Peace Instead of Anxiety
I was reminded the other day about how “instant” everything is for us in our society today. And, how anxious we can become when something takes longer than we think it should. What brought this to mind was an old television show. The show, one of the many “whodunit”-type detective shows that have been popular, was originally shown over forty years ago. As I was watching, it occurred to me that I was seeing each of the scenes from today’s perspective and comparing how much longer most things were taking because they were without today’s technology. And, interestingly enough, I found that I was becoming anxious; not because the writers of the show had done such a good job of building the suspense, but because things weren’t accomplished quickly enough! Let me explain. In one scene you see a man walking away from a house and towards his car. He is carrying a heavy load that he wants to deposit in the trunk. The walkway from the house to the car is quite long and therefore takes a lengthy amount of time to cover. But, this tension that the writers build into the script is not the cause of my anxiety. You know, thoughts like, “Will someone get there and see him?” “Will he get caught?” These are some of the thoughts the writers of the show want you to think. So, what causes MY anxiety? The trunk is still closed when he gets to the car. The entire time he was walking towards the car I keep waiting on the trunk to pop open. After all, it would be so much more efficient if he had a remote for his car so that while he was coming down the walkway he could simply press a button and his trunk would be open and waiting for him when he got there. But, no he has to put down his heavy burden, find the right key, and unlock the trunk. What a waste of time!
So, while I’m watching this show I notice that I begin to tense up a bit and my thoughts become somewhat obsessive (He has to get to that trunk quickly and hide the body! Why is it taking so long to find the right key and open the trunk?) I was anxious. Do you ever feel like that? Like things are not moving fast enough for you; answers to prayer aren’t coming as quickly as you feel they should? Do you get anxious while you are waiting? Do you feel tense, worried, nervous, apprehensive, jittery, or irritable? Do you find that your thoughts race around your mind like a whirling dervish? Do you obsess on what you want the answer or outcome to be or what you fear it will be? If this is you, then stop for a moment. Put your hands out like a traffic cop and say, out loud, “STOP.” Look at a stop sign or draw a red octagon with the white letters that spell STOP on a piece of paper. Stop and look around you. Look closely at your surroundings: the color of the walls (or the interior of your car), the windows and the scenery just beyond them, the contrasts of light and dark. Feel the different textures at your fingertips: the texture of the fabric of the seat upon which you are sitting, the hardness of the cell phone casing, the softness of the shirt you’re wearing. Breathe in and identify what you smell: fresh air, freshly cut grass, the smoke from a bonfire, supper cooking, the fragrance of the tea in your glass or the coffee in your cup, exhaust from the vehicles that surround you in traffic, the perfume or aftershave you are wearing. Listen to the sounds around you: the sounds of your computer, an airplane flying nearby, children waiting at the bus stop, the ticking of a clock, a car horn. Then, talk…to God. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you,” I Peter 5:7. Tell Him about your concerns, desires, hopes, dreams, fears, anxiety, and doubts. You see, Satan is the author of confusion, doubt, and uncertainty, not God (I Corinthians 14:33a, “For God is not the author of confusion…”) and God can offer peace (the next three words of I Corinthians 14:33 state, “but of peace”. God is not the author of confusion. He is the author of peace.) “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:7. Read this last passage carefully. The peace of God, not the chaos, confusion, doubt, worry, or anxiety, but the peace of God shall keep…what? Shall keep your “hearts” AND “minds”. And aren’t the heart and the mind where all these problems begin? Yet, God promises that His peace will keep our hearts and minds through Jesus Christ. I don’t have to be in control. I don’t have to try to keep peace in my heart or mind. God has already made provision for this. I don’t know about you, but I feel more relaxed just thinking about God’s peace, His perfect peace, and knowing that He will apply that peace to me…to my heart and my mind.
If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Savior, then make today the day you accept His free gift of salvation. (“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23; “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 6:23; “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” Romans 10:9; “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” Romans 10:13). Come to know Christ today so you, too, can have your heart and mind kept by the perfect peace of God, that peace that can’t be explained and that passes all understanding.
Do you want to trade anxiety for peace, chaos for calm, confusion for serenity? Come to Christ today and let the peace of God keep your heart and mind.
The Story Behind Shredded, a Novel on Overcoming
Kimberly Rae's new book, Shredded, isn't your typical Christian fiction novel. One of Shredded's main characters is a former prostitute whose new faith scandalizes and then changes a dying church. One of the people changed is Jean, who has been trapped for fifteen years by the dark secret of another's sin.
Long ago, Rae was inspired by Francine River's book, Redeeming Love. When her friend told her, "This book changed the way I see God," Rae knew that was the kind of book she wanted to write. Not just an entertaining and exciting story, but one that made a difference.
The idea for Shredded came during a church service. As the pastor told the story of the woman in Luke 7 who wept on Jesus' feet and wiped them with her hair, Kimberly wondered what would happen if such a story were to happen in a modern context, on a larger scale. Who would respond like Jesus? Who would respond like the judgmental religious leader? And what would happen to the woman forgiven much? As Rae imagined a known sinner walking down the church aisle, the things from her former life filling her arms and spilling over to drop onto the aisle, she imagined the shock on the faces of traditional church members and had a hard time not laughing!
The story grew to include romance and suspense, but you'll have to read the book to find out what happens...
You can order autographed copies of Shredded at www.kimberlyrae.com. Also available on Kindle.
What Readers Are Saying About Shredded:
…this book really blew me away!..All the emotion, the drama, the romance and tenderness, the action, adventure. I couldn’t wait to see what happened but I didn’t want it to end either. I really can’t say enough good things about it and how much I enjoyed it. WOW!… I was nervous with anticipation and crying and so caught up in it all. I had to put the book down to give myself an emotional break. … I rarely cry over books, but I think that other than Karen Kingsbury, [Rae is] the only other author that has made me cry while reading a book. -Sue
Warning!! You won’t want to put it down once you get started!! ….there’s no stopping. Awesome, awesome book!!!! -Sue
Shredded was compelling, convicting, and compassionate at once…a deeply disturbing reality packaged with grace, humor, and a sweet love story. I couldn’t put it down. -Joy
I think this is [Rae’s] best book yet. It is so relative to today’s church and how we treat people. It is a wonderful mix of relationships, interwoven with suspense and love. It is a must read for anyone who thinks their past defines them and gives them no hope, whether they are a victim of human trafficking, child abuse, or just bad decision making, because Jesus can wipe the slate clean. -Wanda
A Slingshot and a Frog
One of my grandsons turned seven years old recently. Seven is a delightful age. Life is full of adventure at seven. Everything around you seems new and wondrous at seven. When you’re seven your imagination is in full bloom, the world is yours to explore, and only the sky is the limit when it comes to what you can do. When a boy is seven, he can be a super hero, have super human strength, transport himself from one place to another without being held to the boundaries of the universe. He can fly without wings, swim the deepest ocean, and victoriously fight the strongest foe! At seven, you can conquer the world, but you still have to obey your mother and come in at dark.
I mention these sobering facts because, well… because this is a part of life. A seven year old does not think or reason as an adult. They do not make decisions like an adult. They do not base their decisions on adult knowledge or assumptions. A seven year old does not stop to consider all of the consequences of his actions, behaviors, thoughts, or intentions. A seven year old can be in his own world of imagination and exploration and not consider how something he does will impact other people or things around him. His concern is the scenario he has in his imagination. He doesn’t necessarily mean any harm to anyone or anything else. He simply is acting out what is in his imagination. And, as a byproduct, he is learning what he can and can’t do; what will and won’t work; how the laws of nature work in response to his actions; what his limits are; and what others, especially the adults in his life, will allow him to do.
You probably have guessed by now where I am going with this based on the title. You see, one of the many presents my seven year old grandson got for his birthday was a slingshot. He likes to see how far something will go; how high something will fly. He likes to propel things in the air to see what happens and then go and explore the results when it thuds to the ground. So, a slingshot seemed to be a fitting present. He can propel things farther and higher with a slingshot than by hand. The resounding thud at the end of the journey is louder than if something is thrown by hand. The satisfaction greater. So, after all of the presents have been opened, the giver of the presents properly thanked, the cake eaten, and the guests begin to leave, he takes the slingshot and heads to our back yard. I use the term backyard loosely. We have a screened in porch, then a concrete apron that leads to a partially submerged above-ground pool and the shed next to it. There is a small pond (man-made) toward the middle of our back yard area and a small area of grass and trees that houses my husband’s boat and all of this is enclosed in a chain-link fence. Behind us are lots of trees in some perpetually moist low-land. As you can see from this description, there aren’t a lot of rocks in our back yard. But, one thing we have in abundance, especially this time of the year (spring) is frogs.
My husband walks out back as our grandson is attempting to fit a frog into the sling. I can only imagine the thoughts that must have been going through this seven year old’s mind at the time. I mean, why throw a boring old rock when you can sling a frog! Frogs jump pretty high on their own – this way, the frog can go even higher, even farther, this ought to be neat! I’m sure some of this had to be in his seven year old thoughts. But, like having to obey your mother and having to come in at dark, the seven year old was bound by the laws of grandPaul; you can’t sling a frog from your slingshot.
At this point, telling a seven year old the science behind the adult reasoning will appear to fall on deaf ears. Yet, telling him that the velocity at which the frog will be propelled due to the slingshot is greater than if the frog jumped on its own, that the landing will be so much harder on the frog than if he had jumped on his own, and that the damage that will be caused to the frog will be great and could cause permanent disability or death is essential. This is one of the ways in which the seven year old will learn his limits; will learn to critically consider his own actions and behaviors in the future; will help him make better decisions in the future; will help him appreciate life and living for all, not just himself. Taking the time to explain this will lay the foundation for future learning and isn’t this a large part of what parenting is all about? Teaching right from wrong and good from bad, guiding, training, providing appropriate limits and boundaries while allowing for exploration and imagination – this is all a part of the parenting process.
So, the next time you see a seven year old attempting something you consider odd or damaging, your first thought may be to stop him – immediately. (And since this is probably an appropriate response, follow through!) Your next thought may be, “What was he thinking?!” (This is pretty average considering we are thinking with an adult brain and not a seven year old’s thinking process.) But then, if you’ll stop long enough and remember what it was like to be seven, remember what it was like to live in your imaginative world full of the wondrous exploration of all things, then maybe you’ll take the time to patiently explain your decision to the seven year old and then help him find more suitable ways to satisfy his imagination and creativity. Because, after all, this is what being seven is all about!