2020 has come with a lot of challenges, and with that there seems to be a rise of fear and anxiety. Take a look at your social media feeds and you will be inundated with negativity, arguments, and melancholic attitudes. Yet God has given us a different way to respond to fear and panic, regardless of circumstance.
As Christians we are called to seek courage and strength both in everyday battles and in crisis. How can we seek that unwavering courage and walk confidently through times of darkness?
The Full Armor of God
Ephesians 6:10-11 tells us to “put on the full armor of God” and use the spiritual tools provided for us. Are you actively putting on that armor? Having knowledge of God’s Word and faithfulness in His deeds gives us peace and a readiness to fight whatever challenges we face, especially spiritual battles. When we walk in the truth, we will not easily give into fear and anxiety caused by events occurring around us.
Some of my favorite verses come from Matthew 6:25-34:
Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
We are to “seek first His kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to us. Therefore, live in the grace and strength given to us today and do not doubt whether it will be provided tomorrow. God will continue to give us the tools needed, the grace required, to face each day. Trust in His faithfulness.
Does this mean we should bury our heads in the sand? No, of course not. In 1 Samuel 17:48 David runs towards battle. He faced it with strength and courage. We are not to hide from battles presented to us, but to run headlong and unwavering toward them. The only way we are capable of doing so is with the aforementioned spiritual tools provided for us. Only then can we sprint confidently and faithfully onward.
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From Fixing to Growing
Are you familiar with the idea of a “Proverbs 31 woman”? That woman is described as a being wrapped in God’s strength and dignity. She laughs while looking toward the future, rather than cowering in fear. So too God wants women to be like David. To not fret over our children, our homes, and our work, but to know that God will continue to provide us what we need to face each day.
Practical Steps for Ending the Year with Courage in Christ
Try not to carry what only God is capable of shouldering. You cannot fix every problem in this world, but you can grow in truth and righteousness. You can bring glory to God’s Name through your actions, words, and thoughts. Live a happy life rather than one filled with fear. Actively put on the armor of God.
1. Grow in your faith.
Becoming familiar with the Word, developing a relationship with God, and studying apologetics will arm you with the tools needed to face spiritual battles head on. I encourage you not to simply pray in broad statements, but to let God know your heart. Be specific with what you are struggling with and seeking guidance on. Only then will your prayer life blossom.
2. Challenge your thoughts.
You don’t have to believe them! I say this as a former therapist who would often help clients with anxiety. We cannot prevent fearful thoughts from entering our minds, but we can identify if they are grounded in reality or emotion. If your thoughts are real and true, what steps can you take to address them? Even small actions can lead to feelings of empowerment.
Say yes. If God is calling you to something, He will not abandon you. Rather, He will provide you with the words needed through the Spirit, the spiritual armor to shield yourself with, and He will guide your steps. It was not just the Saints who were called to face these things, we are all called to do so.
4. Seek spiritual counsel from mentors, priests, or friends.
They can often help you differentiate between whether God is speaking to you, or you are giving into your own thoughts. Moreover they will help you feel less alone.
How are you ending the year in courage rather than fear?
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Christie Luibrand is a therapist turned stay-at-home mom living in Ohio with her two children and husband. She blogs at herdailyfiat.com and can be found on Instagram at @herdailyfiat.