Do you struggle with worry? I used to. It was something that followed me from the time I was a child all the way through my mid 30’s Typically, I would find myself worrying about things in which I had no control over the outcome. I’d read my Bible searching for the promises of God, “trying to do the right thing” in order for God to bless me and remove my struggle. It didn’t work. I did a study of the names of God hoping to learn more about His character, because every name He gave Himself describes a different aspect of Who He is. Although I learned much from this, it didn’t give me the peace I was looking for. I knew I had peace WITH God, but I was not experiencing the of peace OF God. This past Sunday, Whitney referenced a scripture as she introduced a new song, 2 Timothy 1:7 – “But God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” I used to read this scripture constantly. Desperately wanting what it promised….a sound mind. I wouldn’t say I lived in fear, but constant worry robbed me of rest.
A couple of life events rocked my world when I was in my early 30’s and made me question everything I claimed to believe in. Even though I was raised in a Christian home, a Pastor’s home, I found myself in a free fall with seemingly no foundation to stand on. My struggle with worry raised its head again as night after night I laid in bed staring at the ceiling looking for answers.
One morning, I picked up my Bible and it opened to the book of Philippians. Even though I had read these same words a countless number of times, it was like it I was reading them for the first time. Paul writes in chapter 4 verse 4 to REJOICE! In verse 5 he writes THE LORD IS NEAR! Then in verses 6-8 he writes these words:
“Do not be anxious (worry) about ANYTHING, but in EVERY situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace OF God, which transcends ALL UNDERSTANDING, will guard your hearts and MINDS IN Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is TRUE, whatever is NOBLE, whatever is RIGHT, whatever is PURE, whatever is LOVELY, whatever is ADMIRABLE, if anything is EXCELLENT or PRAISEWORTHY, think about such things.”
These words literally cut through the fog of worry that had crippled me and for the first time in a long time, I felt relief. I could breathe, I could REST. You see, all of the words in verse 8 that are in all capital letters describe Jesus Christ – the same Jesus Christ I claimed as my Savior over 20 years earlier at the age of 13. I trusted Jesus with my eternity, but was never willing to hand over my present. Over the next few years my life long struggle began to subside as I began to let go and for the first time, TRUST in who I was in Christ. I discovered I no longer relied on my faithfulness, but leaned heavily into His. At last, I began experiencing the peace of God Paul described. What I’ve discovered in the past 24 years since, is our enemy will always attack us where we are most vulnerable. And even though he continually tries to drag me back into the fog of worry, I am no longer self dependent, but rather dependent on the One who gives me rest.
Do you struggle with worry? I used to…
— Kale Magness