Still the Storm

I may not be able to control the storm, but I can determine whether it controls me.  I choose peace to fill my mind, not the storm clouds.  So be anxious for nothing!

Philippians 4:6,7 NIV
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

How come be anxious for nothing can be tough at times?  A few years ago I was in Margaret River, Western Australia with friends. This coast line is notorious for Great White sharks! Helicopters fly the coast to spot any dangers.  Just the day before sharks had been spotted

But today Darren decides it’s a good day to do an early morning body surf.  Not letting on my anxiety I go out with him.  All I could see in the horizon of my mind were shark fins, and all I could hear was the Jaws theme tune.

But I figured it out, Darren was a lot taller than me, so I kept myself between him and the shore – this would surely keep me safe right?!

What do we do when anxiety becomes irrational?  Worry is what spins around in our heads.  Anxiety grips the gut.  Right here Paul is giving us some practical help, no doubt from his own experience, of how to battle that potentially crippling, gut-wrenching, experience of being anxious.

He talks about peace that passes all understanding.  Anyone glad peace gets there before understanding does?
It’s really important we understand that Jesus never said we would not face trials.  But He did promise He would be with you in it.
He never said He would not give you more than you can bear. He will give you more than you can bear, cause He never meant for you to live a life that makes Him unnecessary!  But He did say you would not be tempted more than you can bear.
This is important, because Truth sets us free.  We can’t live with something He didn’t say expecting this to help us.

John 16:33 NIV
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace . In this world you will have trouble . BUT take heart! I have overcome the world.”

There will be challenges, trouble, worries.  BUT in Him we will have peace. Worry not, be anxious for nothing, fear not.  Because there is peace.
You maybe soaring high right now, do it with peace.
You may feel dragged down low, there is peace.

Peace is not the absence of a storm – peace is God’s still presence in the midst of the storm.  Just as faith is not the absence of doubt, it is the source of certainty in the midst of uncertainty.

A peace that goes beyond understanding is definitely in need right now:

  • Over 1 in 3 of the UK population is losing sleep from anxiety.
  • 1 in 7 adults have sought medical treatment for stress.
  • Depression and anxiety have overtaken physical ailments as the chief cause of long-term sickness.
  • Up to 60% of all absences from work are caused by stress

Fear and anxiety is real …

Top 100 registered phobias!
25 Gamophobia – fear of commitment – don’t worry if you have it, you probably won’t hang around with this one too long!
50 Koumpounophobia – fear of buttons; many people are undone by that one
63 Bananaphobia – fear of bananas – easy to slip-up on this one
77 Bathophobia – fear of depths – my gosh how deep is your bath!!
26 Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia – The fear of long words – whoever made this up was messing with you!

How about fear of failure… more familiar? Fear of rejection. You get anxious of what people think about you.  These things can mess with us and our relationships.  For example a marriage can be under strain because you’ve put up walls due to a fear of rejection.
We can get anxious about our parenting, our looks, our work performance, marriage, finances, when we go to the gym.  Introverts can get anxious of small talk, extroverts can get anxious of deep talk, and so it can go on.

2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
One thing you can be sure of – fear, anxiety and intimidation are not from God!
So fear not, be anxious for nothing … for the Lord your God is with you.  Even in the storm.  One thing we know about the devil, or even our own mind – it has little creativity in how it tries to trip us up – same tactics – that anxiety again, that fear again.  God’s ways are equally consistent – hope always, peace now, joy in whatever.  Have faith in God, get some beautiful mind!

So what can we do to tap into this peace

1. PRAY

Philippians 4:6,7 NIV
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by PRAYER and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Nearly any situation is improved by talking it out.  Thats why we need good friends.  But prayer interaction with God invites a power to work, and a peace to be imparted as we seek Him, and leave our requests with Him.
With thanksgiving. Because thanksgiving is the entry door to God’s presence. His presence is where peace is found, comfort in challenging moments, a rock, a strength and courage transfer, a reminder of who we are, who is for us and what we can accomplish.  It’s where anxiety I can be defeated.
The Apostles Peter and John were intimidated and threatened by local courts to stop preaching Jesus.  They and their friends prayed and were filled with boldness as the Holy Spirit filled the place.

 

As you pray, know He’s got you covered.

2. Get a beautiful mind

Philippians 4:6-9 NIV
Do not be anxious about anything… 8 Finally, brothers & 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. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Think about such things … I can think of sharks or I can think of waves
I can think of what could happen or I could think of what is happening
I could think of the storm or I could think of how good the Creator is
I can complain or give thanks
And so we can beat the anxious devil in the mind
Your mind is a garden.  It flourishes as you remove the weeds and fertilise the beauty within.
Take every thought captive to Christ.  Reign in your mind.

Programme it to tell you what is Truth :
There maybe trouble, BUT God says I have peace
This maybe challenging, BUT God says be anxious for nothing
All things will work out for good somehow
365+ times in bible we are told not to fear or worry – that’s one for each day of the year!
You program your mind with your tongue – the keyboard to the computer in your head.
Nearly every day I speak out statements that are Truth, to start the day programming my mind with what will create peace, faith, confidence.
The Bible switches on light inside your mind and soul.
I may not be able to control the storm, but I can determine whether it controls me.  I choose peace to fill my mind, not the clouds of the storm.  So be anxious for nothing!
Tell yourself – be anxious for nothing.  I have a beautiful mind.

3. TRUST

Sometimes we have to speak to our storm – stop it from being so irrational to us.  However, all the time we can at least trust God, as He is in the boat, in the storm with us. With Him there is always peace.
What’s our first instinct when the boat begins to sink – scream!!!  We are going to drown!!  We panic, and we make deluded conclusions.  But the moment we trust instead, there is calm in our soul.
You have a decision to make – will I seek my own peace or will I reach out and trust, find a heavenly certainty …
Today why don’t you take steps to still the storm.