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The Great Wave


Just last year, my Dad at the ripe age of 73 decided to take on the Atlantic Ocean. Playing in the waves, splashing the grandkids, and taunting my Mom with threats of water, Dad was carefree and focused on the family. He knew the risk of the waves, always warning us of the strength of the crash and the pull of the undercurrent. In these moments, Dad disregarded his own advice and challenged the surge of the water.


Amid the fun, my Dad was overtaken by a great wave. Not only did the wave knock him down and pull him out with the undercurrent, but also it stole his thick glasses. Luckily, he kept his swim trunks, but his vision was gone! The shock of the unexpected power of the wave rocked him. As he stood up with arms out to find his way, his balance was shaky. His confidence was frayed, and he was reminded of the power of the unexpected oceanic wave.



His story reminds me of another wave that I often underestimate. Anxiety may allow us to keep our clothing (our routine, our home, our people) but it has the potential to steal our courage, our confidence in approaching life’s ocean. It leaves our vision blurred. Things can become very unclear and confusing. The personal things that distract us might be daily punches in the gut– weight, finances, health problems, jobs, acceptance, reputation, kids, grief, the future….right now, even the present. Let us not forget that we do, however, have control over some of these catalysts. Things like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, gaming, the news (whether CNN or FOX), movies can stir the wave of anxiety within us as well. Anytime we choose an entertainment or a person, we acquiesce to the response that choice grows within us.


Knowing myself well, I can describe my default response like this:

My anxiety is triggered. I begin to overthink and overanalyze which leads me to fear. The fear transforms itself into tears that lead me to a prayer of desperation at the feet of God’s mercy. It is at this beautiful throne that I am finally reminded of my worth and respond to His love with a prayer of worship. The safety of worship leads me to confession and finally, I arrive at peace.


Here's what God's Word says:

Whenever my busy thoughts were out of control, the soothing comfort of your presence

calmed me down and overwhelmed me with delight. Psalm 94:19 TPT


I was very worried. But your comfort brought me joy. Psalm 94:19 NIRV


When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19 NIV


Medication can help alleviate the impact of anxiety but even the most advanced treatment cannot prevent it. When Howard was undergoing treatment to slow the progression of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), we left the clinic overwhelmed so many times because of the emphasis on symptom management. We did not want to treat the symptoms. We wanted to repair and then, eradicate the disease. The MS was destroying his brain and we desperately wanted to find a way to stop it.


Friends, the finest, most compassionate doctors could not provide more than symptom management for Howard. The MS had its way and destroyed his brain. Anxiety has the same potential: destruction.


When my Dad was overtaken by the wave, it was without warning. He was unexpectedly thrown off balance. He knew the danger existed. He could have secured his glasses with a sports band but instead, he trusted his ability to withstand the strength of the wave.




That displaced trust cost him and those around him. He could not see and that, for whatever reason, meant he could not hear. Besides the familial tension, it cost my parents money and it cost all of us with him time. We were in unfamiliar territory and we had to hunt down replacement glasses that could be provided quickly.


Here's what God says:

You will not be subject to terror, for it will not terrify you. Nor will the disrespectful be able

to push you aside, because God is your confidence in times of crisis, keeping your heart at

rest in every situation.[b] Proverbs 3:25-26 TPT


Don’t be terrified by sudden trouble. Don’t be afraid when sinners are destroyed. The Lord

will be at your side. He will keep your feet from being caught in a trap. Proverbs 3:25-26

NIRV


Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will

be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared. Proverbs 3:25-26 NIV

Anxiety assaults us. There is no escape; it is as much a part of life as peace. Friends, we do not have to let it have its way within us. Talk to your Heavenly Father!


Talking to God does not have to be quiet or traditional. You can draw a picture. Color. Write a Scripture in calligraphy. Listen to worship music. Journal. Run. Take a nap. (Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is sleep.) Dream. Choose your thoughts and focus on Him! Focus on the good things.

We can reason, think, and choose. Use that power. Do not allow anxiety to push you down, take you under and cause you to lose what is most important – YOU! The world needs YOU, exactly you, and the world needs you confident from the inside out. That, my friends, is only available from God.


 

Take a minute to respond to the Holy Spirit. You might even want to write this talk-to-self from Scripture on an index card and carry it with you.


INSERT YOUR NAME, don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, INSERT YOUR NAME. Then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you, INSERT YOUR NAME, through Jesus Christ. So, INSERT YOUR NAME, keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always. INSERT YOUR NAME, follow the example of all that we have imparted to you and the God of peace will be with you in all things. Phillippians 4:6-9 TPT

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