What a thought provoking chapter for me. Am I addicted to worry? As I began to seek the Lord with this question, He immediately brought something to my mind. Yesterday, my daughter who has been in Thailand for the last six months, said to me, “Dad seems so stretched. He seems to have aged since I have been gone.” What she didn’t know was I have already felt low level concern over my husband’s exhaustion level. Her brother who came to us, three months ago expressed the same concern. Gabriel is currently fighting a sinus infection that is not responding to antibiotics. So he is constantly not feeling well. The thoughts of worry have been piling up in my mind. My mind went directly to……oh my goodness, my husband is getting too old to work as hard as he does. What are we going to do? How are we going to survive. I had a full blown moment of anxiety. The thoughts kept coming and growing worse and more darker. Fear showed up and added to those thoughts. Agitation soon made an appearance and my body began to feel sick and nauseous. Pretty soon, my moment of anxiety became an hour of time lost to torment.
Joyce defines worry as “to torment oneself with disturbing thoughts.” That is exactly what has been going on in my mind without me even recognizing it. These thoughts did not lead to peace. They lead to me being tormented. I followed those thoughts because they seemed logical and “wisdom” in the moment. Plus, since I had my own fears and worries, that had been added to by the words of my son and daughter it seemed right. That is the strategy of the enemy. His plan is covert. He knew He couldn’t come in and plant a thought that said, “God can’t provide for you.” Satan had to use time, repeated thoughts and added intent to attack me. I needed to recognize it. I needed to see the foundation for the stronghold that Satan was trying to build in my thoughts. This time I did not. So, the attack was successful for a time, until the Holy Spirit helped me recognize that I was not abiding in Jesus but abiding in my own fear. I repented.
Joyce writes ” Peace is the fruit of the Spirit according to Gal 5:22. It must be chosen over what our fleshly mind thinks. We can choose to be peaceful by choosing to think on things that promote peace rather than things that open the door for worry and anxiety.” I chose wrongly. I chose to be hospitable to worry. What I learned is that worry cannot be welcome in anyway to my heart. All the doors of my heart must always remained locked to any thought that doubts the provision of God in my life. So what that looks like for me is this. When the thought of worry comes to my mind, I immediately acknowledge it and give it to God. “Lord, my husband is sick. I trust you to be the Source of all things we need as my husband is healing.” I don’t deny the worry but acknowledge it and entrust it to the Lord. That way, I can release it and empty myself of it, so His peace can flow into that place. If I don’t acknowledge it, how can I release it? It took me opening my mouth and speaking it out loud to the Lord releasing the burden of it, then speaking His Word about this situation that released me from the torment. Just as Joyce pointed out “A sword in its sheath won’t do any good during an attack.” Time to take out our swords!
A dead man can’t be addicted to anything(Gal 2:20). That is how I am beginning to perceive myself. I am dead to all old habits of responding, interpreting and reacting. As they show up, my response is to get out my sword and say ” I am a new creation in Christ. I am dead to worry(or whatever is showing up). It no longer has any power over me. I chose Christ alone and His way of thinking, doing and being.” This is what victory for me looks like.