Drop The Magnifying Glass

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Lord,

At sunrise, I bring all of my petitions to You and reflect on my blessings with a grateful heart. When I am reclined in my favorite living room chair, the thinking process is smooth, friendly and convenient. I even have the time to ask you to search my heart and allow extra time for you to speak, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Psalm‬ ‭139:23‬ ‭NIV‬‬.

My time with you at sunrise is a delight!

Philippians 4:6 reminds me of how important is to breathe, take a break, arrest all of my disturbing thought(s), surrender these troubling thoughts to Christ and pray with You in thanksgiving. Most importantly, you do not want me to be anxious about anything. You are already taking care of all the details and fighting the best battle on my behalf.

At times, it is an ongoing struggle to react well in the midst of adversity or when faced with the unexpected or a life-altering moment.

Do you ever struggle my friend? I hope your struggles are not as debilitating as mine. The ”what if’s” in life will bring high levels of anxiety and distress without a doubt.

I immediately anticipate the worst scenario when I intentionally answer all potential ‘what if’ questions. It is like holding a magnifying glass closely, searching for both irrelevant and relevant clues and creating my own, ‘Pelicula de Accion’, action movie with a dramatic plot and ending. Every time I am creative with an imaginary action movie, I imprisoned myself at a maximum-security prison.

Confined. Shackled. Helpless. No Freedom.

Lord, help me put my trust in you alone (‭Psalm‬ ‭56:3‬ ‭NIV)‬‬. Help me establish a steadfast, prayerful life. I want for prayer to be my immediate response to shocking news, unexpected circumstances, troublesome, threatening or disheartening information. I need your help. I cannot do this on my own.

Please forgive me, Lord,  for all of the times I have overreacted.

I lose perspective when I think about the worst scenario and even catastrophize at times. When I catastrophize or visualize a tragedy, I experience a full-blown anxiety attack. Shortness of breath, restlessness, heart palpitations and debilitating fear are some of the symptoms I typically experience.  If I cannot breathe well, I may not think clearly much less pray right there and then. At that point, I am no longer able to reflect on or apply truth to my personal circumstances.

I have to stop the “what if” line of questioning, my sweet friend! It is where it all starts before the decision-making process goes downhill.

Your truth reminds me that our emotions are fickle and the heart is deceitful (Jerimiah 17:9).

The Lord wants for us to think of whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable—“if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Recently, I freaked out over an email that I was expecting for quite some time. My emotions were hijacked when I held a ‘magnifying glass’ closer to the printed information on a web-article. The more information I read, the more “what if” questions I answered without any evidence.

Once my overwhelming emotions blurred my vision, I then anticipated the worst scenario when I read over the leader’s profile at work. Her track record in past performance was outstanding. She was a Judge in our local criminal court. She is highly respected and her flawless reputation was palpable. I was quite excited for this young woman to be selected for a three-year term. I kept reading the web-article for relevant details. When I read the word PROSECUTOR, it jumped out of the page and I completely lost it as soon as I visualized being cross-examined in our future, casual conversations at work.

“How irrational was that? Lord. I already had a movie plot with a dramatic ending ready to be published!

An irrational thought led to irrational emotion and before I knew it I was gasping for my next breath. By the time I finished reading the article, I was paralyzed by the high level of anxiety. Once my emotions were hijacked by the visualization of day-to-day cross-examinations, I felt threatened and fearful of the upcoming change at work. I literally thought the new leader in command would cross-examine employees outside of a courtroom. How irrational was that?  Friend, there is no need to answer. I bet Satan enjoyed every minute of my agony and emotional distress as I failed to pray and created my own short-lived, dramatic action movie after I had answered all of the potential “what if’s.”

I am not honoring Satan’s deceitful plans by answering any “what if,” the question. The enemy’s scheme is to plant the seed of doubt, confusion, and/or anticipation. I will probably stop, take a deep breath and change my focus next time I ever think of another “what if”. I plan on quitting this vicious cycle right there and then.

If you are an attorney, my friend, I have great respect for what you do. As a matter of fact, I have great working relationships with local attorneys and even served as an expert witness twice in the past. It was quite uncomfortable to be on the stand at first and I even disliked the motives behind cross-examinations. It is definitely outside of my comfort zone.

But God…

Your eternal perspective is my refuge. I stand on Your solid ground when I stand on your Truth.

Lord, may all of my meditations be pleasing in your sight! (Psalm 19:14).

You always hear my cries, petitions and it comforts me in the most debilitating circumstances (Psalm‬ ‭6:9‬ ‭NIV).‬‬

I am ready to ditch the magnifying glass so I may experience victory in Christ! You are the author of my Faith and the Prince of Peace.

In Jesus’ name, I boldly pray, Amen.

Photo: Marten Newhall @ Splasher

Let us sit next to Jesus:

Inscribe and Meditate

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the highest will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings, you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Highest your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With a long life, I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭91:1-16‬ ‭NIV

Memory Verse

“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.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭23:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Weekly Challenge

Every hour take a few minutes for breathing and stretching exercises.

When in distress, stop, take a break and breathe immediately. Then, pray to our Lord. He is our Refuge and Prince of Peace.

Prized Treasure Chest.

“I consider your prophecies to be my greatest treasure, and I memorize them and write them on my heart to keep me from committing sin’s treason against you.” 

Psalms 119:11 TPT

Lord,

The devil is the father of lies and is quite crafty! He plants doubt in my mind when I’m vulnerable or in distress. John 8:44 describes the devil as a ‘murderer’ who never believed in your truth. I refuse to be his victim in his next crime scene. Help me get ready for everyday battle, Father. Let the enemy’s wicked schemes melt away once and for all!

The heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9) and cannot be fully trusted when there are confusion and mixed emotions. Help me not trust my emotions completely so I do not overreact,  and make hasty decisions in the midst of controversies or in the midst of persecution or never-ending temptations. I refuse to be taken into captivity or fall back on Satan’s trap or fall into empty deceit of human traditions (Colossians 2:8).

Help me stand strong in Faith. Help me listen to your whispers of revelation. Help me guard my tender heart. So, no bitterness, unforgiveness or hatred take root deep in my heart.

Jesus, you are my everyday sunrise and sunset,  the beginning and the end. You are Peace.

30239A5A-84DE-467D-BBB1-7DDFD8541E56Courtesy of: Aleksandr Ledogorov @ Splasher

Your Word is a priceless jewel in my treasure chest. Your Word is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). Renew my mind at sunrise!

When I hide Truth in my heart’s treasure box, it is effortless to combat Satan’s tactics. Your living truth, sharper than any double-edged sword, makes an impact on one’s life.

Yes, Lord!

Help me focus on every Word you’ve carved in my mind, heart, and soul,

in Jesus’ name, I pray.

Amen.

Refreshed Soul

Life altering circumstances transpired and I soon realized I had drifted away from God’s wisdom and unfailing love.

Did I shut the door?!

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I was inconsistent with church attendance and Bible reading for a season in my life. I desperately needed His truth daily yet I had unintentionally drifted away from Him.

Life disappointments, busyness and overwhelming grief led to despair, discouragement and emotional pain.

I was in a desert with no living water!

One Sunday morning, Lord reminded me of His tender truth.

“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
‭‭Joshua‬ ‭1:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Daily Bible reading renews the mind, nourishes the soul and prepares us for combat and adversity.

The truth reminds us to meditate on scriptures day and night.

‘How do I get fit, Lord?’

He answered, ‘one day at a time’

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In the mornings, I complete a lesson from bible study, spend time in prayer and highlight the blessings of the day in a gratitude journal.

(30-45 minutes)

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In a 15 minutes break, I use S.O.A.P method when I select a Scripture verse.

S: Write a Scripture,

O: Write an observation,

A: How can I apply it in my personal life?

P: Write a prayer asking God for His will, guidance, and most importantly ask for wisdom.

I take advantage of the two ’15 minutes’ breaks at work.

At lunchtime, I read a Psalm or a Proverb for the day. It only takes another 15-20 minutes to read, reflect and pray over today’s lesson.

A 3-ring “Journaling” binder helps track the day.

Spend 15 minutes in an activity of your preference 3-4 times each day and

stay ‘refreshed’ all week.

I will never drift away from His wisdom much less ‘shut’ the door ever again.

His plans will always prevail!

It’s Saturday morning already!

 My husband is preparing a tasty omelet in the kitchen,

My sister is on her way back to Venezuela,

My second oldest boy is trying to settle down in his morning routine,

and,

I’ve got urgency to get ready for a brunch in less than an hour!

Living in the moment is strenuous when faced with life extinguishers, doubt and fear.

 It starts with a benign question, ‘what if…?’

By the end of the thought, I have colorful, vivid images of a catastrophe.

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It’s truly exhausting!

Strongholds can be debilitating without a doubt.

As I wrestled with life altering decisions,  I finally grasped a reality.

There are no warranties in life.

In my most recent decision, I just wanted someone to reassure me about the future.

I wanted everyone to say, ‘it’s going to be alright…You won’t fail’

I even wished for a descriptive manual with clear instructions in ‘how to’ succeed at the task.

Guess what?!

No one can foretell the future much less can tell you if the decision you are about to make is the most favorable one.

When I kneel before Him in humility and most importantly with a surrendered heart, He always leads the way.

As soon as I surrendered this morning, He reminded me of one of his truths.

Just know, the Lord’s plans will always prevail.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭19:21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

How peaceful does that sound?

It was comforting and reassuring!

Now, I’m ready for brunch.

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Refreshed!

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:22-23‬ ‭NIV

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How many times am I burden with uncontrollable anticipation about the future?

Dwelling on all sort of possibilities may indeed result in angst!

Anxious thoughts distract us from what’s relevant for the day; deadlines to fulfill, work tasks to complete, telephone calls to make, sick child to attend to, medical appointment to schedule, financial obligations to consider, an emergency to handle in a timely fashion and so much more.

Why be distracted with the ‘unknown’? Some events may never occur in a lifetime…

Every time I spend too much time exploring various scenarios, my energy is drained and mental efforts are taxed.

Will I have the clarity to manage my day effectively under distress? Probable not!

His Word refreshes my soul every morning, His angels protect me everywhere I go, and His compassion never runs out.

Every morning, I thank Him for my last breaths. He comforts me every time I’m in distress.

Thank You Jesus for being my comforter every morning! Your mercies are new every morning.

There is no need to ruminate on the past much less on the ‘unknown’.