Today is September 1st!
September used to be my favourite month. Why? Well, for starters, it’s my birthday month! It also signifies the beginning of school, which surprise, surprise…I loved! And it signifies the beginning of my favourite season. I love the smells of fall, the colours that blanket the hills and the scarves, jackets and sweaters that tend to be required in September.
But notice I said it used to be my favourite month. Used to be.
A few years ago on a cool and rainy September night, my family’s safety was threatened and I experienced fear and terror like never before. The impact that one night had on my comfort and peace of mind has lingered.
And as for September, the once comforting sights, sounds and smells turned into triggers for one of the worst nights of my life. The very smell of a rain shower on a September evening can send me into a cold sweat.
Unfortunately, that night almost four years ago made September a terrifying time for me. Fear took away something beautiful and full of joy.
But I came to this realization: something bad doesn’t have to mean my joy is taken.
I have control of how I view a situation. I have control over whether or not I let a fear or bad experiences become the reigning emotion. **
This hasn’t been easy for me, because for as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with anxiety, and the fear/anxiety about my family’s safety is a big one. But when those “fight or flight” emotions take over and make me feel like I’m suffocating, I’m allowing them to be my “god”. They become all I see and feel.
So in my moments of clarity, which usually happen during daylight hours for me, I turned to the Almighty God and His word.
He tells us over and over in His Word, “Don’t be afraid”, “Be Anxious for nothing”, and “Fear not”. And I think great, sure, I’ll do that. It’s so easy to grab on to those commands from God when daylight is shining and nothing is threatening my family or no vivid memories are knocking at my door.
But as September crept closer on my calendar, the passage that God brought to me was this:
Now I Paul, myself, appeal to you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ — I who am humble among you in person but bold toward you when absent. 2 I beg you that when I am present I will not need to be bold with the confidence by which I plan to challenge certain people who think we are behaving according to the flesh. 3 For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, 4 since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments 5 and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.
What powerful words Paul is writing to the Corinthians!
Look at verses 3 & 4: For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, since the weapons our our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds.
This is what I’ve been dealing with, friends. A stronghold of fear was established in my life. But Paul is reminding his readers that we do not wage war according to the flesh, but we have weapons that are able to demolish those strongholds because our power is from God.
Then look at verse 5: We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.
Doesn’t that make you just want to shout “Amen!”
All those arguments in my head. Every thought that is seeking to make me think less of God, more of myself or enlarge the situation Im facing should be taken captive. Why? Because my God is bigger. Your God is bigger. And anything that threatens to take God’s place in our lives is sin, including thoughts which seek to change the way we think about God, the world around us, and ourselves.
- No one likes me.
- If they don’t implement my idea, they must think I’m stupid
- God doesn’t have time for my problems.
- I have to worry about this because otherwise it means I don’t care, and God won’t “fix” it.
I could go on and on. And I’m sure you can come up with your own list.
Friends, we don’t have to live in fear. We don’t have to live believing lies about God, our situation or ourselves.
So as September starts, I’m choosing to take it back. I’m taking my thoughts and emotions captive and making it obey Christ.
Will you join me?
** There are times and sometimes even seasons in which fear/anxiety are a legitimate chemical imbalance in which medication, therapy and counselling are necessary. Please don’t take my above post as ignoring those very real and debilitating realities for so many people.