful bent in our lives. Praising God that He understands us and has provided so many comforting promises to encourage us not to worry.

      Delete
  3. What a great reminder for us all. Worry has this way of paralyzing us in a sense doesnt it? But in Scripture, we are reminded "Do not worry about tomorrow, for today has enough worries of its own." Blessed to be your neighbor at Testimony Tuesday this week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tara, Yes, it really does. :-(

      May we all just live for the moment, knowing that God has our future in His loving hands.

      So happy you were my neighbor. :-)

      Delete
  4. That fight or flight response can be tricky. I had adrenal fatigue for a few years. But I will not be shaken because God is at my right hand! Amen, Karen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kelly, I never heard the term "adrenal fatigue" before. Very interesting.

      Indeed, But God! :-)

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Delete
  5. What a beautiful reminder to take our rest in God. I, too, fall into the habit of thinking that I can fix my problems (and even worse, other people's problems :/ ). Thank you for the reminder that praying for problems and asking God to take over is a much better solution to trying to manage everything myself!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you.

      And thank you for sharing your own struggles with being a "fixer".

      You are very welcome, and thanks so much for taking the time to comment. :-)

      Delete
  6. Sorry to hear that you suffer from Anxiety. I just finished reading Rebekah Lyon's book, You are Free- Be Who You Already Are, and I would highly recommend it! I found so much freedom through out the pages. Rebekah suffered from crushing anxiety too, abut is now walking in freedom. Blessings, Misty your neighbor at Sitting Among Friends :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Misty, Thank you for sharing the book recommendation. I hadn't heard of it before.

      I am just now finishing up Fear Fighting and upon the recommendation of another blogger have picked up the Bible Study Book called Guarded by Christ, Knowing the God who Rescues and Keeps Us.

      I'm happy you were my neighbor! :-)

      Delete
  7. Good points! It is so silly to hang on to our worry... or to worry in the first place, but it is so easy to do! We have been greatly ministered to by the song, Thy Will by Hillary Scott... it recognizes the very difficult things in our life, yet says, "Thy will be done." Whew. Another phrase says, "You are God.... and I am NOT." So important. Due to some really hard things we have been reaffirming our commitment to God... no matter what. Thank you for your words.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gentle Joy, Thank you so much for sharing your own thoughts here, and yes, the Hillary Scott song is EXTREMELY edifying and encouraging!

      It was through anxiety that the Lord ultimately drew me to Himself. Indeed, the hard things draw us close to Him.

      I appreciate so much all that you shared here.

      You are welcome.

      Delete
  8. Karen, I really needed this. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I can relate in a huge way. I, too, suffer from anxiety, and sometimes I don't even know why. But I like control, too, so I'm sure they go hand in hand. It will be SO amazing to have new, perfect minds and bodies one day. :) Thanks for linking up with Literacy Musing Mondays!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brandi, Thank you so much for sharing your own struggles with anxiety.

      Indeed! and Amen!

      You are welcome. :-)

      Delete
  10. Karen - oh my goodness, you are so right.. anxiety and stress definetly affect us. I have often said I am not stressed, I am not anxious, or worried, or ... only then to break out itching, or not sleeping or .... any number of random things, and yet I was not aware of them at all. I am sorry you deal with anxiety. it is good to bring awareness to others surrounding this and sharing about it. thank you for linking up today at #TuneInThursday

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debbie, Thank you for sharing in the conversation and for your kind words. It seems this post resonated with many people and it is good to be transparent in our own afflictions as it helps others, as you so stated.

      I appreciate your comments so much.

      You are welcome! I am enjoying the fellowship at Tune In Thursday. :-)

      Delete
  11. Dear Karen, we must be kindred spirits! Worry for the sake of worrying can become a lifestyle. It can also become a legacy. Despite my attempts to break out of the habit I learned from my mom, I grieve that I have passed it to my daughter. For young moms, I would say if your own well-being being threatened isn't enough to curtail the habit of worrying, consider the effects it has on your kids. Thanks for your candor and prayers for a restful day from your neighbor at Anita's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alice, Oh I'm sure! It seems there are many of us who are kindred in this area. :-)

      I appreciate your transparency in sharing your own struggles with anxiety.

      You have blessed me by your comments. :-)

      Delete
  12. Great post. I've struggled with anxiety off and on throughout my life. Our daughter had cancer at a young age and for the longest time, even after she was better, I was just so worried about losing her or one of the other kids. It is paralyzing to live like that. Thankful you are finding your peace and strength.
    #sittingamongfriends

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope, Thank you!

      Oh my! Your anxiety was certainly understandable. But indeed when it becomes paralyzing, we need to look to our great God and Father who ordains every life and circumstance and to trust Him for the outcome. I know that is easier said than done and I am thankful that we have such a loving and patient God through it all.

      Thank you so much for sharing your heart here.

      Delete
  13. So true Karen! Love how you shared you were holding on to dear life to your worry, as well as how we feel most out of control,as we try to control. Such truth!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gretchen, Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by. :-)

      Delete
  14. Karen, this is such a good post. I recently read those scriptures about Abram and Sarai and Rebekah with Jacob. It's so easy to try to take control, but it's so much better to realize that God is in control and He will accomplish His purposes according to His will. I, too, have trouble letting go and I carry anxiety that is not mine to carry. Thanks for this reminder to give it all to God. Blessings to you! I'm your neighbor this week at #TuneInThursday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gayl, Thank you!

      And thank you for sharing in the conversation. I appreciate it!

      You are welcome! Glad you were my neighbor. :-)

      Delete
  15. Yes. This: "IN OUR ATTEMPTS TO CONTROL,
    WE FEEL THE MOST OUT OF CONTROL." Amen!

    This made me think of a quote heard a few days ago: Worry and Complaining is the worship language of hell. Ouch. I definitely want to be more fluent in Heavens' worship language! So good!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karrilee, Oh my! But so much truth in that phrase! Really makes us stop and think!

      Indeed and Amen!

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  16. Enjoyed your reminder to not worry and try and control things we can't. While Sarah took things into her own hands to get a baby through Haggai, and even laughed about having a baby, I am most comforted that God, when remembering Sarah in Hebrews, remembers her having faith. Such comfort it is that God sees us through eyes of our potential and Jesus's righteousness and not actually what we did and our bad choices.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Theresa, I'm glad!

      Amen! The Lord sees us through the Blood of the Lamb who has cleansed us from all unrighteousness.

      Thanks for sharing in the conversation. :-)

      Delete
  17. So many encouraging words Karen. I struggled with anxiety too and am learning to let go. Amen to it all!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Meg, I'm glad you were encouraged!

      Blessings. :-)

      Delete
  18. Thanks so much for linking up this powerful reminder at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com this week!
    Tina

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to comment.