4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:4-7
I think the most important part of this passage is that we are not just told to bring our prayers and requests before the Lord, we are told to do it with Thanksgiving. All of our prayers - big and small - are to be lifted up with an attitude of thanksgiving. When we make our requests with a thankful heart, it means we will be content for what God chooses to give us. It’s the surrender that He knows what is best for us, and it’s trusting that He will wisely and lovingly hear our prayer and answer in a way that will ultimately lead to our good.
When we’re anxious, our thoughts can only see one way out, we can be consumed with the problem we’re imagining or fearing will happen. Often, the problem we fear has not even happened, but since anxiety comes from fixing our eyes on the future, it’s something we have convinced ourselves could happen. Our thoughts spiral and begin to worry about an outcome until it consumes our thoughts. Even when we go to God in prayer about our fear, we have a tendency to desperately plead for what we believe is the only solution, or the one way out. When we get laid off from a job, we begin to fear how we will pay our bills. We imagine what it will be like to try to live without the income, and our thoughts spiral until we’re worried about losing our home. Our prayers become desperate pleas for God to lead us to a job because that’s the only way we can see out of the problem. We forget that God is capable of providing for us without a job ~ He has done that more times in my life than I could list here. And we forget to be thankful ~ God has allowed this trial into your life for a very specific reason.
Praying with a thankful heart means even thanking Him for allowing the anxiety producing trial into your life. Whatever brought you to the place of fear ~ we should be thanking Him even for that. He allowed it for a reason, and He plans to use it for your good. Perhaps He wants to grow your compassion, He wants to teach you, He wants you impact others for the Kingdom. When we pray with a heart that is thankful for everything God allows into our lives ~ good, bad, or otherwise ~ we take the focus off our expectations and we put them back on Him.
One of the greatest strategies I’ve learned for battling those anxious thoughts is to just start thanking Him for all has done in my life. I’ve learned to recognize when those thoughts come, and I immediately shift my thinking to all that I have to be thankful for. Before I even place my request before Him, I spend time thanking Him for how He has blessed my life. When we remind ourselves of all the ways He has been faithful to provide for us, to bless us, to show up when we didn’t think there was a way, our problems shrink and our peace grows.
Even in this diagnosis, I have so much to be thankful for ~ I am thankful for such an incredible community of fellow believers who continue to support me in ways I didn’t even know I needed help, I am thankful for the friends who cook for me, or just come to sit and chat with me, I am thankful for the selfless, serving family who continues to care for me, I am thankful the cancer was found so early, I am thankful for science and for insurance, I am thankful for minimal symptoms, yoga pants, and comfy blankets, I am thankful to have a job that not only allows me to take all the time off that I need, but fully supports me in my decision to stay home, I am thankful for the incredible co-workers who have not skipped a beat reminding me they are thinking of me, supporting me, missing me, encouraging me the entire time I’ve been out, I am thankful for the way He uses my words to touch others...this list could be so much longer. The point is if we choose to pray with a thankful heart, we can’t help but find His peace as His hand is in everything.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
Many of you know I have been trying to raise money to replace the uncomfortable caregiver's chairs in the infusion center at Illinois Cancer Specialists. It is important to me that our caregivers are able to sit comfortably for hours while we receive our chemo treatments ~ we need our caregivers to be at their best so they can care for us at our worst. Please consider donating ~ every little bit helps! Here is the link:
https://www.gofundme.com/chair4caregivers. Thank you so much!!
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