Peace > Stress

Anxiety. anxiety. anxiety. 

 I thought I dealt with this weeks ago? I thought I overcame it. I thought I was doing alright. I thought I wrote a blog post about all the happy things I was learning after overcoming it with God's help..  

Mental Exhaustion. It weights heavy, almost too burdensome. Next, physical exhaustion, because this kind of heaviness isn't something our bodies are wired to carry. I must've really thought that I overcame it, all in my own power. Blood and toil. I must've really thought that, because as soon as I began to get anxious over all that was happening, I looked at myself. But the truth is, I must've forgotten that it wasn't my own doing, because I sure didn't overcome it last time with my own strength. 

How could I have forgotten?

Silly me.

How could I have forgotten? 

It was a strength that came from the Lord. I overcame it with the Lord's help, but overtime the lines began to blur and I looked down at my hands to give myself the glory. But, the humbling reality is that, when I try to place myself where God should stand, all I get is the fruitless work of man. Utterly pointless. So in this moment (and all the other moments), I come before God, humbling myself and asking for His forgiveness - because it was not my doing, but His.

Who am I apart from God? 

Stress? Stress is natural (especially when you have a joyful two 15 page papers to write and have absolutely no idea what to write about). But when that stress slowly and subtly translates into anxiousness and worries, that's when we have to draw the line. Why? Because God calls us to never be anxious about anything, and to live according to the Spirit (Some reference points: Romans 8:1-13, Galatians 5:25, Ephesians 4: 23-24).

But the thing is, God doesn't just leave us hanging - He's there to personally give you the peace. Isn't He just so amazing?!?!

Abundant peace belongs to those who love Your instruction; nothing makes them stumble.
— Psalm 119:165
Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.
— John 14:27
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths. Don’t consider yourself to be wise; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. This will be healing for your body and strengthening for your bones
— Proverbs 3:5-8

Peace, which is one out of the nine fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self control)  - and means that when we are living according to the Spirit, we will yield these fruits - but as we remain in Christ.

I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me
— John 15:5

But do you hear me? Rebecca, are you listening? We cannot be living in this peace that God promises when we are try to do things in our power, in our way. Haven't you heard that being a follower of Christ means surrendering yourself for Him? But isn't this so freeing? We don't have carry all this load; we don't have to trust our provision. We are called to trust the Lord in everything, in all circumstances, in all life's stresses.  But maybe, just maybe Jesus's authoritative voice just isn't doing it for you, then in that case, let's look at this in a different angle:

Lord, reveal to me the end of my life and the number of my days. Let me know how short-lived I am. You, indeed, have made my days short in length, and my life span as nothing in your sight. Yes, every mortal man is only a vapor.
— Psalm 39:4-5

This verse is strangely comforting, because why do we allow ourselves to get so caught up with everything in this world, when we created to have our eyes set on something grander - something (that should be) much more consuming than our stress or anxiousness. What do we earn by stressing over such things anyways (Matthew 6:25-34)? I mean, my conviction was that if we are supposedly free from our sins, then why do we still chain ourselves to our worldly affairs? Sometimes, surrendering to God, looks like this: choosing to fill ourselves with God's word to fight the fleshiness, leaning on God's strength to overrule our lives, rather than us taking control of it. To me, that's what surrendering to the Lord has been looking like lately, and I've been awfully failing, because every time I am tempted to rely on myself. I've been learning to remain in God and to remain in Him and to constantly remain in Him. And yes, my dear readers,  it will take time to reap those spiritual fruits. And yes, it's not instinctive to live by the Spirit. But yes, when I chose to accept Jesus Christ into my life, I also chose to deny myself to follow Him.

And it's pretty sad that it took 3 weeks of having strep throat for me to realize that I wasn't giving God the ownership He needs in my life lately..But hey, it caught my attention. 

Prayers that we all will be able to examine our hearts and lives, and see the areas where we must give God the ownership of them. I love you all. Talk to you soon.

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Header Image: Julia