Like most of you, I am incredibly busy this time of year. I’m directing two children’s musicals as well as trying to handle all the hustle and bustle of Christmas responsibilities in my personal life. Christmas has become so commercial, it’s sinful. It is very easy to forget the true meaning of the holiday.
I’ve also been dealing with a lot of muscle pain recently; so much so, I thought I was having a heart attack a few days ago. All of these feelings have been exacerbated by anxiety. Though I don’t always realize I’m stressed, I usually am. This is something I’ve been working on combating for years. One thing I’ve learned throughout the process of dealing with stress is the gift of choice.
Am I able to choose to make all the stress go away on my own? No, I cannot. However, I can make choices to deal with the situation more effectively. When I’m feeling anxious, I always pray and quote scripture. Those two applications are essential ingredients in the recipe for peace. What helps me most is remembering that God is in control, and He has me busy for a reason. Giving Him glory in the midst of my stress causes His peace to rain down. Even though I work hard to put those elements into practice, sometimes my memory lapses and the anxiety overwhelms me. When it does, like it did the other night, I need to work on planting my feet firmly and standing strong.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” (N.K.J.V.)
I’m not necessarily in the year of drought like the scripture mentions, but anxiety still has the ability to come in like a thief. If I allow it, it will steal all my joy and peace. Even worse, anxiety has the potential to rob my fruit. In the above scripture the text reads, “but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.”
God has involved me in the ministries I am in for His purposes. If I allow anxiety to take over, I run the risk of being unable to be the vessel He wants me to be, and that could cause me to cease yielding godly fruit. I NEVER want that to happen. I need to make sure I’m trusting in God and never in myself or any other man. Do I need to learn to say no sometimes? Absolutely. However, that comes from differentiating between what God wants me to do, and what I want me to do.
As I write this today, I’m looking in the mirror and speaking to myself. Yet, I believe that as much as I need to hold fast to these principles, some of you out there reading this needs the reminder as well. Christ was born for us, and His birth is why we celebrate this season. Let us put our hope in Christ while remembering the joy and peace which came through His miraculous birth. When anxiety comes in like a thief, let’s choose to remember His goodness. Enjoy the life with which He has blessed you, and remember your purpose! Continue to yield fruit and be blessed!