Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Have you ever been so self focused and so entitled that you felt anxious? I hadn’t even thought of anxiety being a consequence of selfishness until I was caught in the middle of the night unable to sleep crying because of materialistic stress in my life. You see, my husband and I had sold our house in the spring and moved in with my saint of a mother with our two young children and a newborn until we found our new place to call home. During that time I allowed myself to dream up the perfect place we could move our family into, but the search thus far was not fulfilling my dreams nor was it allowing me to keep much on my list of non-negotiables. So there I was, next to my loving husband and newborn, knowing my other children were safe and sound sleeping in the next room while staying at my moms house where she literally cooked us dinner every night and resorted to doing my laundry most days for no other reason than she loves us so well, and I was riddled with anxiety. In my prayers that night, I remember actually questioning God why we hadn’t found that dream house yet! It was my version of a toddler on the floor kicking and screaming for that second cookie after dinner. And that’s when God so gently led me to this verse above. I had read it a million times before, but my senseless eyes always glazed over the part that says “with thanksgiving”. In an instant my tears went from “I can’t do this!” to “I can’t believe you did this!”. I was literally surrounded by tangible proof of his generosity and I felt humbled in that moment that I had anything at all given my current frame of mind.
We’re coming up on Thanksgiving this week and I want to challenge you to look around you at all God has graciously ALLOWED you to have. That’s right, I don’t care how much is written on your paychecks, the things we have amassed on this earth have been allowed into our lives by a sovereign and loving God. Yes there are things we don’t have, things we have lost, and things we don’t want, but even if all you can thank Him for is salvation, that is enough. I wish I could say that I learned my lesson that late summer night and never suffered from selfishness that carried my heart into anxiety, (hello last weeks search for a new rug), but I have made a habit of starting all of my prayers with thanksgiving so that those worries hit me right where it hurts when I start naming all of the real blessings in my life I know I certainly don’t deserve. It goes against everything we’re told in this dog eat dog world to believe we can attain peace in our current circumstances, but Jesus gave us this promise of peace Philippians when we look for it and He never leaves His post.