The LORD is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:5b-7, ESV (emp. mine)
This week I’m continuing to learn about life’s interruptions and waiting. Philippians 4 has a lot to say about both, especially the verses above. Lately, the call to give thanks has been ringing in my ears. Instead of being anxious and stressing out, I need to thank God as I lay my requests before him. Reading these verses, I wondered, why thank Him?
A quick glance through Psalms gives the answer. When we thank him, we are forced to remember who he is, what he has done in the past, and what he is doing now. Focusing on those things helps us to put our current anxieties and struggles in a different perspective, and leads to the “peace that transcends all understanding.”
Giving thanks. Why is that so hard for me to remember? I think it’s because when I’m in the middle of the daily grind I just get bogged down. I become surrounded by it all and feel like I’m in a fog. Or when I’m in the middle of some trouble, I try to make it through by myself and feel like I’m under a heavy burden. But when I find the time to stop and thank God for what he has done and is doing, it’s like the fog clears, the burden is lifted, and along with them my anxieties.
Yesterday, I finally stopped. I have been going and going. Getting us settled into the apartment, looking for a new house, teaching my class… I had started to stress out and worry we would never find just the right house.
Then Philippians 4:6 came to mind. I started mentally listing all the things I could find to be thankful for in my current situation:
Time with Jeremy
Wide parking places (you would not believe how narrow they are in Hawaii!)
A fully child proof apartment : )
Ethan’s excitement and invitations to “Play Cars”
Liam’s smile when he sees me
I found that after I had made this list, a peace settled in on me. I know it was His peace because nothing had changed, except me. Then I decided that if I’m really going to choose to be content where I am, I had better put some pictures on the walls and throw some curtains in the windows. I need to work on changing my attitude and make this place feel more like home.
So that is what I’m doing today. Making a change in my outside environment that reflects the change taking place on the inside: a thankful heart that has brought along with it peace and contentment that have alluded me for weeks.