Take Precautions, But Choose Peace
“The only thing we have control over is how we respond to what’s going on around us.”
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What do we do when life as we know it is essentially canceled? When there is so much turmoil and chaos going on around us, and we are unsure of what tomorrow brings? The past weeks have felt like that, haven’t they? We are living in a time of the unknown, and many people are fear-driven rather than faith-secure. That needs to change.
Living in fear is torture. It’s not a happy place to be. Fear is driven by our emotions about what may happen. Fear isn’t always bad, and it can be a healthy emotion if we don’t live in it. You should have some fear of standing at the edge of a cliff because it will help you remain safe in your environment.
The unhealthy fear is a fear of the unknown because we dwell on the bad that could possibly happen and work ourselves up until we no longer think clearly. This is how chaos evolves. Chaos is the derivative of fear welling up inside of us until we vomit those apprehensions and feelings.
When trials come or chaos persists, we need to control what we can and leave the rest to God. He is in control of everything and holds us in the palms of his hands. If we actually think about that and meditate on that, what could we possibly fear?
In trials and life, we only have control over two things: our actions and our attitude. That’s it! We can’t control other people. We can’t control the circumstances. We can’t control the weather. We can’t control how others will react. The only things we have complete control over are what we choose to do and how we choose to respond to what’s going on around us. That’s it. Two things completely in our control. And these two things will determine if we will be fear-struck or faith-driven.
So what are we to do? How do we combat this chaos and fear? When we are feeling like we are in the midst of a battle in our lives, or when we are faced with hard decisions, we need to prepare and take precautions, but we ultimately need to choose peace. Precautions and peace. Two very controllable things. It’s always good to be prepared. It’s our responsibility to do the necessary work to prepare as much as possible for what we think might happen. But that’s all we can do.
Think of this: You decide to run a marathon. Great idea, but it’s not smart to just decide you’re going to run one and go out there and run the race without any physical training. I’ve seen it done, but it’s not pretty. When you make the decision to run a marathon, you take months to prepare. That’s your action. That’s your choice.
You find that training plan that will work for you. You put in the miles each day. You do the specified speed and hill workouts because you know they will make you stronger. There’s a purpose behind each and every training run you do. You train when you want to, but you still train even when you don’t feel like it.
There are other things you prepare as well, such as finding the right shoes, choosing the right way to fuel your body, or creating a playlist for race day to get you through those hard spots. You go online and check out the racecourse map and find the spots they’ll provide water or gels or electrolytes. You know what to expect if all goes well, and you prepare for things that you think may not go so well.
No matter how you train, the plan or fueling you decide to use, preparation is key for a strong finish on race day. Here’s the other thing. On race day, you can’t control the weather. You can’t entirely control how you physically feel. You can’t control the bumps in the road. You can’t really control the environment surrounding you. The only thing you have control over is how you respond to those bumps as they come. You get to choose your attitude.
Hopefully, you prepared some mantras to get you through, such as, “I trained for this moment,” or, “I have what it takes,” or, “I am worthy, and it’s my time.” Maybe you chose a word or two to signify what you want this race to represent. Maybe it’s “Grit” because you know what it took to get to where you are now. Maybe it’s “Today” because you know that this is your moment to shine. These positive affirmations or words will help you see the positive and react in a confident nature.
We can only control our actions and our attitudes in any circumstance. But isn’t that a good thing? We have control over two of the most powerful assets, what we do, and how we react to our environment.
God never said we would be without trouble. He never said life would be easy. I wish that were the case! I wish that the Christian life meant that we never had to struggle again, but it’s quite the opposite. Trials and struggles will still come, but we can be assured that God is in control.
In John 16:33, he says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
So how do we have peace in the midst of the chaos? We give God control and take heart that he has overcome the world. He is in all things and above all things. He is walking this out with us. We can trust in him, and we can overcome the fear that wells up inside and replace it with faith and God’s perfect peace — a peace that passes all understanding!
Take precautions, but choose peace!
Control what you can control, but let go of the rest.
Be okay with letting go of control of anything that is out of your control. The only two things you have control over are your actions and your attitudes. But, I have to say, that is a lot of control, and you hold a great power in that. The power to control how you respond to something is huge. How you respond determines if you live in chaos or peace, if you display fear or faith, if you wallow in depression or flourish in joy. Claim Psalm 91 over your life. It’s the prayer of protection. It’s a reminder that God is in control, and he is our refuge and strength. Read it with someone’s name in it. Read it as if you are saying it. As I read it now, close your eyes and imagine this is being promised over your own life.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ Surely he will save me from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover me with his feathers, and under his wings I will find refuge; his faithfulness will be my shield and rampart. I will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at my side, but it will not come near me. I will only observe with my eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If I make the Most High my dwelling — even the Lord, who is my refuge — then no harm will befall me, no disaster will come near my tent. For he will command his angels concerning me to guard me in all my ways; they will lift me up in their hands, so that I will not strike my foot against a stone. I will treat upon the lion and the cobra; I will trample the great lion and the serpent. ‘Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.’” (Psalm 91, NIV)
Don’t lean on your own understanding.
We aren’t meant to know it all, and we can’t really understand why things happen or turn out the way they do. Sometimes it’s better to stop trying to understand but to use those trials to grow ourselves. When you are caught in the fire, choose to let it shape you and refine you so you can come out stronger. You may gain some understanding, but hindsight is usually 2020, and that understanding doesn’t come immediately. It’s when we look back on where we came from that we realize going through the trials we did shaped us into who we are today. Choose to use them. Have you heard it said, when you’re going through hell, don’t stop? It’s true. When the pressure is on, when it feels like life is crumbling in front of you, don’t stop! When we stop, we surrender. Keep going. Trust the process.
Take time to meditate and reflect on the Word of God.
God’s word is filled with truth and promises. When the going gets rough, the best place to turn is to those promises to fill us back up. Finding solitude and times of silence is important when life is rocky. In these moments you can reflect and listen, find clarity and maybe even some understanding. The silent moments can help you see which path to take next or what direction you need to head. They will give you peace of mind and help your soul be still and not anxious.
As we close out our time together today, I want to leave you with a list of Bible verses turned into affirmations that you can use when you find yourself anxious or worried about the future. If you are finding yourself spiraling in the midst of chaos, I pray these words spoken over you will calm your spirit and give you peace.
I’ve created a PDF download of these affirmations for you so you can post them on your mirror or keep them with you so when you begin feeling those anxieties, you can take these affirmations and speak them out loud over yourself. You can find the download in the show notes for this episode. Save this podcast, and you can come back to it and just listen to the affirmations I read and let them resonate deep into your soul. Let God’s peace reign today in your life.
- “I have confidence in what I hope for and assurance in what I do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
- “I am filled with all joy and peace as I trust you, Lord, and I overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
- “I have peace that passes all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7)
- “I am strong and courageous, for the Lord my God is with me wherever I go.” (Joshua 1:9)
- “I don’t have a spirit of fear. I have a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
- “I am an overcomer and more than a conqueror! I’ve already won because God has overcome the world.” (Romans 8:37 & 1 John 5:4)
“No weapon formed or fashioned against me will prosper.” (Isaiah 54:17)
- “Greater is he who is in me than he who is in the world.” (I John 4:4)
- “I cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
- “My God shall supply all my needs according to his glorious riches.” (Philippians 4:19)
May you find peace and joy in the midst of chaos. Remember, take precautions, but choose peace. I believe in you!
Step into the fire and come out stronger!
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