Lots of people have a “love at first sight” story when it comes to their spouses, but my journey to becoming Tyler’s wife didn’t exactly start out that way.
We laugh about it now because at 18 years and counting, oh how God has blessed our love. But let’s just say that the road to relational clarity was a long and curvy one with a detour or two along the way. Heh. After sharing a close friendship for several years, the biggest detour came when Tyler finally got the courage to tell me that his heart held much more for me than friendship. I proceeded to look that handsome boy squarely in the eyes and inform him that friendship was all I could muster at that time.
Immediately division entered our relationship. Our hearts grew anxious, and our typically peaceful interaction turned into all kinds of confusion.
And we didn’t talk for months.
What I found out later is that Tyler was very intentional during our time apart. Instead of sticking around for a fight or wallowing in worry, he made a conscious effort to step away and take his desires about our relationship to the Lord.
He and I were taking a break, but he and God were talking more than ever.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
~ Philippians 4:6-7
Tyler humbly made these verses his focus as he cried out to God. I can hardly read them today without overwhelming gratitude and emotion, because his step of faith to take his anxious heart to Jesus speaks so beautifully to what he believes about his Savior.
How we act reveals what we think about God…
Strong words? Maybe.
But listen, when you and I continue down the road of anxiousness, we communicate to our hearts and to the world that our God isn’t big enough, trustworthy enough, or wise enough to provide for us in His way and in His time. Alternatively, when we rest in the Lord and turn to Him in thanksgiving and prayer, we preach to ourselves – and to everyone around us – that our trust is rightly secured in the grace, sovereignty, and goodness of a God who sees and provides.
The result from the latter? Sweet, sustaining peace. Those around us will hear it in our words, and they’ll be able to see it all over our faces.
Exchanging anxiousness for peace…
A relationship status may seem trite in comparison to what makes your heart anxious today. On a larger spectrum we have been reminded in recent days that in this world we will have trouble. Many of you are fighting heavy personal battles that have become more than you can bear. Whether we’re watching the news, fumbling in our relationships, or fighting the perpetual thorns in our side, every day presents unique opportunities to turn from anxiousness to peace.
But how do we get there?
In Philippians 4, Paul guides us…
1. Be anxious for nothing. I’m not going to pretend this is easy, but if the Bible says it, with God it is possible! Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts you.” It might not happen overnight, but when we make the choice to read, pray, focus on, and repeat right thinking to ourselves based on who God is and the truth of His Word, over time there is less and less room in our minds for anxious thoughts.
2. … but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. On the pathway to peace we find this crucial step of prayer and thanksgiving. When we humbly go to God with our requests with a thankful heart – one that looks back and remembers who God is and the great things He has done (and will do!) – we are purposely fleeing worry because we are focusing more on the proven trustworthiness of Christ and less on our changing circumstances.
3. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” God’s peace far exceeds anything the world can give. Why? Because true peace isn’t found in a formula, but in the Person of Jesus Christ. This “unexplainable” peace is one of our greatest open doors to sharing the hope of Christ with those around us. Show me a woman who exudes incomprehensible peace in adversity, and I’ll show you a crowd that’s asking what – Who – makes that possible.
“Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ.” ~ Sheila Walsh
Would the people in your life categorize you as an anxious woman or a peaceful woman? That answer might just be a window into your heart, exposing what you really believe about God.
Prince of Peace, rule in and over our anxious hearts…
At His feet,
*LET’S TALK: As we celebrate Thanksgiving in America this week, let’s offer gratitude to our God for who He is. Share your prayer of thanksgiving in the comments below…