I feel it creeping in again against my will. Rationally, I know I am fine, but my body rebels against my mind and tells me something isn’t right. Sometimes when I name my anxiety, it becomes a passenger that I know will come along with me for a while and then leave. Other times, like today, it keeps pulling at me, and I feel like it has pulled me down. I fight to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
Why is it that as I have gotten closer to the Lord, my battle with anxiety has raged on with greater fury and frequency? Even though I know better, sometimes I still feel ashamed of this struggle. I’m tempted to think that it’s because I’ve done something wrong or haven’t had enough faith, as though if I could just be good enough, the struggle would fade and I could move through life with ease.
As I prepare for my quiet time with God, I feel a nudge to get an old journal instead of the new one I selected for 2019.
Sometimes, you need to be reminded, He whispers.
I get my Bible and journal, and before I begin, a text pops up on my phone with a song* my sister has sent. I sit down and close my eyes while I listen to this song that reminds me that God works through broken people. The tears race down my face.
I am confronted with my weakness again and again, Lord. I’m so tired.
The struggle seems relentless.
When the song finishes, I feel strengthened and a little more hopeful. I sit in silence for a brief listening prayer, receiving whatever gifts He deems appropriate to lavish on me this day. Love, joy, peace, patience, self-control, faith… these words seem to fly through the air, into my mind and heart.
As I wait to see if He will direct me in what to read, instead of a scripture, a date pops into my head. January 14th. I know I need to find the journal entry for that date, to be reminded of something, as He said. I begin the search for January 14th. Every time He sends me on a search like this, I wonder if it’s really Him. I wonder if I will even find an entry for that exact date. It takes some time, but I find it.
About a year ago, I began a practice that I have since forgotten. (Scroll to bottom of post to see a picture.) I would take a short passage of scripture and write down a line or phrase at a time, leaving space below it to record a response underneath. In the space below the Scripture phrase, I would use a different color of ink to write my own thoughts, questions, ideas, or extra information from my study Bible in response to the Scripture. The passage for this entry was Isaiah 62:2-4, 12. As I read through what I wrote this time last year, God reminded me of who I really am. The scripture is in italics, and my thoughts are in blue. I wanted to share for anyone else who needs a reminder today:
v. 2 …You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will name.
Your identity will come from God. He loves you enough to name you and has an intimate knowledge of who you are/were made to be.
New name: Rev. 2:17 and Rev. 3:12 – God authors our transformation as well as our new name.
v. 3 You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
I will bring God glory, point to Who He is, and add beauty. We are precious to God – His inheritance in us – Ephesians 1:8.
v. 4 You shall no longer be Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate;
Old hurts, pain, sin, wrong identity will pass away. No longer alone, no longer dry, isolated, afflicted, not bearing fruit, without purpose.
But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married.
Hephzibah: “My delight is in her”
God delights in me. His delight in me will define me (be my name) — how others will see me and how I will see myself.
Married – one with God, permanence, commitment, intimate, sought after, honored, wooed, protected, provided for, beloved, wanted.
I will be defined by His delight in me and my intimacy with Him.
v. 12 And they shall call them The Holy People
Set apart by God
the Redeemed of the LORD;
I am defined by His act of compassion toward me when I cannot help myself.
And you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.
I am pursued by Him, worth fighting for. He hasn’t left me. I have significance and purpose.
Praise God for His goodness in reminding us who we are when we forget! If you are facing a struggle that you feel powerless to overcome, He acts compassionately on your behalf. He delights in you and defines you by His delight, not by anything you could do or refrain from doing to make yourself more lovable. Join me today in the joy of trading the old lies you have believed about yourself for the Truth of who you are in Him!
*This is the song my sister sent:
**Here is a picture of my journal to show the method I described of writing and responding to Scripture: