Antidote to Worry

We worry about so many things . . .How will I get it all done this week? How will I pay the bills this month? How can I get back on my feet? What do I want to be when I grow up?  When will I finally get some much needed rest and peace? The good news is that God has the antidote to worry.

It’s great to plan ahead and dream of what we’d like to see happen in the future. Taking a stand against what is unfair can be important. But worrying and replaying it over and over in our minds can wear us out, though. Fretting acts as a toxin which can literally make us sick. Worry requires an antidote. What does Paul’s letter to the Philippians, chapter 4 of which could be nicknamed “the mental health chapter” of the Bible, reveal to us about it?

God’s Antidote to Worry

Prayer with thanksgiving is God’s antidote to worry.

“6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” Philippians 4:6-9 (NIV).

God’s Peace

The peace of God AND the God of peace are both included in the antidote to toxic worry. Our part is to choose well.

In coaching, I am always asking people “What stood out to you?” I have been referring people to this Scripture for more than twenty years but what stands out to me today is this. The peace of God AND the God of peace are both included in the antidote to toxic worry.

My part is to choose. I can choose not to be anxious. I can choose to pray. I can choose to give thanks. I can choose to ask God for what I need. I can choose to count on the peace of God then doing its part, guarding my heart and mind. I can choose to think about whatever is excellent or praiseworthy. I can choose to practice this as a lifestyle, knowing the God of peace WILL be with me. I can choose to count on Him.

We do not have to accept the vulnerability of prayerlessness. Thank God we are free to make new choices and are given grace to practice.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” Ephesians 6:18 (NIV).

TAKE IT AND RUN WITH IT


  • Now what about you? How badly do you want the peace of God and the God of peace as your own antidote to worry?
  • Prayer and anxiety are two opposing forces. Which one will you choose to align yourself with today?
  • What do you need to actively practice to develop this healthy habit?

Please feel free to share your thoughts to encourage others. Click on the speech bubble above to leave a reply…

Spiritual Vitamins: What is God Producing, Prompting, and Inspiring in You?

When God reveals a recurring theme in your life, what is He up to? How will you respond, sensing His perspective versus what the enemy may be trying to stir up?

As I sit in God’s presence this morning with His Word open before me, this light emanates from 1 Thessalonians 1:3 — faith produces work, love prompts labor, and hope inspires endurance.

What is God producing, prompting, inspiring in you? What motives — other than faith and love —must you surrender? What work or labor, not prompted by Him, do you need to abandon to make room for the real thing? Where do you need a fresh infusion of hope to endure regardless of the circumstances?

These are the questions I am asking myself this morning as I sit in His presence in the Light.

Wisdom from a Friend

I shared these thoughts with a few trusted friends, knowing they would stand for me and with me in prayer. Steve Ivaska responded, saying he is in awe of how God weaves people, circumstances, and scripture passages together as part of His master plan and is grateful for the reminder of truth. He gave me permission to share the words he penned on December 10, 2010, less than a month after retiring, just as he was beginning to explore the possibilities for living out his mission statement of “Building Men with Christ-Centered Priorities.”

We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers.  We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 NIV).

As I think about my personal objectives and mission, I need to see them unfolding as a “work produced by faith.” I cannot see what lies ahead clearly or the outcome.  It is and will continue to be a “journey of faith.”

Second, it is to be a “labor prompted by love.”  I need to keep this thought front and center…that my motivation needs to be solely that of love: for Christ, my family, and the men whose lives I seek to impact. This isn’t “about me.” It’s not about what I’m doing to fulfill my passion or use my talents or finding something meaningful to do with the rest of my life.  It about the two great commandments: love for my God…with heart, soul, and mind…and love for others (Matthew 22:37-39), using the time, talent and treasures he has entrusted me with.

Third, I must not lose sight that this is a “race of endurance.”  As I run the race and encounter the challenges within, I must not lose sight that the run is inspired by my hope in Christ, the Author and Perfecter of my faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, to make possible my salvation and the opportunities now in front of me.

God has already begun to answer my questions.

TAKE IT AND RUN WITH IT


  • Now what about you?  What motives — other than faith and love —must you surrender?
  • What work or labor, not prompted by Him, do you need to abandon to make room for the real thing?
  • Where do you need a fresh infusion of hope to endure regardless of the circumstances?

Please feel free to share your thoughts to encourage others. Click on the speech bubble above to leave a reply…

 

Feel God’s Pleasure

“I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” ~ Eric Liddell, Chariots of Fire

This little man I sculpted out of clay several years ago is not fully alive. He has no life in him and no ability to do anything. Yet, the mere fact that I created him brings me pleasure. When I hold him in my hand, I can’t help but smile.

You are probably familiar with Eric Liddell’s story from Chariots of Fire. It is such a great example of living out your God-given purpose and bringing Him pleasure in the process that we use it as an example when  teaching Essentials of Coaching to those who are training to become life coaches.

Check out this video clip to be inspired by the kind of picture that really is worth a thousand words… and ponder what it means for you at this time. It can be a valuable three and a half minutes for you as well as for anyone you choose to share it with… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPB7r0UpNIE   (excerpted from Chariots of Fire 1981; Eric Liddell: “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure”.)

TAKE IT AND RUN WITH IT


  • Now what about you? As far as you know at this time, who did God design you to be?
  • What did God design you to do that, as you do it, you feel His pleasure?
  • What does this mean for you in your current season of life?

Please feel free to share your thoughts to encourage others. Click on the speech bubble above to leave a reply…

 

Hopes and Dreams

A Life Coach helps you discover and celebrate your uniqueness… while drawing out your hopes and dreams.

“You’re the only you God made!  He made you and broke the mold!  No one can duplicate your life.” Max Lucado has a way of speaking truth that really hits home in his devotional, Only One You,

As my Dad approaches his 85th birthday within the next few days, I celebrate him being a humble man, a good, caring, playful, and strong man. He is a rare man who will shop rather than simply hunting something down and bagging it. Over the years, he has shown himself to be patriotic and loyal, no matter what. He and my mom have been married for more than 62 years, a testimony to the power of love in marriage. His is the truest kind of success… a man who is loved more than he could ever possibly know.

My favorite birthday question, known around here as ‘The Vicki Question’, is “What are your hopes and dreams for the coming year?” Dad knows it is coming… everyone in our family does. Yet it seems to catch us all off guard at the time it is asked. It draws out our desires… those wonderful things we hope for and dream of that may be outside of our ability and right to control yet are worth blowing out the candles to wish for. It can also draw out the goals we want to intentionally pursue that are powerful because they are God-given, clearly possible ‘as much as it depends on us’.

By the way, my birthday is one week after Dad’s and I must confess that I am a lot better at asking ‘The Vicki Question’ than answering it. Check back in next week to see what I come up with for this year. The birthday candle photo entitled “Stop Counting” is in honor of Dad’s big birthday and mine as well. Meanwhile, you may want to dig deeper into this Old Testament name of God as a starting point for celebrating…

  • When I know God as Elohim, The Creator, I can begin to accept others as they are.
  • When I accept Him as Elohim, My Creator, I begin to accept myself as I am.

TAKE IT AND RUN WITH IT


  • Now what about you? How will you discover and celebrate your God-given uniqueness?
  • What are your hopes and dreams for the coming year?
  • What are the specific goals you choose to intentionally pursue… as much as it’s up to you?

Please feel free to share your thoughts to encourage others. Just click on the speech bubble at the top of this post to leave a comment.

Be a Good Steward of Your Gift and Story

A letter from God that explains why in the world I would start writing a blog at this point in my life… after procrastinating for years…

“Be a good steward of your gift. Be a good steward of your story. These are not separate entities but two facets of stewardship. You are a spark of energy. That spark requires air, the freely moving breath of God at the right time and in the right amount to ignite and cause you to be on fire. Your gift of exhortation can be fanned into flames as you exercise the discipline of writing.

Through your own story and the Truth that God has revealed in your own life regardless of how you felt, you can come alongside many. You can stimulate their faith and affirm them in the ways others have affirmed you (or maybe even more importantly, as you hoped they would.) This will involve doing a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given and then sinking yourself into that. It will be God-breathed and you’ll love it even when it is difficult at times.

Don’t waste time on those wanting only temporary solutions. Don’t waste your energy on those who are not interested in being encouraged in grace. Be on the lookout for those who are open to your gift and who can benefit from your story. I AM the Lord your God. I will bring them across your path at just the right time. Seize the opportunity.

Your writing will crystallize for you the areas of practical application of My Word and will be a way of creating tools others can use to take it and run with it. As I told you many years ago, back when you thought I meant to write at that time, don’t worry about the details of how this will all come together. I have been working this process of encouragement out in your life for years and now’s the time for you to capture it before it eludes you again.

Look through your Bible for significant scriptures and dates. Intentionally bring back to your mind key concepts that have gotten you through tough times. Listen to your own testimony. People will relate to you in your struggles and benefit from your experience with Me. I will encourage them through you. The weight of it is on Me… and I can handle it.

You have seen me do this through you as you sink yourself into coaching, teaching, and group facilitation. You really have experienced being fully alive as we’ve partnered together. Now do you dare to believe that we can do this together? Remember that I went to great heights and depths to reclaim this plunder from the enemy for this very purpose… so you can use your gift to make a difference through insightful and creative ideas. Leave no room for doubt. People will grow as a result. They will move forward with Me. I will be glorified and you will be fulfilled. Don’t allow yourself to be discouraged by a perceived or anticipated lack of results. That particular harvest is up to Me and I truly believe you will be pleasantly surprised at what I can do with just plain Vicki fully surrendered to Me.”

With a letter from God like that, how can I not do this blog?

TAKE IT AND RUN WITH IT


  • Now what about you? What action are you inspired to take to be a good steward of your gift and your story?
  • What support do you need to put into place to make it happen… as much as it is up to you?

Let’s put our vision into action and enjoy this harvest together!