Finding Perfect Peace

You don’t have to look far to find someone who struggles with anxiety.  Maybe you know several people in your church who deal with anxiety.  Maybe it’s someone in your extended family, friends, or work group.  Maybe it’s even someone in your home.  Or perhaps you are like me, and you’ve struggled with anxiety yourself–at least to some extent.

Finding Perfect Peace

According to this article from Elements Behavioral Health, here are 8 “facts” about anxiety and anxiety disorders:

  1. It’s normal to worry or feel anxious about some things in life.
  2. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States.
  3. There are many types of anxiety disorders:
    • General anxiety disorder (GAD)
    • Panic disorder
    • Social anxiety disorder
    • Major depressive disorder
    • Phobic disorders
    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    • Separation anxiety disorder
  4. Women have double the risk for anxiety disorders than men do.
  5. Anxiety disorders are often accompanied by other related disorders.
  6. Anxiety can cause or exacerbate physical illnesses.
  7. Anxiety may be hereditary.  (“Many researchers and medical professionals also believe there’s such a thing as inherited anxiety, while others think it has more to do with learned behavior than genetics.”)
  8. Anxiety can be managed and treated effectively.
    • Talk therapy (psychotherapy)
    • Coping strategies
    • Medication
    • Alternative therapies such as yoga, meditation and acupuncture

So apparently, as you probably already knew, anxiety is pretty common.  But what about for Christians?  What does the Bible say about it?

Philippians 4:6-7 says, “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.”

“Be anxious for nothing.”  That sounds like a command!  So even if “It’s normal to worry or feel anxious”, God is commanding us not to be anxious.  If you struggle with anxiety, you might be thinking, “Easier said than done!”  I get it, but the Word goes on to tell us what to do instead of being anxious.  (The world call this a “coping mechanism”.)

“In everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”  Whenever you feel anxious, STOP letting those feelings go through your head.  Get on your knees, if possible, and dive into prayer.  Tell God about all of your anxieties and ask Him for a solution.  Make your requests to God, instead of just worrying about them!  THANK God for being there, for being powerful enough to handle whatever it is that is worrying you.  Say that phrase out loud.  “God, You are strong and powerful.  You can handle this.”  Keep saying that phrase, until you believe it–even if that leaves you saying it for years!

If we do this, the Scripture leaves us with a promise!  “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Wow!  Now, you might be a skeptic.  That’s okay!  God says that you can’t possibly understand this peace, or how this peace is even possible!  You won’t understand it!  Quit trying to rationalize or understand it before you obey God.  You’re not going to understand, but you can begin to believe it if you will obey.  You can believe it, because when you obey–when you take your requests to Him and offer thanksgiving to Him, regardless of how you are feeling–HE WILL ALWAYS FULFILL HIS PROMISE!  If you are faithful to obey, you will experience His peace!  That’s a promise!

Lest you think that this one paragraph is all you have to lean on in Scripture, it’s not.  The Bible gives hope for you all throughout it’s pages.  Now, I’m not going to pretend that there might not be physical or hormonal imbalances that are causing your anxiety.  However, I will still say that God has an answer!  He might help you through His Word AND medicine, or through leading you to change your habits or even by changing the very circumstances that you are in.  Or he could just change your heart to one that is less anxious.  He can do that!  And He will change your heart if you will follow, obey, and seek the things His Scripture says.

Not long before Jesus died, He told His followers, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give it to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  (John 14:27)  Jesus left us His peace!

Psalm 94:19 says, “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.”  When you are anxious, He can comfort you and be a delight to your soul!

Matthew 6:31-34 says, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek.  For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Do you often get caught up worrying and feeling anxious about tomorrow, or next week, or next year, or even 30 years from now?  When our minds focus on all that has to be done, or all that could possibly go wrong, it’s nearly impossible to find peace.  But when we seek FIRST the things of God’s kingdom, God will take care of us.  He knows our needs.  Let HIM be the One to worry about them.  You just focus on today.

Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You.  Because he trusts in You.”

Is your mind stayed on the Lord?  Stayed.  That word means exactly what it says!  If your mind STAYS on the Lord–and doesn’t wonder from circumstance to emotion to worry to fear–but truly STAYS focused on the Lord, thinking of Him all throughout the day, then God will keep you in PERFECT PEACE.

PERFECT peace?  Not just a little corner of peace or a moment of peace.  Perfect Peace.  He will keep you there.  In perfect peace.  Why?  Because you trust in God.  When you trust in God, you will have peace.

Is your mind stayed on the Lord?  If not, this is where you begin.  Not in life change, or in seeing doctors, or in taking supplements.  God might lead you down that road as you seek Him, but don’t start there.  Start with the Lord, and trust that He is powerful enough to handle anything–even your anxiety.  Trust Him.  When we are weak, He is strong.


May your day find you in perfect peace, as your mind is stayed on the Lord!

A Heart that’s Entertained by Worldliness

Disclaimer:  I write this post not to convince anyone of the evil that is in one particular show, but to tell the story of what was deep inside of MY heart.  I do hope that each of you might examine your own hearts when it comes to your relationship with television, and allow God to show you any idolatry that may lie beneath the surface, as it did in mine.

During my sophomore year of college a dorm-mate lent me the first season of Gilmore Girls on DVD.  I breezed through it and LOVED it.  I began to faithfully watch every season as it came out on DVD, and I invested in purchasing the series.  By the time I got married, 8 years later, it had easily become my favorite show.  I watched the entire series on repeat.  I watched all 7 seasons, and when I finished the series finale, I’d wait a few days before popping season 1 back into my DVD player.  My husband watched an episode with me every few days, and he enjoyed the witty banter as well.

Over the years I had grown convicted about a lot of shows I watched, and had gotten rid of almost every movie I owned—but not my Gilmore Girls.  It seemed so much more wholesome than other shows.  There was a little worldliness in it, but compared to other shows—the sin seemed pretty light.  So I kept watching the series on repeat, year after year.


Fast forward a couple of years, and I became a mother.  The familiar dialogue became my background for nursing sessions and tummy time.  I started to become a little uncomfortable when my baby saw a bedroom scene, so I began skipping those (rare) scenes.  In spite of those few sinful scenes, I kept watching.

That fall we had a yard sale, and as I was going through all of my things, the Lord impressed on my heart that it was time to let go of my precious, beloved Gilmore Girls collection.  I put them in the box, and then took them back out.  I moved on to packing other things, and then came back to my stack, just to touch them and ponder their place in my life.  I couldn’t even picture my life without this show.

It had become a part of me.  All things in life related to an episode.  “There are no stupid questions” always brought out a “HOW does ink come out of pens?”  Preposterous stories were followed up by an “Oy, with the poodles already!”  ‘Running late’ was met with an urgent “Copper Boom!” as I ran through the house grabbing my keys and phone before heading out the door.  I could go on and on. I had basically become a Gilmore Girl, and this was precisely the reason I knew God was right.  I had to let go.  I needed to make time for Him.  Seek Him.  Listen to Him.  Let HIS Word become the part of my life that had been so impacted by this television show.

I boxed up my movies, and priced them to sell.  They went quickly. And what happens next?

Man, the devil is good.  Oh, he’s real good.  But God’s better.

The very next week my husband brought up the idea of cancelling our Netflix subscription.  I agreed.  That $8 a month could be better spent elsewhere.  And wouldn’t you know it….A week after our subscription ended, it was announced that Gilmore Girls was coming to Netflix!  I breathed a sigh of relief that God had led my husband to cancel our subscription before it happened.

A little over a year later, we moved to a new home and town.  Our pace of life changed, as did our income.  Top that off with a month of sickness, and boredom from lying in bed, and we decided to get Netflix again.  I determined not to watch an episode of Gilmore Girls, and for the most part I only watched any sort of show when my husband and I were relaxing together after putting our boys to bed.

I heard there would be a new season coming to Netflix.  I was intrigued, but I decided against watching it.  Then one day I got sick.  {Why does sickness always lead me into temptation?}  I was lying around with nothing to do, so I turned on an episode.  A few episodes in, I figured I’d just watch the whole series again ONLY ONE TIME before the new series came out.  So I could be caught up, of course.  I finished Season 7 the SAME DAY the new episode aired.  I was over-the-moon excited to watch WINTER and turned it on!

I quickly noticed a few things about it that were ‘worse’ than the original series as far as worldliness.  I kept watching anyway.  “It’s not too bad”, I told myself.  I watched all of Winter, and then Spring came on.  At this point, I was nursing my baby and my husband was sitting next to me on my couch.

The town all files into Miss Patty’s for another town meeting.  Taylor gets up and announces that they will have their first ever gay-pride parade in Stars Hollow.  My husband looks over at me, and suddenly all of the excuses in my heart didn’t sound so good anymore.  I wanted to say something to him that would prove it was okay to keep watching, but I fumbled over my words.  I just couldn’t justify it anymore.  I reached for my remote and turned it off.  We sat there in silence for a few minutes, and then we moved on with our day.

A few days later I was up late working on some things.  Everyone was in bed, so I turned on Netflix planning to watch an episode of House Hunters.  There it was staring at me:

Gilmore Girls.  A Year in the Life.
Continue Watching?

I arrowed over to House Hunters, then back to Gilmore Girls.  I was drawn in.  I loved these characters and their witty banter.  I loved the relationship they had with each other.  I wanted needed to know what had become of their lives.  I selected the show, and on it came—right back to the place I had left off.  They were trying to find more gays to march in their gay pride parade.  I assured myself it would be a quick and quirky scene, and that it would move on.  I kept watching.  And wouldn’t you know it?  I hear my husband coming into the kitchen to get a glass of water.  I feel a pit in my stomach, fumble for the remote, smash down on the “Return” button over and over hoping my husband doesn’t see.  I select House Hunters just as my husband peeks in.  My heart was pounding.  He didn’t see.

“Good night, honey!”  (Awkward smile.)

He didn’t see.  But God did.

I felt ashamed.  Why had I been continually drawn in?  Why can’t I seem to give up one TV show for the Lord?

I knew the answers to these questions, but it’s hard to admit out loud.  The truth?  I struggle with giving it up because I love it.  I struggle with giving it up because my heart is entertained by it.  It doesn’t matter that it’s a show that consists mostly of worldliness.  I still love watching.  In spite of the adultery, fornication, divorce, partying, and language.  In spite of an overall horrible message the show sends about marriage.  In spite of the message it sends about womanhood.  In spite of the message it sends about Christianity.  In spite of the message it sends about the purpose of life.  I still love it.  I’m entertained by it.  I’m entertained by a show that is 100% worldliness.  There’s really nothing godly about it, yet I watch it as if it’s virtuous—as if the characters are good.  God says otherwise.  God says, first of all, that there is none good (Romans 3).  God says, secondly, that I should have nothing to do with worldliness.  Yet here I am, year after year, still deeply invested in it.  It has just always been what I do when I’m sick or need a break from life.

But here’s the thing. When I’m sick, I hear the Holy Spirit within me, calling out, “Come to ME”.  When I need a break from life, I hear the Lord whisper, “Come to me…and I will give you rest.

I don’t need the show.  I don’t need the superficial relaxation that I get from these characters and their witty dialogue.  (I’m speaking to myself here!)  I don’t need it.  Instead, I need TRUE rest, and that’s only found in Christ.  I don’t need to finish watching Spring, or Summer, or Fall in order to satisfy my own curiosity about the “last four words”.  I can move on with my LORD—in the freedom that He gives over the bondage of sin.  I can walk away from characters that I used to love. I can turn from them to a God who is truly virtuous.  To a God I can depend on to walk with me daily, and to be with me just as this show has been for the past 13 years.

moments-remind-me-of-a-tv-showThis show had once been a part of my heart, the guiding principle for my every thought, and the relating point to every moment.  God wants that position now.  He wants my heart to be focused on Him.  He wants His Word to guide my thoughts.  He wants the moments of my life to remind me of truths from His Word—not of a quote from my favorite TV show.  He wants my heart—not just during my quiet time, but all through my day.

He wants a heart that is not entertained by worldliness, but is enraptured by His love, above ALL else.

“Do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day.”  -Proverbs 23:17

Rachel  🙂