How Satan Uses Anxiety to Distract Me from my Faith

How Satan Uses Anxiety to Distract Me from my Faith

I'm Lori! My husband and I have been married since 2008. We adopted our son in July and live in Memphis, TN. One of the things I love about Creating a Great Day is that it is focused on inspiring women to the woman that God wants them to be. Every woman is different, and we all have talents to honor God and walk alongside each other in this spiritual journey called life. Have a blessed day!
Lori S

Anxiety has affected my physical, emotional, and spiritual health. It has negatively impacted relationships and interfered with my connection with God. For the longest time, I thought it was all my fault. Then the blame game started.

With some of the “well-intended” advice I’ve heard, it’s not hard to start blaming yourself. Statements like these always haunt me:

  • “Relax, don’t worry so much.”
  • “You can’t have a good relationship with God if you are anxious.”
  • “You should just trust God more.”

Misguided Efforts to Reduce Our Anxiety

In attempts to reduce anxiety, we actually combine our anxiety with guilt and shame. Anxious questions turn into doubt. Doubt turns into fear of the unknown or unexpected. This fear allows negative, emotional statements to develop that we then internalize. This twisted sense of reality can create a treacherous mindset about ourselves and the world around us.

Over the past three years, multiple changes happened in my life. Job changes, adopting our son, becoming a mother….all of these changes are blessings, but they can also invite anxiety. I’ll admit, I’m tired of fighting this battle within my mind and heart. So, I started to reflect on why anxiety is so interwoven in my life, no matter how hard I try to “get rid of it.” I realized that my anxiety, at any time, distracts me from being the woman of God that I need to be. It keeps me from pursuing the fruits of the Spirit to engage with God, my family, and my community.

Satan is Behind Anxiety

What is the best way to get to women? Get them to doubt (or question) their role. Get them to shame themselves and lose sight of who and what is really important. Here is the key reflection. Who truly benefits from my disconnection from God? Satan.

One of my faith mentors reminded me that Satan is among us, trying to intervene in our family’s walk with the Lord. Ladies, let’s stop trying to fight the internal battle of shame, anxiety, and doubt. Let’s call anxiety out for what it is: one of the best ways for Satan to distract us in our faith. I want to be clear. There are things that I know I should do to work on my anxious behaviors. I should reflect on our lives, identifying ways in which I can deflect the Enemy. For far too long, I (and other women) have owned our anxiety a little bit too much. We have made it so much about ourselves that Satan is rejoicing in our negative emotions and distractions from God.

Do you recognize these verses?

All of these verses focus on worry, anxiety, and/or trusting God. For someone who has struggled with anxiety for years, these verses always shamed me. I felt like I was living a good Christian life, then these verses hit me like a sack of bricks. They knocked me down right to the starting line again. Anyone else feel this way? No matter how much you try to connect with God, these verses shackle you in shame?

A New Way of Thinking

Let me invite you into a new way of thinking. Don’t be shackled. Be set free. Remove your current lens on your anxiety and replace it with the lens that sees anxiety in its proper focus. It’s just another way for Satan to win a battle. It’s another way for him to get you thinking more about your bills, your relationship, your children, etc. more than your relationship with God. Anxiety is another way for him to interfere with the life journey you are on with the One who gives you peace.

During our first adoptionRomans 15:13 encouraged us so much. It says,

“May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

romans-15-13

Let’s be women who overflow with hope and be filled with joy and peace. Be set free. Connect with other sisters in Christ. Lean on them for support. Go to counseling, as your anxiety may be stemming from other unresolved adverse events and/or trauma. Talk with your significant other, as dealing with someone with anxiety is extremely challenging. And most important of all, pray for God to fill you with peace as both of you work to prevent Satan from infiltrating your life.

Peace, Prison, and Victory

Peace, Prison, and Victory

Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
Tracy Watts

When worry strikes, it seems little at first.

But slowly, it creeps in and begins to wrap its tentacles. You begin to feel a hard knot in your stomach. The anxious tension in your shoulders. The nausea and restlessness. You toss and turn at night. You can’t seem to find the rest and refreshment that comes from sleep because sleep is nowhere to be found.

Worry isn’t peaceful. Worry breeds discontentment, doubt, and disorder.

And yet, doesn’t God offer peace?

Peace despite worry, despite trials, despite ourselves.

I look at Peter in Acts 12 and marvel at his apparent peace. There he is, imprisoned between two hardened Roman soldiers. He is bound with chains, with more sentries guarding his door, and yet, he falls asleep!

Instead of sleeping in peace, he could have stayed awake and worried, or do the things I might do when I worry. Peter doesn’t argue with God. He doesn’t ask God to rescue him or to ease his trials. Nor does he lose faith or lash out in anger or irritation. And he certainly doesn’t start cleaning things that didn’t need cleaning!

In fact, Peter seems so at peace that he is able to fall deeply asleep. He is so deeply asleep that an angel with heavenly light coming to his cell doesn’t awaken him! In fact, the angel has to both call him and basically whack him in order to wake him up!

Now that’s assurance. That’s real trust.

And Peter’s immediate reaction afterward helps teach me about how he got that peace in the first place. He obeyed God’s messenger immediately, he gathered with God’s people to share the things God had worked in his life, and he went to the work God had called him to do.

Peter had no illusions about what might happen. Death, torture, and imprisonment were much more an understood probability in the life of the Christian then. And he had the humility to think at first that what he saw that night was only a vision from God.

After all, why would God rescue Peter?

Why would he rescue any of us, for that matter? And yet he does!

1 Corinthians 15:57

That victory, that peace is only found in Christ. No, we don’t deserve or even sometimes expect it. And yet, it is there for the taking, if only we follow Him.

May you step out in faith and trust to experience that peace today too.

 

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

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The Dark Day and the Emerging Light: The Day I Found out about My Husband’s Porn Addiction

The Dark Day and the Emerging Light: The Day I Found out about My Husband’s Porn Addiction

We stood there on opposite sides of the garage staring each other down. Letting the question hang there. Knowing the next few words from his mouth could–no, would–change everything.

In that moment, I doubted why I had asked. He hadn’t given me reason to question him. Yet after conversations with two friends struggling through their own answers to this question, I felt like I had to ask.

I had fasted, and I had prayed.

I thought I was ready for whatever his answer would be.

After all, I loved and respected this man. For better or for worse, I had promised to love this man.

As the words came, I crumbled. I was a mess of a woman on that cold concrete floor. I wasn’t ready for this.

“I mean, if I can’t handle it, I’ll tell you,” he said. Then I knew–he hadn’t been faithful to me.

Some will say, “It’s just with his eyes.” To me it was everything. No one had ever hurt me so deeply. No one had ever betrayed me to that level. I had never let anyone in that close before him. It was out of nowhere. I was lost and broken, gasping for air.

He knew how much I hated pornography. My heart ached for sex-trafficked victims, and he knew that. He knew the broken woman I once was and how close I had been to becoming one of those women myself.

He had hurt me, yes, but he also made me sick.

This man was the father to my children. This man who had studied the Bible with me, who had prayed with me, who had loved me was, all the while, sinning against me and our vows. He had lusted after other women. He had done this in our home, on his phone, and on our television.

I hated him.

Now, I hated all of those things. Looking at them reminded me of his betrayal. He came to me, crumpled on the garage floor.

I cringed at his touch.

We sat there for what felt like forever.

Finally I asked, “Where do we go from here?”

Equipped through God’s Grace

That night, neither of us had any idea what the next two years would look like. By his grace, God equipped me to love my husband through this dark time in our marriage. God’s grace has given him strength to fight the desire of his flesh, seek accountability, and submit himself to boundaries that are at times frustrating.

We have both learned a lot in the past two years. I’ve learned a lot about grace, God, and walking in this gift of marriage.

Lessons Learned

Here are a few of my take-aways from this dark and painful time. I hope these lessons I’ve learned will bless any other woman walking through a similar battlefield.

1) Be in the Word.

When all this happened, I was just finishing Beth Moore’s study on James. I know without a doubt that had I not been deep in the Word of God for weeks leading up to this, my faith would have faltered even more.

I had memorized more scripture than I ever had before. Without it I was lost.

I’m not saying I never doubted God’s plan. I’m not saying I never questioned the purpose of this life we are living together.  I am saying knowing and relying on scripture is one of the few things that helped me get out of bed every morning.

These verses in particular, which I had memorized weeks before, anchored my storm-tossed mind and soul.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

 

James 1:2-4

Most days I did not find this trial to be pure joy, but God’s Word encouraged me to see the joy in the situation.

Another verse, which I often pray I will be able to say before the Lord one day, came back to me over and over.  

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. 

 

2 Timothy 4:7

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2) God is faithful.

I doubted He was there with me. I doubted where He had been as my husband walked down this road to destruction.

But He was there.

He was there, grieving with us. He was there, prompting my husband to walk away from the computer. On the days, weeks, and months that my husband did not betray me, God was there, giving him strength.

Again, the words of James were aptly timed for just this moment in my life. These words helped me to reconcile our sinful temptations with the Lord who walks with us by His Holy Spirit.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, not does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.

 

James 1:13-15

3) This wasn’t about me.

Let me say it again: this isn’t about me!

It hurt me, it broke me, it made me grow. It made me stronger, but in the end, it was about my husband, his experiences, and his personal struggle with sin. 

This was the most difficult lesson. One I still have to be reminded of regularly. This was my opportunity to be gracious, to be an example of mercy to my husband.

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.

 

James 2:12-13

Mercy triumphs over judgement! That brings me to my next lesson.

4) I can’t do this alone.

Jesus Christ didn’t come to earth and disciple one man. He discipled many, and established a church. We need the church in our brokenness. I’m not saying go out and shout your husband’s sin from the pulpit. I am saying wisely and prayerfully seek out one or two women to encourage you during this season. You will be amazed at the women God brings to you. These women will love you when you hurt and encourage you to be Christ-like when you don’t want to be Christ-like anymore. Women who will pray with you, cry with you, check in on you, and just be with you.

Is any of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise…and the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

 

James 5:13, 15-16

5) Lastly, and most importantly, Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, not my husband. 

I had him on a pedestal. His desire, love, and admiration fueled me. After almost ten years of marriage, I had forgotten that my value and purpose is from the Lord. None of us are perfect–not my husband, and definitely not me.

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking it all.

 

James 2:10

My husband can’t save me and I can’t save him. Jesus Christ took care of that almost 2,000 years ago.

There are still days I fight to control the images and thoughts in my mind. There are days I just want to cry in my best friend’s arms, and I hate that the one who comforts me is also the one who hurt me.

lessons-learned-from-my-husbands-porn-addiction

Satan Seeks to Destroy Marriages

Sin is gross. It hurts. Sin is dark.

Sexual sin destroys trust beyond comprehension.

Satan is prowling like a lion seeking to devour each and every one of our marriages. He is seeking to destroy the most intimate and grace-filled institution that represents Christ’s love for us. 

Be on guard. Stay in the Word. Devote yourself to prayer. And…

…put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

 

Ephesians 6:13 (emphasis added)

eveningskies

Attention: Mom Burnout Likely

Attention: Mom Burnout Likely

Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
Tracy Watts

It’s a common plight among moms–working moms, stay at home moms, new moms, older moms, moms with littles, moms with bigs. We’re tired. We’re burned out. We feel like there’s nothing more to give.

Have you been there? Are you there right now?

I want you to know some things. I want you to whisper them to your heart. They help me on hard days (and not so hard days). I hope that they help you when you experience mom burnout.

You are seen.

So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” ~ Hagar in Genesis 16:13

You are covered with His grace.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. ~ Hebrews 4:16

You are loved.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. ~ 1 John 4:9-10

Don’t you think that sometimes we put burdens on our hearts that were never meant to be placed there? Sometimes we need that nudge of guilt to drop the things that seem urgent but aren’t truly important in an eternal light. And sometimes, we need to pause and listen instead of rushing and doing.

Do fewer things, and do them well. Do them with great love.

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalm 46:10

May you feel the presence and comfort of the Creator today.

be-still-and-know-that-i-am-god-i-will-be-exalted-among-the-nationsi-will-be-exalted-in-the-earthpsalm-46-10

No Matter What Happens Tomorrow

No Matter What Happens Tomorrow

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

As I sit here and type, I think about the conversation I’ve had with God today.

I recently found out I am pregnant. We were shocked, but our family is excited for this surprise. So far this pregnancy has been different from all the other four. I’ve never had morning sickness but a few times this go round I’ve been nauseated. My sniff radar is exponentially better than ever before. Those don’t concern me as much as the pain I’ve been having in my abdomen.

At my first consultation, I informed my caregiver of the pain. She stated we needed to do some blood work to rule out an ectopic pregnancy. I missed the call from the office but knew something was not quite right when I listened to the message. Instead of a cheerful voice telling me everything was fine, I heard a concerned voice asking me to call the office or her cell.

I broke into tears the moment the message ended. So many things flooded my mind. A feeling of loss was the first thing that overtook me. A loss for what might be and for all those I know who have actually suffered this loss.

Upon talking to my caregiver, I learned the blood work did not come back as they had hoped. That was the call I got today. Tomorrow morning we will be doing an ultrasound to verify what is actually going on.

I have cried on and off today, but the conversation I have had with God is bringing me to where I need to be.

Do Not Be Anxious About Tomorrow

He already knows what we will find out tomorrow. He knows what the future holds and I praise Him because He will be holding our family close.

No matter what happens tomorrow, I will still love Him.

No matter what happens tomorrow, I will still glorify Him.

I pray over this child that s/he sees the light of day, but if s/he doesn’t, then I will praise Him for her/him never having to suffer a day and knowing only God’s presence.

I am determined to not let the ‘what ifs’ take away my trust or take me to a place of fear and trembling. There is a fine line between concern, doing whatever I can to make sure this baby is okay, and realizing I only have control over so much. Although I feel like I have control over so little, I can control what I focus on today, this minute. And I choose to focus on my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The maker of heaven and earth, the one who can call dry bones together, wrap them in tendons, muscles, and skin and breathe new life into their once dead bodies.

I believe in the power of this Christ. He very well can sustain life in the child growing inside me. And He very well can immediately provide an eternal life without pain.

i-am-determined-to-not-let-the-what-ifs-take-away-my-trust-or-take-me-to-a-place-of-fear-and-trembling

Focus on the Lord

I choose to keep my eyes on the Lord, for with Him at my right hand I will not fall.

What I’ve learned throughout this crazy year is that the only thing I can depend on is our Lord.

I will not dwell on what might be tomorrow but will rejoice always, and with prayer and supplication (begging) lay down my request to the Lord and give thanks, knowing that He is God and I am not.

Lord, you are holy and worthy of praise. You above all know what tomorrow holds. Looking into the future I am like a blind man but you provide light for my path. You will guide us through whatever happens. Whether in joy or in grief, you will hold our hearts close. You will never leave us or forsake us. You have never promised that life on this earth would be easy or painless but did promise us that you would provide for us and give us what we need.

We pray over this child. May s/he be born healthy spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. We know you will answer our prayer either in this current world or in the heavenly one. We pray your will be done, and no matter what happens may we glorify you through the process. It is with pleading hearts that we ask you for a healthy pregnancy and delivery, in Christ’s holy name – Amen.

Since writing this post a few weeks ago…

We went to the appointment with hope and asking many to pray along side us.  We praise God for what we heard that day…a heartbeat!  All was and is well.  But the main point that I want to leave you with is the day before, when I wrote this post, we determined that no matter what happened we would keep our eyes on God and praise him.

No matter what your tomorrow faces, you need to determine now, if there is anything that will keep you from praising God.  If there is, take it to God.  He can handle it and truly He would rather you give it to Him and help you to build faith in Him, than letting you hold it so the devil can use it against you.

Bless you in your walk with God and may you guard your heart and always keep your focus on the Lord.

i-keep-my-eyes-always-on-the-lord-with-him-at-my-right-hand-i-will-not-be-shaken

 

 

 

Overflowing Hope in Good Times and Bad

Overflowing Hope in Good Times and Bad

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Latest posts by Kristin J (see all)

Hope in the Bad Times…and the Good

To have an overflowing hope during the good times seems easy. When I chose “hope” to be my word for 2016 I was in the midst of a trial and desperate to remain hopeful. Little did I know that God would be teaching me this year my need for hope when times are good.

I suppose you could say I’m slightly superstitious. What I’ve come to find out however, is that my superstitions are often the result of lack of hope. A few years ago my husband and I relocated to the city where I grew up. My husband’s salary was nearly 50% over what he’d been making before, we were living in the area of town where I saw myself eventually being a stay-at-home mom with a charming home and Disney vacations every summer. We were fitting into our new church home and getting involved and we got to see my family all the time. My faith was so much stronger as I’d learned to rely on God during our decision to make this move. Life was good. Life was too good.

Everything Crumbled

I had this nagging feeling in my mind that everything would soon crumble. Nothing this good could last forever. Only a few months into our move our lives were shaken. My husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer. There it was–the drop I’d been expecting.

Praise God he got into surgery quickly, where they were able to remove all of the cancer without other treatments, but our lives were now full of scans, tests, and questions. Would this affect our ability to have children? Would it come back? Not to mention the heavy cost of his surgery, CT scans, and oncology visits. It was a heavy season for us. In that time I grew closer to the Lord, but I also had created a guard for myself. I was afraid to let myself become overfilled with confident hope. I’d been right–life can’t be so good. I didn’t want to experience such a letdown ever again.

Afraid to Hope for Too Much

Flash forward a few years and I now find myself in a similar situation. We packed up and moved back to where we’d been before. We are in our first home, involved at church, and my husband loves his job. While my dreams are not quite as materialistic as they were in the past, things are going well. Even though things are going so well, I’ve noticed my guard up, almost like I’m scared to enjoy this life, scared for the fall that will knock us down from this happy season. Though life is good, this perspective is not victorious living. I have a need for hope during the good times. 

In Romans 15:13 Paul says,

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” 

Hope

Overflowing Hope

Paul doesn’t desire us to have cautious hope, skeptical of what might happen next. He wants us to experience joy and peace so that we can be overflowing with hope! This joy and peace comes not from our circumstances, it comes from our trust in Christ. Our joy and peace are not dependent on what happens in this life. We find our joy in our salvation and in our eternal destination. Through trust in Christ as Savior, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and it’s through the power of the Spirit that we have an overflow of hope.

This hope is necessary all the time. It gives us confidence that not only will God lead us through whatever trials we are facing, He will lead us through whatever trials are on the way. We do not have to fear. We can take hold of the promise that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us and we can move forward each day in the hope that comes from Spirit-filled living. 

Circumstantial Hope or Victorious Hope?

Before, my trust and my hope were circumstantial. I based my trust and my hope on material things, health, and  career fulfillment. But I’ve learned that I will be let down if I put my trust in those things. My joy and my peace come from God and knowing that he is with me through all things, helping me. This allows me to set my superstitions and my skeptical thoughts aside and be at peace. Hope gets me through my struggles, but it also helps me to confidently enjoy the good seasons. Having hope in the good times allows me to live victoriously here on earth.

Glory to God every day!

Hope in the Good Times

hope-in-the-good-times-learning-how-to-live-with-hope-after-experiencing-difficult-trials

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