I think back on some of the key, climatic moments in my life where I felt as though I really needed to see God’s power come and turn everything around. I remember in those moments hearing one, small whisper gently caress my mind: “it will be okay”
I recall wondering how that phrase could’ve possibly been God’s voice, when those words were deemed simple and overused? But it never fails! Every time something crucial happens and I start praying for God’s help (either physical, spiritual or mental), those four words float through my mind. “It will be okay”
But still I so easily deny that those words are God’s and doubt that whatever “it” is will truly be okay.
Will it be okay? Because deep down, I constantly remind myself of times when it wasn’t.
I wear stress, anxiety, worry and fear like an ugly sweater. Every time plans don’t go the way I imagined or expected, I put one (or all) of those bad boys on! I have built up graven images in my mind of the way I think or expect situations or conversations should go. And the moment circumstances and people veer off from that idol I have built, inner Lacey (and outer) panics. I have battled these demons for the majority of my life: fear, anxiety, worry, and stress..and let’s not even bring up depression.
Depression is the monster that lurks beneath the surface of all of these other beasts-it only rises after I’ve let these minor monsters make me vulnerable. But we will get back to that one.
So these ugly sweaters, I like to put on: fear, anxiety, worry, stress, and occasionally depression. They are poisons that leak into my mind and create other issues, like paranoia. This symptom , paranoia, makes me sketched out, afraid, judgey, and even brings me to bare false witness & accuse all who don’t line up with my graven images of ‘what should be’. It makes me build a fortress around myself and keep people at a ‘healthy’ distance..just in case they decide to abandon me. This unhealthy thought life is literally insane and this is sometimes my thought life we’re talking about here.
How can an acclaimed follower of Christ, such as myself, so easily resort back to the toxic thinking that riddled their old life?
My mission was to discover if anyone in the Bible struggled with keeping on the mind of Christ like I do; and of course the Lord never ceases to relate and reveal!
Before I go into my study, let me just take a second to counter a lie from the adversary. The lie that the strongholds and struggles we face are secluded to just us and that we are alone in our trials. Loneliness is a lie intended to keep us in our pit of despair. There is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9)-every battle, every struggle, and every sin has been experienced before and conquered!!
Now back to my mission. I found a ton of people in the Bible that experienced this mental health battle that I’m talking about: Moses, Jonah, Job, Elijah, David. Even Jesus Himself saw the struggle He was to face and was sorrowful and filled with grief (Isaiah 53:3). However, it’s what Jesus does in the garden of Gethsemane that shows us how to overcome these fleshly emotional toxins.
The one story that God highlighted for me out of all of these was the one of Elijah the prophet. Elijah witnessed Elyon, the Lord of heavenly armies, destroy hundreds of false prophets. Elijah was God’s voice to the people of Israel. God literally fed Elijah from the mouths of birds and worked through Elijah to raise a boy from the dead! Elijah saw the power of God first hand. Like me, Elijah loved God, believed in God, and actively sought God…and after all this evidence of power, he still found himself afraid, hopeless, and suicidal. Let’s take a look at this..
• read 1 Kings 19
Some challenges we face trigger these buried monsters: fear, anxiety, worry, stress, and depression (to name a few). All it takes is one push from an outside source and we throw off all truth, submitting to the mental monsters of our past and forgetting God. In Elijah’s case, all it took was a message from the wicked Jezebel and Elijah went running in fear into the wilderness. He ditched his servant, isolating himself and began to dwell in his mental junk. His prayer to God under that tree can be broken down into three parts:
1. Elijah was overwhelmed
2. Elijah wanted it to end
3. Elijah put on the guilt and shame of his fathers
“This is too much for me. I wish it would all go away. I’m just like so-and-so who spiraled out of control and destroyed their lives.” Can anyone relate to this?
When fear, anxiety, worry, stress (overwhelmed), and depression take over our thoughts, it’s not always the power of God that will change our hearts and minds. In fact, the power of God is the first thing we forget when the carnal thoughts takeover. What eternally changes our bad thinking, and, in return, our decision-making is God’s presence. In this story, at this time of Eljiah’s mentally unstable climax, God wanted Elijah to see that He wasn’t in the mighty wind that split the mountain or the earthquake. God was in the whisper- the still, small voice! “It will be okay”
God’s power is INCREDIBLE! God is a miracle worker, and that is an important part of who He is. But as we can see, it is easy for us finite humans to forget the infinitely powerful God. In order for us to change our toxic thought life and remember our all-powerful God, we must transform our finite minds into that of the Infinite. How? By pressing in to God’s presence! By intentionally listening for that still, small voice in the storm. It’s a continual process to develop the mind of Christ! (Romans 12:2), and it’s one we have to be intentional with.
Before writing this article today, I read 1 Kings 19, this story of Elijah and I weeped. The renewing of my mind, the healthy thought life that I seek, is found in God’s presence. Want to know the best part? God literally dwells in me! I have continual access to the presence of God! Renewing my mind..the ‘ing’ at the end of the word tells us that it’s an ongoing process. We must actively listen and look for His presence. This story revealed to me that I’ve been speaking deliverance over myself from all of these mental beasts, rebuking the devil from making me feel these different ways, but really these are just symptoms of buried heart issues that I haven’t let the presence of God come in and heal. “IT WILL BE OKAY!”
Wow those four words are chicken soup for my soul! There is power in God’s presence. Cleaning out my thought life is a work in progress. However, by the blood of the Lamb (which has made my body a temple of the living God whose presence can transform me) and by the word of my testimony (a testimony of VICTORY because He was able to save me so He can definitely take care of whatever comes my way)
I will overcome.