“I just need to say this out loud to someone,” I whispered to my husband one night before we drifted off into much-needed sleep. I was experiencing crippling anxiety and fear. No matter what I did to try to calm my heart, I felt ruled and tormented by it. Reaching the point where I could bear the heaviness of it no more, the confession was spoken.
The truth was, I had been suffering in silence for the month prior. For too long I had dismissed the racing thoughts, the tightness in my chest, as side effects of my family's stress. The kind of stress that accompanies opening of a new business, while at the same time, trying to balance work and family life. Couple that with financial worries and the threat of a health diagnosis. It had placed a looming cloud of worry over our lives.
It seemed that my prayers over the few weeks prior had been met with silence. No matter how many Bible verses I read to encourage myself, I still felt alone and afraid. Finally I felt lighter having made the confession of carrying the weight of anxiety and fear. As I surrendered to exhaustion and sleep, rest finally came. I dreamt that I was singing and worshipping the Lord. The result was the feeling of freedom from the grip that fear had on me.
In James 5:16 (NIV), it says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Realization came that I was living in fear, and in disobedience of God's word. Over and over again, scripture tells me not to fear, and yet I had ignored the words. My thoughts were not centered on the Father, but instead were fixated on the voice of the enemy. Without meaning to, I had allowed the lies of the enemy so much attention that I was worshipping them. In a sense, I had placed the lies on the throne of my heart rather than worshipping the Father, the one who holds my present, my future, and all of eternity.
The greatness of God is, of course, not dependent upon my worship of Him. Yet God is worthy of all the praise I can give Him. Worship changes me. In my day to day life, I seek to make all my thoughts and interactions an act of worship. Worship seems to adjust my perspective, realigning my heart into a position of surrender and trust. Not a trust that is dependent upon outcomes or circumstances, but trust in the God who reigns over all of creation.
This recent experience was not my first encounter of walking through a desolate season of faith. Many times God has felt distant, and my faith as though it were hanging on by a thread. Through those unwanted seasons I have learned to walk by faith and not emotions. I have deepened my relationship with the Father, and have learned to trust Him no matter what circumstances I am facing.
Worship is an invitation to realign your perspective. To lead your heart back to focusing on the Father instead of what is threatening to overwhelm you. Worship is not just something we do when gathered with other believers on Sunday morning. It's a way of life. In Romans 12:1 (NIV), it says, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship." As we go about our everyday lives with an awareness of who God is, and who we are in Him, we are engaging in worship. I invite you into this kind of daily worship-filled living.
Father, I acknowledge your goodness and sovereignty. I choose to praise you today even though my circumstances aren't what I wish them to be. I choose to place my trust in you today because you are reliable, and you have never failed me. Amen.
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