Bitter Seasons

You ever had one of those moments where you feel something dreadfully bitter coming and you are reluctant to speak it into the universe? Or you’re afraid the enemy will hear you and act upon it?

I’m so there.

Today has been one reminder after another of bitter seasons. I have been reminded at multiple turns about being thankful in hard seasons and how bitterness is not everlasting. Today has been one stressor after another. The enemy keeps meeting at every pass throwing things that really worry me right in front of me. Some of it, I’ve taken the bait on. Never vocalizing it, but just thinking through it and realizing that I’m stressed out. I feel the pain in my head as I worry and I try to focus on something else.

I’m not sure where I heard it, but at some point in my life, someone told me that if something was mentioned three times in the bible that God really wanted us to pay attention. Funny, that’s how worry is:

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Matthew 6:25, 34

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

John 14:27

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.

Side Note: In the NIV translation, worry is mentioned 13 times. Anxiety is mentioned 7 times (funny, because I thought this was a generational term). You can do additional word searches on the Blue Letter Bible site and get all sorts of good info. I love this site because it also takes you into the Hebrew words and various commentaries where you can dig deeper into what these mean.

I’m not a fan of gossip. I don’t think anyone likes to be on the receiving end of whispers and conversation where you aren’t involved. But, the kind of gossip I won’t mind is people asking what’s different about someone because they notice that something has changed. It’s important as we continue to grow in our walk with Christ that we share and reflect those changes outward. Eventually, people are going to notice and they’re going to ask questions about what is different with you. We have to live in such a way that people want to know who Jesus is. If we’re acting crazy and spewing trash or worrying constantly, we say nothing about God’s ability to take care of us and we give no reason for someone to want to know Jesus. Think about it. If someone doesn’t know Jesus and already feels like they’re doing well and may have occasional conflict, why would they want Jesus? What about Jesus is so much better if their life feels okay already?

I love this image. I love it because I say it all the time, but I say it a little differently. I think this image gets it a little bit wrong, too. We need to not just BE the Bible that unbelievers read (yes, that’s important), but so often, people are turned off by Christianity because BELIEVERS act ridiculous. Sometimes, we need to be the only Bible that everyone reads…believers or not.

I’ve been reading a lot about oligodendroglioma, regrowth, medical advances, and survival statistics. I went through my medical bills today to look at what they did in that operating room (which is fascinating). What I remembered as I was going through this was how stressed out I was before I went back and how absolutely grateful to God I was alive once I woke up. I remember once I opened my eyes (or once I was coherent enough to remember) praising God for the miracle of waking up. I look back every now and then on pictures and realize how hard it was and how far I’ve come in 7 weeks. I know the toll this has taken not only on me, but my family. I also know that I’m not out of the water. I’ve spent the day calculating how much time I have left on my mortgage against those survival statistics. I’ve spent the day adding up how many years the average life span for this cancer is compared to when my kids graduate. And then I worry.

But, you see, God is faithful. He’s been in my head all day. I get a few minutes into worry and I keep hearing “I’ve got this. Let go.” And I do. I stop worrying about how the bills will get paid, how I will afford medicine, how much has regrown, or about my upcoming MRI. And I start realizing I have a real opportunity to tell a story He wants me to tell.

If you look back at this blog, I don’t write a lot every day. But, today, I kept opening up the page and I just let God do the talking. Maybe it’s for me. Maybe it’s for someone else. Maybe someone reading this page is super worried about things and needs to not worry. Whoever you are, God knows what’s going on and He’s got this. Let go of it.

Things of this world are material. And yes, we stress about them. We worry about paying our mortgage, paying our bills, sending our kids to school, and much more. God is so much bigger than that. God is in control of all of that.

Luke 12:22-26

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

God provides even to ravens. I dislike ravens. They are scavenger birds that haunt my chickens on the farm, but if God takes care of even things like this, I am quite certain He will take care of me, His most precious creation. I’m far more valuable than a raven. And you are, too.

Worry is one of those things that just wastes time. It takes focus off of God and puts into (often) material things or emotions and things that are of this very temporary world. Yes, it causes stress, but so often we forget that God, the Creator of all things, your Father, can do all things. As with the popular saying, Let go. Let God. Now to let God take my headaches, too.

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