Throughout this past year anxiety and depression levels have shot up in our country. There seems to be something new to worry about each day from physical health and safety to the emotional weight of racial, political, and spiritual tensions. For many, the weight of the past year only added to the mental overwhelm they were already experiencing. The reality of our broken world is obvious so you have a choice to make; do you feed your faith or your fear? If you aren’t mindful in choosing faith over fear, the fear will drown you.
This is also true when you are asking tough questions about what you believe. You can find 100 answers to support views on every side of the issue. You can chase articles down a rabbit hole of things contradicting what you believe to be true. If you allow yourself to pursue those doubts they will likely grow. However, you have the option to feed your faith instead by grounding yourself in the truth of God’s word, His love, and a solid church community.
For some people, faith comes easy. I’ll be honest with you, it doesn’t always for me. Too many times I’ve woken up and chosen fear or doubt. In the moment it doesn’t feel like a choice. My heart is anxious from the moment I open my eyes. I let doubts and anxiety hold my thoughts captive as I go about my day. I wouldn’t choose that for myself, who would!? Yet, if only I took a moment to center myself on Christ and allowed the Spirit to still my heart, my day would look different. So, whether it’s a conscious choice or not, it’s a choice.
Now that I’m aware of the battle between faith and fear, rather than waking up and making the unconscious decision to choose doubt, I challenge those thoughts with the truth of God’s word. I turn on worship songs that wash peace over my heart. I pray that God would give me the strength to choose my faith in Him throughout the day rather than spiraling into the black hole of fear. Sometimes that’s all you need to tilt the scale, a single choice to feed your faith over your doubts and fears. A simple prayer acknowledging God’s presence in your life and asking Him for strength.
As a note, please don’t think I am telling you that you can simply choose not to struggle with mental health issues. While I genuinely believe we serve a God who is powerful enough to heal chemical imbalances and the pain of past trauma (and in some cases He does), I also know we live in a broken world and until Jesus comes back, we will experience the effects of that. What I am saying, though, is that God will give you the strength each day to fight that battle. Your defense in the battle might be like mine and include medication or seeking professional help along with leaning on God’s strength, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean God isn’t enough. God promises Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 that His grace is sufficient for the thorn in his flesh. His power is made perfect in weakness. God will use our weaknesses for His glory, we just have to trust Him and make the conscious choice to lean on the side of faith.
This concept works the same when it comes to choosing faith over our flesh as well. Temptation comes like a thief in the night and if we are not careful, we make the conscious or unconscious choice to feed our flesh. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, God promises us the strength to flee temptation, and we also know that there is abounding grace.
So how do you choose faith over fear? Here are some ideas that might help pull you out of the spiral of doubt and into the peace of God’s presence.
- Meditate on scripture (Examples - John 16:33, Psalm 34:4, 2 Timothy 1:7)
- Turn on Praise & Worship music (Passion’s “Let It Be Jesus” is one of my favorites)
- Breathe deeply as you speak the name of Jesus over and over (never underestimate the power of His name)
- Pause, notice what you’re feeling, and pray; acknowledge God’s presence and ask for strength and peace
- Reach out to a friend who can help you replace the doubts with truth
I’m not perfect in the practice of choosing faith but each moment that I do it, I get the pleasure of experiencing the peace that God promises us. And each time makes the next time a little easier. This is the peace that I believe Philippians 4:7 is referring to, a peace that surpasses all understanding. I pray that each day you will make the decision to choose faith and get to experience all the goodness that God’s peace has to offer. If you don’t know what that looks like, please reach out. I’d love to share my story or one of our elders would be happy to talk with you. They care about you and want you to live a transformed life through the power of the Holy Spirit, and it is possible. The Holy Spirit is the guide living inside of you that gives you the power each day to choose faith over fear.