WIMD Pulse - June 2014
Anxiety vs. Peace
by Cara Brown, MD
As a family physician, I see patients almost daily who are struggling with anxiety. If God is important to them, I usually challenge them to memorize Philippians 4:6-8:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 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 (NIV 2011).
However, recently, God challenged me to examine the verses surrounding these (Philippians 4:1,4,5,9):
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! . . . Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. . . . Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you (NIV 2011).
From this passage of final exhortations, I want to share with you three nuggets:
- The passage starts in verse 4 with rejoicing: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice." No matter what time I get up, mornings in our house always seem to include some degree of rushing around to get out the door. I find myself on edge, scurrying around, barking orders to the kids, trying to get us out the door and to school/work on time.
Realizing that this does not set the right tone for the day for them, several months ago, I wrote this verse on a note card and taped it to the door going to the garage.
While the morning rush has not changed, many mornings I actually notice the card and refocus my heart in the middle of the rush—thereby setting the tone for God’s peace in the storm. Maybe your “rush hour” is not the morning, but as a WIMDer, you probably have one. Consider doing something to help you refocus on Him in the storm.
- Next, in this passage, there is not just one action that leads to God’s peace, but two. The first is the prayer and petition with thanksgiving (verses 6-7). The second is our obedience to what God has taught us: “…put it into practice” (verse 9).
I realized that I have been giving my patients only half of the “treatment.” In practicing this obedience better, for me it meant taking out the stack of verse cards I have memorized over the years and slowly working through the stack, re-memorizing and meditating on them. I cannot “put into practice” that which is not deeply understood and fresh in my mind.
Maybe you are like me with many familiar verses that you want to hide deeper in your heart. It will be much easier to follow the commands if they are known richly.
- Last is to let you know that you, sisters in Christ with the common calling of medicine, are dear to me just as the Philippians were to Paul. I love you, I long to see you and you bring me great joy. Stand firm until we meet again in Philadelphia this fall (or in Heaven.)