But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)
I should be excited. Another ladies meeting. Another chance to face my fears, defy anxiety, and choose love. It’s nuts how easily I am transported to my seventh grade cafeteria simply by walking into the cavernous building where these meetings are held.
But winning the battle against anxiety is getting easier. It’s easier because I’m learning to maintain a biblical perspective.
I don’t need to count my life dear to myself.
I don’t need to count my reputation dear to myself.
I don’t need to care what anybody thinks of me or whether or not I can come up with clever conversation.
I don’t need to care whether or not I say anything at all.
I don’t need to stay in that seventh grade mindset where everything is about me and whether or not I will be accepted.
Paul points me to a greater purpose:
“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Philippians 3:10).
As long as I keep this goal in mind, I can joyfully accept whatever means God uses to achieve it.
What a difference Paul’s perspective makes.
I can walk into that building looking for someone to encourage. Eager to be a listener. Expecting to make somebody else glad they came. Rejoicing in this opportunity to be conformed to the image of Christ.
Y’all, this isn’t just the solution for anxiety.
It’s the solution for anger, insecurity, doubt, and every other negative response.
Love when you feel unloved
Joy when you’ve been scammed or hacked
Peace when the headlines promote worry
Patience when your progress is slow
Gentleness when your dinner is rejected
Goodness when they don’t deserve it
Faith to pray until the answer comes
Meekness when critics condemn
Self control when the ice cream is calling
It’s in the daily doing that we find out what we really believe.
What do we hold dear?