Monday, February 22, 2016

Interrupt Anxiety

Year 4-Day 53: I am grateful that gratitude has the power to interrupt anxiety. 

We were granted the power of changing our response to any situation by finding the grateful spots. In fact, it can even help us manage how we "live in valleys". 

The first verse I memorized by sheer repetition in reading was Matthew 26:27- "And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?" 

I had an anxious stomach in my early grade school days. I lived in fear that my best would not be good enough. Satan does start early with his whispers of self-doubt!  His messages... designed to make us doubt that we were created with purpose and for a purpose. We are God designed...with a unique fingerprint and an original set of gifts. 

This Matthew 6:25-34 passage is always an encouragement for a worried heart.  Jesus words. Written in red in some Bibles.  They felt like a life preserver to me as a child... and they still do.

"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?" (vs:25)

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (vs:33-34)
Heaven knows each day can bring enough of it's own trouble. Jesus himself...on the night before he was taken...had dinner with his disciples. He knew the future.  Thank God for the grace that we do not.  
He knew:
-One of his best friends would betray him...for money.
-Another of his closest friends would deny him three times over the course of a night.
-His friends would nap while he prayed through the hardest night of his life.
-Beatings, a kangaroo court and death on a cross were before him.
What did he do IN THE MIDDLE of breaking bread to feed them? "
Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples," -Matthew 26:26
He stopped to give thanks!  In the middle of the worst kind of stuff, he continued to offer thanks and gratitude. 
I first saw this observation in the book 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  Now, I knew the scripture. I knew Jesus prayed over the bread. I never contemplated all he was personally suffering when he stopped to offer gratitude... as my focus was always on the lesson he was trying to teach his disciples in "the bread and the wine". I missed it. 
He knows what it is like to go through a horrible season.  He knows what is like to give until you are empty. He knows what it is like to be betrayed, hurt and disappointed. He knows what it is like to lose a loved one. He knows our sorrows because he chose TO BE one of us. He gets it.   
Our great "I AM"...chose To BE. And he continues to be with us. 
"But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me" 2 Timothy 4:17a
He gets it. He gets me. He gets you. 
To tap into the power...the secret is in stopping to offer gratitude.  Ann Voskamp calls uses the word "Eucharisteo". This quote is from an interview when asked to define "eucharisteo". 
"Yes, it’s all Greek to me, but this is the word that can change everything: eucharisteo—it comes right out of the Gospel of Luke: “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them … ” (Luke 22:19 NIV). In the original language, “he gave thanks” reads “eucharisteo." 
We can stop anxiety in it's tracks with a word of thanksgiving. An offering of gratitude is not because he needs it.  We do. 
 Today, I am grateful that gratitude has the power to interrupt anxiety. 

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