When you’re facing a challenge and trying to be positive, do you ever hear that oh so pleasant voice whisper “But, what if…”?
Success in ALL things comes when you learn to cast down that voice of the enemy by using God’s Word. When you do that, circumstances won’t determine your happiness; you will!
Gary and I have faced many challenges in the 20+ years we’ve been in ministry, and what got us through every battle was walking in faith, keeping our eyes on the promises, and trusting that God has already worked out the victory on our behalf.
You can take authority over your life by shutting down the “what ifs” and looking at what’s already promised!
1.) Making Time to Get into God’s Presence
Have you ever heard the expression, “What’s eating you?”
I always thought this expression was so strange, but if you really think about it, it makes sense.
Whether it’s marital discord, a cranky toddler, financial problems, nosey in-laws, weight gain, or health issues, everyone has something in their life that creates pressure, something that is trying to “eat away” at their happiness and peace.
Certain seasons of life can also be stressful. (I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just feel like getting in an RV and hightailing it somewhere quiet and stress-free!)
But even though an occasional getaway is helpful, we can’t escape pressure. We must deal with it, or it will affect—eat away at—our health and happiness.
So, how do you manage pressure so it won’t affect your health and happiness?
You need to feed your soul on God’s thoughts, His promises, His Word.
Ephesians 6:16-17 (NIV) tell us, “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
God’s Word has an answer for every stress that life can bring.
You can prevent the pressures from affecting you through the process of training your soul—feeding your mind God’s truth (renewing your mind with His Words) and choosing and submitting to His will for your life.
Part of staying joyful in times of pressure and change depends on you trusting that God has called you out of the darkness, made you a new person, and given you a new life—one of peace, joy, and provision.
2.) Taking Control of Your Thoughts
I can’t tell you how many people I meet whose real problem isn’t the problem they’re stressing over.
So often, we think we’re battling with a coworker or family member, or a dire financial struggle, but Ephesians 6:12 tells us “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world.”
The enemy is going to try to overwhelm you with stressful circumstances so you get off course and off of your assignment, but when you learn to confront stressful situations with God’s Word, instead of being reduced to panic and fear, you will have the victory.
When I won the battle over my thoughts and emotions, my life changed dramatically, and yours will too!
Whenever you feel yourself overcome with anxiety, stress, or fear, compare your thoughts and emotions to the Word of God. If they don’t line up, throw them out, and REPLACE them with what God says!
The enemy is going to try and convince you that God doesn’t love you, or that He’s abandoned you. Don’t buy into it! Let me tell you, God NEVER stops loving you, and He is always right by your side in EVERY situation!
3.) Creating a Circle of Support
When you’re in the midst of a battle, do you go straight to a friend or family member?
Having support is always a great thing, but making sure your support is actually support is important.
Ask yourself this question: “After I talk to my friend, do I feel at peace or more worried about the situation?”
Sometimes we go to a friend and don’t even realize that those conversations get us even more worked up. If your friend or coworker doesn’t share your faith, they aren’t going to direct you back to God, which is where your eyes really need to be during challenging times.
When I’m facing obstacles that seem impossible, I think of Psalm 16:8 (NIV), “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”
Like-minded friendships will be your anchor through life’s storms.
Going to church is a wonderful time to praise and worship and be fed from God’s Word, and fellowshipping with like-minded people will help you keep your eyes on God’s promises, not life’s problems.
At our church, and many others, small groups are where people “do life together” and find daily encouragement, compassion, and direction. In fact, my son Tim and his wife, Alecia, lead a weekly small group, and they tell us often about the lives touched and people who have been set free in wonderful and unexpected ways.
Reaching out for encouragement from people who are like-minded and facing similar struggles is what fellowship is all about.
Proverbs 27:17 (ESV) tells us, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
I want to encourage you to take the steps that will help you take control of your thoughts and emotions, conquer fear and anxiety, fulfill your God-given assignment, and become IRON for those around you. That’s why I’ve developed the Happy Life Subscription Service!
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Let’s tackle your dreams together!