This week, I’m heading to the speaker/writer conference She Speaks, with my book proposal in tow. I’m filled with anticipation of exciting possibilities ~ meeting women from across the country, learning from experts in their fields, and appointments with publishers to present my proposal. And despite the excitement, a measure of fear lurks beneath. And I’m not alone. I see from friends I know and those I will get to know that many are experiencing similar emotions.
Some worry about their families at home. Others about the conference itself and what they’ll say in their presentations.
Worry seems to be a universal tool of the enemy to keep our eyes focused on ourselves instead of God. But thankfully, there’s an antidote to worry.
Jesus knew the disciples would be called to speak publicly and He had this advice for them:
“...don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit.” Mk 13:11
The Holy Spirit inside us, comforting us, guiding us, dispels the worries that plague us.
If we try to fit God into our agenda, we’ll be worried and stressed. When we rest in the knowledge that the Spirit is doing the talking, we’ll experience peace. This is not to say that we shouldn’t be diligently prepared. It is to say that we let God guide our thoughts and actions.
We have no control over many of the things that happen to us each day. Family, health, financial, weather, and job situations press upon us and weigh us down. In any given moment, we could receive bad news, have an argument, be required to do something seemingly beyond our ability.
In that moment, we have a choice.
We can wallow in the gloom of self-pity, worry, fear, or depression. Or we can ask God for His perspective. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul shares the secret to finding joy in troubling times:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil 4:8
This process is the same whether it’s worship or worry. Worry is life-sucking meditation on the negative. Paul tells us what to meditate on: what’s true, noble, just, pure, lovely, things of good report, virtuous and praise-worthy things.
When a dear friend was going through a terrible time, she started a list. Using this Scripture, she decided to list verses that stated what was true, noble, just, etc. She never got past "true." Her truth list was comprehensive enough for her to rewire her brain to meditate on the truth of God's unfailing love, His hope-filled plans for her, His never-ending compassion, His mercy, His trust-worthiness, His peace that passes understanding.
What's on your truth list?