When breaking news crashes into your day and shatters your peace…
It’s time to turn to ESPN.
It’s happened to everyone. You wake up in a cozy bed. The sun is shining through the windows. The birds are singing. You begin thanking the Lord for another amazing day. You get a chance to spend some time in the word. You get some time to pray and worship without the kids interrupting. You have that first sip of coffee. You think to yourself, today I truly am more than a conqueror. This day is going to be great.
Then it happens…. You turn on the news or maybe you check FB. You start hearing the reports of all the darkness that has happened around the world while you were enjoying your beautiful morning. You may not be affected at first as you half-way listen while you are doing other tasks. But then another story pops up and then another and then another. Before long you can’t even hear the birds singing outside anymore because you are so focussed on the newest act of violence that is being detailed by the reporter.
The fear starts to grow and then the heaviness. Absolutely nothing has changed in your immediate environment but everything has changed in your heart. What seemed like a bright beautiful day now starts to feel dark and dreary. Does this sound familiar? Have you ever had the latest breaking news crash into your day and steal your peace?
Let me tell you that I am writing from experience here. This has happened to me more than once. I can start my day full of confidence and ready to take on the day until I hear the story of the newest terror attack or sex-trafficking in my city or the newest diseases carried by mosquitos and ticks or the billions of stories on house-hold threats to children, and the list goes on.
I’m writing this today because I woke up this morning to find my FB timeline full of stories of tragedy. I wanted to share a strategy I use every time I find my heart heavy or if fear has started to take over and steal my peace. Don’t get me wrong. These stories are real and we should hurt when other’s are hurting. However, we should not be paralyzed by fear or filled with hate and anger.
Here it is. It’s time to turn off the media and turn to ESPN. I’m not taking about the sports stations (although I’m sure my husband would love it if that was my solution.) I’m talking about a simple acronym that I learned in ministry school for ministering to other’s in times of need. I use this all the time to minister to myself. Your voice is the one that you hear all day long so it is important to use it to minister to yourself.
So here is the battle plan!!!
The first step is to ENCOURAGE:
This simple means to inspire with courage, spirit or hope.
The first thing that I tell myself is although this may have come as a surprise to me today, it was not a surprise to God. He has known about it from the beginning of time. He is still in control and He is still good.
Next is to SPEAK TRUTH:
This is where I speak scripture over my situation. When I feel fear trying to take me captive I remember 2 Timothy 1:7: For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Here are few more of my favorite scriptures concerning fear:
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can mad do to me? Psalm 118:6
No harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Psalm 91:10-11
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD is the one who goes before you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:8
Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. Exodus 14:13
Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid. Proverbs 18:10
Because he loves me, “says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges My name. Psalm 91:14
This step is so good I’m almost tempted to stop there. Just typing out these words of truth filled my heart with courage. But there are still two steps left.
Step three is to PRAY!
So many times we take our fears and frustrations to those around us. No wonder we begin to feel powerless. When we bring them to the Lord, only He can change our hearts and give us peace. As I begin to pray and speak the names of God, He begins to be magnified in my life! He becomes so much bigger than anything that is happening in the news. For He is the Alpha and Omega, the way, the truth and the life. He is my righteousness. He is my sanctifier. He is my healer. He is my provider. He is my banner of victory. He is my peace. He is my shepherd. He is the one who is there.
The last step is to find a NEXT STEP!
What step do you need to take remove the thing that is causing you heaviness, fear, anger; or what step can you take to keep you focussed on God during this time. This is different for each person and each situation. For me, I seriously limit the time I spend watching the news. It is very rare that I turn on the news. I don’t suggest this for everyone. I know that I am very high on the empathy scale and the news has a negative effect on me. I also set limits regarding all media in my life. I want to limit the negative influences in my life and add more life-giving influences. Some other examples of next steps might be finding ten verses regarding your situation and reading them daily. You may find a mentor that you can talk to that will point you to God’s truths. Just having a plan ready is the most important part!
I hope today you know that you do have a choice. You don’t have to feel fearful, angry or powerless regarding the world around you. Also, dear brother and sister in Christ, if you are a believer this is the church’s finest hour. Never before has the world needed your light amidst the darkness. In a time when we are surrounded by chaos, you carry the peace of God. When you see that the world is spinning out of control, you my friend carry a spirit that brings order.
Dear friend…Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. Isiah 60:1
We have no time to be taken captive by the schemes of the enemy. We have a job to do. Check out in Isiah 61:1-3 what our job description is during these times.
There is so much more that I would love to write but I only gave myself 30 minutes. Now it’s time to print this off as a reminder for myself and surround my sweet children in prayer as I put them to bed. Praying you can rest well tonight and know that God truly is in control.