I grew up in a Christian home. I did all the things Christian kids did: read the Bible, said my prayers, went to church and Bible school on a regular basis, and tried to be a “good” kid. As a young adult, I continued on a similar path. I talked to God on a regular basis and tried to be the best person I could be. If fact, some would say I was a perfectionist. I strived to be the best at everything, and then my life changed. I found myself married with a child. Now that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I was struggling to be perfect at everything, and then my heart gave out. While in the hospital fighting to stay alive, I met God for the first time in my life.
My life did not change overnight, nor did I have a big “aha” moment. Eventually, life returned to normal. Well sort of… I changed a little. I became anxious about everything, and God began to teach me the power of His word. The first inspirational Bible verses that began to heal me were 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” and Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God.” Each time I felt the darkness closing in on me I would repeat these verses. I would then ask God for His strength to resist the devil and overcome the anxiety that attempted to control me. As I lived out those words, my anxiety lessened. I spent many hours on my knees with my face on the floor praying, praising and thanking God for everything. God began to open my eyes to the temptations lurking in the distance waiting to suck me in to society’s way. I started to see how much I had become a product of society and was not walking the path God wanted me to take. As I continued to really study God’s word, my way of thinking changed and so did my priorities.
Another inspirational Bible verse that impacted my life is James 4:6-8, “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you….” I was a perfectionist. I strove to be the best and I was the best at many things (or so I believed). I was proud of myself and extremely confident… too confident for God. My confidence could be overbearing at times and God finally knocked me down. I learned that it was alright to be proud of my accomplishments, but not to the point that I forgot God gave me those abilities, nor to the point that I disregarded other people or more importantly, disregarded God. God turns away the prideful and the devil is there to encourage us to be full of pride. The devil himself is full of pride and it cost him his place in the heavens. He knows that those who are full of themselves will be separated from God and that is what he wants. When a person resists the desire to be full of pride, they resist the devil, and in turn, move closer to God. At times I fall back into my old habits which lead to a great deal of stress. In those moments, these Bible verses come to mind and give me the strength I need to resist my prideful nature (and the devil), and draw closer to God. When I am under God’s wing, I have a peace words cannot adequately describe.
Today, the economy is falling, unemployment is on the rise, and the future of our nation as well as the world’s hangs in the balance. Many people are worried, depressed and even angry about the situation at hand. Once in a while I feel upset and quite disappointed in what is happening. I worry about keeping food on the table and a roof over my family’s head, but God continues teaching me to trust in His word. In Matthew 6:25 Jesus says, “Therefore I say to you do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is life not more than food and the body more than clothing? In Matthew 6:32-34 Jesus concludes, “For your heavenly Father knows you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Life has been difficult for my family the last several years. We lost our jobs and our home, but God has taken care of us. We have not gone without our basic needs being met. God kept His word. My family seeks to live as God commands us to do. We seek the kingdom of God and in return God has cared for us. Each day is still a struggle, but at the end of the day by the grace of God we have what we need.
Over the course of the last twelve years of my life, God has taught me many lessons about life. The two most important lessons I have learned are: “We can make our plans, but only the Lord’s plans will happen” (Proverbs 19:21) and “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10). I use to have a list of things I wanted to accomplish in my lifetime. I use to stress out about everything and expected it all to work out perfectly. I was constantly on the move. I did not stop until it was done to my expectations. God has taught me to slow down, and to focus on what is truly important in life. I have believed in God my entire life. I have known Jesus is my Lord and Savior since I was a child. But it took a very long and hard path for me to really learn and understand the most important fact: God is in control. When I focus on this truth, nothing that happens in this world stresses me out. I live my days according to God’s word and His plan for me the best I am able and leave the rest to God.
*All Bible verses were taken from the New King James Bible.