Walking Our Faith: Hold onto this for the coming weeks | SummitDaily.com

Walking Our Faith: Hold onto this for the coming weeks

By Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
Walking Our Faith
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson

Before he left, Jesus promised:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” — John 14:27, NIV

I feel the anxiety in the air like that soft buzz of electrical wires. A constant in the background, barely perceptible but just enough to set me off balance.

What is there is to be anxious about? The election outcome. The spike in COVID-19 cases. The impact on our small businesses, on those who are looking for work, for affordable housing, for health care. And the emotional toll it’s all taking.

God said:

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. 

“Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” — Philippians 4:6-7, MSG

Seeking God through prayer is always the first and best advice. In good times and anxious times, seek God. When you have no one to speak to, God is listening, tell him all. When you’ve run out of words, God embraces you as you sit together in silence.

The 23rd Psalm is a beautiful consolation in anxious times. I believe it might also be a guide for the coming weeks. I hope you’ll allow me to take liberties using a modern translation (“The Message”) for inspiration:

God, my shepherd!
    I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
    you find me quiet pools to drink from.

When our mind whirls with worry, we need rest. Let’s go to bed an hour early, read an entertaining book instead of social media and get a good night’s sleep. Let’s eat healthy and not use binge eating or drinking to numb our anxiety.

True to your word,
    you let me catch my breath
    and send me in the right direction.

“True to your word” reminds me of the Bible, of course. The best way to catch my breath is to sit on the edge of my bed, pick up the Bible and read. 

Let’s read the 23rd Psalm, which I’ve included below, or the two passages above. Read these verses whenever you feel anxious, and memorize them if you can, so you’ll always have a reminder of God’s nearness.  

Even when the way goes through
    Death Valley,
I’m not afraid
    when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
    makes me feel secure.

Jesus promised:

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” — Matthew 28:20, NIV

While we isolate during COVID restrictions, we might feel lonely. Let’s remember, God is always with us. Let’s also reach out, pick up the phone and call or text a friend. Check in and see how they’re doing.  

You serve me a six-course dinner
    right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
    my cup brims with blessing.

When my head droops with discouragement, I take a piece of paper, and write down five things I’m grateful for. Let’s notice small blessings and write them down.

In the depths of depression, this simple daily practice changes my perspective. It clarifies what is important. It reminds me there are things I can control when life feels out of control.

Your beauty and love chase after me
    every day of my life.

Have we stopped noticing the everyday beauty? Let’s get outside three or five times this week and take a walk.

Let’s walk with purpose. Look up and around. Notice the sunlight on the mountains, the shadows cast by towering pines. Pay attention to the sound of birds, cars or, if you’re lucky, the sound of silence. Take a picture with your phone to create a memory. And then speak with God. Tell him how the day is going. Thank him for creating such a lovely world.

I’m back home in the house of God
    for the rest of my life.

Jesus said:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” — John 14:1

When I’m overwhelmed, I recall that time is like a river always pushing us forward. Let’s remain fully present to learn all we can.

This anxious time will pass, and our lives will flow forward, surrounded by God’s love and peace.

A psalm of David

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
     He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
     he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
 Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

 You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever. — Psalm 23, NIV

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking Our Faith” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and nonfiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at suzanne@suzanneelizabeths.com.

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