I lean toward a glass-half-empty type of personality. Thankfully, my husband is more of a glass-half-full kind of guy. God has often used him in my life to point me back to the truth when I become too negative. That doesn’t mean I always appreciate his positivity and encouragement.
Why would I rather allow my disquieted heart to rage against my circumstances instead of trusting everything to God’s hands? Because trust requires me to relinquish control.
My natural reaction to unwanted circumstances never brings me any peace or happiness. My desire to control my life causes anxiety, stress, and an ultimate lack of peace and contentment. If I allow my circumstances to control my emotions, I cannot have the joy of Christ.
But God promises joy and peace to those who place their trust in Him. Instead of being bounced around by life’s circumstances, I can bring everything before my heavenly Father.
Paul instructs us to:
"Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God." Philippians 4:6
Admitting my lack of control often makes me feel vulnerable and helpless. As a daughter of the King, however, I have a personal relationship with the One who controls the world. He has adopted me as His daughter. I might not always like what's going on in my world, or in my life, but I can have confidence that my heavenly Father is working all things together for my good.
I can bring all of my concerns to Him.
“Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” I Peter 5:7
This knowledge is the only thing that can bring peace. When I'm caught up in the worries of what the future might bring, I cannot focus on the life God has for me right now. That is not how He wants me to live. In order to have the freedom of joy in Christ, I must be willing to relinquish my worry.
Some of the most comforting words I have ever heard are the words of Jesus from the book of Matthew:
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." Matthew 6:33-34
So, it is true that a “don’t worry, be happy” philosophy isn’t going to save me from my anxiety. We can’t simply decide to be joyful. Something needs to replace the worry in our hearts. As believers, we have that replacement. God offers His children His peace and joy, so while we can’t manufacture true joy on our own, we can decide to bring our anxieties, fears, and inadequacies to the only One who can give us joy.
Our natural feelings in response to our circumstances can become debilitating unless we choose to surrender our burdens to the One who knows all things.
So, my new mission for this season is to seek my God first. His kingdom and His will are more important than my earthly struggles. His peace and joy will flood my heart even in the middle of difficult things if I am focused on Him and not on myself.
How are you doing today when it comes to replacing worry with joy?
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