When Anxiety and Distractions Rage
“If you aren’t experiencing spiritual warfare, then you’re no threat to the enemy.” -Lee Nienhuis
Coming off the spiritual high from having 200 women participating in our three-day challenge on devotional writing, the Scriptures I read in my quiet time left me in awe! These verses led me to clearly see the push-back we experienced leading up to last week’s virtual event.
As the team gathered from Florida, Washington, Colorado, California, Arizona, and Michigan we had mounting connection issues. This resulted in losing our connection in the middle of my interview with Janet McHenry in the VIP session. Even with an ethernet (land line) connection with 5G internet, it still went down. A moment of panic came over me and I anxiously began to try everything I could to get reconnected.
Would the internet come back on?
Could I use my hotspot?
Did it shut down the entire ZOOM?
Would our team be able to step in?
My frustration was peaking as myself and the other instructor with me attempted to reconnect.
Reading my YouVersion scripture brought me back to this moment as I read the verses from 1 Peter 5:6-9a.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith…
I began to see a progression that was fascinating bringing me back to that moment filled with anxiety when we were without internet.
Peter reminds us we can cast all our anxieties on Him because He cares for us. He continues to admonish us to be sober minded and watchful because the enemy is on a mission to devour us. We need only to resist him, firm in our faith.
First, I saw the action steps to take.
We are to…
1. Humble ourselves,
2. Cast all our anxiety on Him,
3. Be sober minded and alert,
4. Resist our adversary,
5. Stand firm in our faith.
I dug into the Greek word for anxiety (merimna), I found it to mean “through the idea of distraction.”
Dictionary.com showed me that anxiety is distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune.
As I looked at synonyms and antonyms for anxiety and distraction … WOW, I was blown away.
SYNONYMS: dread, mistrust, panic, fretfulness.
ANTONYMS: confidence, peace, trust.
SYNONYMS: confusion, agitation, disorder.
ANTONYMS: calm, order, peace.
I see how disorder and confusion distracts us from trusting God, and how the enemy’s lies cause dread, panic, and fretfulness. Yet, when the enemy stirs up anxiety, God tells us exactly what to do with it!
Cast it ALL on HIM because He cares for us!
When we obey Him in that, He brings peace, calm, and order.
Acts 19 reminded me that those who surrendered to Christ threw away anything associated with the magic arts and the kingdom of darkness. As I reread that chapter, I could only shake my head. The verses following those dramatic conversions include a riot breaking out in Ephesus.
Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. (Acts 19:32)
Confusion is the obvious outcome when God’s Kingdom is going to be built up and Satan’s kingdom threatened. Confusion is his M.O. (that’s distraction, remember?).
The second scripture I studied put it all in perspective bringing it full circle…
For the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you, against your enemies, to save you. Deut. 20:4
What I saw in that short little verse were 3 action steps:
1) Do not be afraid of the army you are up against,
2) Do not be faint hearted or afraid,
3) Do not be alarmed or terrified.
1) The Lord your God IS WITH YOU,
2) The Lord your God GOES WITH YOU TO FIGHT FOR YOU AGAINST YOUR ENEMIES,
3) He goes with you to GIVE YOU THE VICTORY.
When it seems like the enemy is winning, keep calm. Choose to trust Him as the One who will rescue you! Hurl all the anxiety the enemy is trying to stir up onto Him.
We must understand clearly what his agenda is as we firmly say “NOPE” to the enemy and “YES” to God! Shifting confusion to confidence as we stand firm in our faith.
Back in Washington with the internet still down we waited. After just over a minute or two, although it seemed much longer, the signal popped on and we scurried to jump on and enter the Zoom. The teaching was going on as if we had been there all along. Shelly had noticed we disappeared and was able to pick up without missing a beat.
The enemy may have some power as he uses tangible things like an internet outage to confuse and distract us. But, he will never have power to thwart God’s work. We can do this! Because He is faithful to be with us, fight for us, and give us the victory!
Do you find the enemy stirring up anxiety in your heart, insinuating that your God cannot be trusted? How do you resist him in times like that?
Thanks for spending time with me today!
Welcome, I'm Athena!
I start each day by tithing the first hour to the Lord in prayer, reading the word, doing word studies of the Text, and asking God how I can live out what I am reading. This time is usually met with meditation on devotionals that are usually written by dead guys like Oswald Chambers, CS Lewis, Charles Spurgeon, AW Tozer, and Andrew Murray.
Right now, I’m reading a daily devotional with a friend called Tozer on the Almighty God for my focus for the day. It's fun to see individually what pulls us in to spur one another on to good deeds!
The Bible is filled with action steps to walk out in practical and intentional ways. This sets my day in motion to walk it out! I hope this is your heart, too.
Consider this a personal invitation to join me in this journey!