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Session 4

How to find moments of freedom in anxious times

Read: Philippians 4

In the midst of hard circumstances or anxiety, it can be difficult to see past the problem in front of us, much less present our requests rationally, clearly or with thanksgiving. What is there to be thankful for when you’re facing bankruptcy? Shouldn’t you be anxious when the relationship you thought would last forever suddenly falls apart? What is there to rejoice about when you keep falling into that sin over and over and over again?

In Philippians 4:4-6, Paul isn’t telling us to ignore what circumstances we have. He’s directing us to get perspective on those circumstances. He writes in Philippians 4:8, “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.” Paul isn’t saying difficulties don’t matter, but that they are parts of a larger picture, a whole world filled with blessings, too.

When you’re tempted to worry, thank God for something different.

If you’re in the midst of difficult circumstances, two things are true: First, those circumstances are threatening to consume your every thought and waking moment. Maybe they already have. But the second truth is this: In addition to the problems, your life is filled with wonderful blessings you can’t see because your focus is elsewhere. When you’re tempted to worry, thank God for something different. Maybe you are facing bankruptcy, but you are alive and healthy. Maybe that relationship did fall apart, but there is a God who loves you more than that person ever could. Maybe you’re in a pattern of sin, but there is a Savior who can and will help you through it.

Trouble and anxiety are real, but when we pause to recognize and thank God for His blessings in the midst of them, He gives us peace. Whatever good thing you think about may seem irrelevant, but even if it is only for a moment, it is a moment of freedom.

Reflect:

  • What’s one problem that threatens to overwhelm you?
  • What’s one thing you can be thankful for today?

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