After months of cold and ice (and more cold, and more ice) we are finally experiencing a full-fledged Spring day. The sun is shining in the bright, clear day, though the breeze still carries a bite of chill warding off any early ideas of summer. The birds are happily settling into their newly built nests and the blooms are starting to open to the sun’s gentle warmth. In my estimation, it is a perfect day.
But this perfect day is harshly contrasted with day five of my husband dealing with…well, in all honesty, we don’t exactly know what he’s dealing with, but it’s miserable. It’s that unknown which causes anxiety and worry. Then the added gift of Google is the gift of hypochondria and increased concern.
It’s easy to become consumed in worry. Whether it is due to the sickness with no diagnosis, or the stress that comes from your job, or the never-ending bills that just. keep. coming.
Worry blinds us to the beauty of the promises that should be dictating our lives.
Instead of trusting we worry.
Instead of believing the best, we presume the worst.
Instead of resting, we fret and question.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)
The peace of God is an amazing gift that I feel we often neglect. We think we’re surrendering our problems, when in fact we continue to mull over possible solutions or even worse outcomes. And in doing so, we become our own worst enemy, not allowing the Spirit to offer the peace that is rightfully ours to claim in Christ Jesus.
That’s the beauty of a relationship with God, through Jesus. We have been given a new life, a new purpose apart from the anxiety of everyday life.
The idea of “being born again” is strange to be sure. But it’s used over and over again to describe the process of allowing Jesus to change us from the inside out. We are to lay aside our old selves and take on the new. We are a new creation through Jesus. We have been given a new life.
In the most simple terms, it is a change of heart and a change of mindset. When we accept Jesus into our hearts, we don’t continue to wallow in the poor choices we made prior to that decision. We don’t continue to use the same language or exercise the same responses. Sometimes it requires a complete overhaul from the company we keep to the lifestyles we chose to live. But we are assured that not only have we been given a brand new life, but we’ve been given a brand new future–we have something to live for besides ourselves and our own selfish ambitions!
1 Peter says,
Because Jesus has been raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven– and the future starts now! (1 Peter 1:3-4, MSG)
The ESV describes that “new life” as: “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.”
Spring is that visual demonstration of something that has died and been made new. Each year, as the seasons change, God demonstrates this process to us in all of its beauty and wonder. Seeds that are planted have to literally die and crack open in order to allow new growth–new life–to come out.
Are you fighting that process today? Are you standing there, withering and essentially dead, but unwilling to fully let go (die to self) and allow God to nurture that new growth? Are you allowing the stress and anxiety of the day-to-day to defile that future that is waiting for you?
As my family and I continue to search for an answer to what is plaguing my husband, the idea of a life that is imperishable and undefiled sounds extremely appealing.
Our hope, our future, is found in an eternity in heaven with God. Our purpose is built in the promises of that future. Our very identity cannot be separated from the truth of our purpose because our identity cannot be separated from our Creator.
Who we are is buried in Whose we are.
Are you allowing your identity in God to change you from the inside out?
I pray that this spring will be a time of renewal for you and this season of your life.