Wednesday, August 22, 2012

LIFE LESSONS: Anxious For Nothing



LIFE LESSONS: Anxious For Nothing
by Toni Spaulding


"I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me - 
[I am ready for anything and equal to anything
through Him who infuses inner strength into me,
that is, I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]."
Philippians 4:13AMP



I am a worrier by nature! Even as a child, I was overcome with worry. I had a very good childhood, loved and well cared for by my family, but health issues caused me pain and sorrow. The first time I recall being in the hospital, I was 7 years old. I was having surgery and I was so scared!

Our physician and his wife were family friends. They were so kind and reassuring. Just seeing them in the hospital the day of my surgery was comforting. Before they took me to the operating room, Mrs. Brandt, the doctor’s wife came to see me. She kissed my forehead and said, “You won’t remember anything except sweet dreams. Just breathe and count backwards from ten to one.”

This memory is as vivid today as it was fifty-six years ago. Then the smell! Ether! That was nasty stuff and it smelled horrible. I only counted, "Ten. Nine. Eight," and I was out like a light. She was right. I did not remember anything but eating ice cream the next day.

 
That hospital experience started my journey of fear. As a Christian, this has been my thorn in the flesh. I have struggled time and again over this issue and have prayed more prayers of surrender than I can count. Still I find my heart unsettled, struggling to conquer this demon. As I read Philippians, my spirit is comforted knowing I have nothing to fear, the Lord is with me moment by moment. It really is all about Him. We are not capable of living for Jesus without the inner infusion of strength that He gives.

There is an old book that I have read several times that addresses this demon of fear. Hinds Feet In High Places by Hannah Hurnard is an allegory about the Fearing Family. The main character is Much Afraid. Much Afraid desires to go to the High Places but is too fearful. She knows the journey will be difficult. She has followed the Chief Shepherd for a very long time and He wants to lead her to these places. But Craven Fear is always around the corner, convincing her it is no use, she will never make it to the High Places because she is too crippled to make the climb.
 
I can relate to Much Afraid. My worries are numerous. I am sure yours are too. I like to spiritualize the name of worry and call it "concern". I have found that victory in my walk with the Lord has always come more quickly when I “call it like it is”. Honesty before the Lord matters. Here I am again, today, praying and confessing that the demon of fear got the best of me.
"Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition [definite requests], with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. (Philippians 4:6AMP)"
I don't know what demons of despair you are dealing with today. I really don't know exactly how to pray for you. What I do know is that we can all boldly approach God's throneroom. Christ has paved the way for us. God already knows our concerns. Let's go to Him, separately and collectively, presenting our petitions with the expectation that He will hear and respond. We can do this through His Spirit. I will pray for you! Will you pray for me too? I love you so! ~Cindy



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It's a pleasure to introduce you to Toni. Our paths have crossed in many arenas over the years, most of which were ministry opportunities. I know for a fact that she cares deeply about others and loves to serve God. She is an active servant of the Lord.

Toni has been married to Dave for 43 years and a pastor's wife for 32 years. They have two married children, Dawn and Jonathon, and four grandchildren.

Toni has been the owner/operator of Curves in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, for the past 12 years. Curves has been an amazing ministry opportunity, allowing her to reach out to women in need. She also serves as Director of Women’s Ministry at Mount Vernon First Church of the Nazarene.

She is a Woven Woman!

2 comments:

  1. Beautiful thoughts on fear and worry. My struggle is with the fear to follow God's path for me. I keep telling myself it's a ridiculous fear, but still it lingers, despite the small victories that have already occurred when I have died to my fear when He has asked! Thank you for the reminder, Toni. I needed that.

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  2. Toni, I needed those words you wrote this morning, I have been very anxious and reading your beautiful words bring comfort and peace. I love the video that Cindy added, it is so comforting. I am so grateful to be part of this glorious group of women, such a blessing to have you all in my life. Praise you Jesus! SallyAnne Trissel

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