God in His grace showed Joanie Yoder some practical ways to handle her worry.
She continues her story:
During this time, I was a Christian. And even though I strongly believed in God, He had no perspective in my life. I was terribly unhappy. And even worse, I felt that I had missed the unique purpose for which God had created me.
“I had to hit rock bottom and come to the end of myself before I could discover the sufficiency of Christ and allow Him to change me. God began to rehabilitate me according to what Paul described in Philippians 1:6, ‘that He who has begun a good work in you [which starts at conversion] will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.’ The process doesn’t take six easy lessons or six months but continues until ‘the day of Jesus Christ.’
“Early on in my progress toward wholeness, God showed me four disciplines, which had a profound effect in my life: read, pray, trust, and obey. Read the Bible—something to feast on. Pray—Someone to feast with. This goes beyond the boundary of a little time of prayer. It goes out into the marketplace, out into our cars, out into our circumstances. Trust—trusting God for the things we cannot control. Releasing them, not into thin air but to God. Obey—God wants us to obey Him in the things we can control.
“These four disciplines are very familiar. The whole idea of dependence on God is an obvious scriptural truth but an obscure truth experientially. We must actually practice them, not just know about them, talk about them, or believe fiercely about them. The blessing of being in a weakened condition and running out of our own resources is that it helps motivate us to actually do the things that we already believe.
“As I began to incorporate these disciplines into my daily living, I found that it cultivated an intimate relationship with Christ that developed confidence in Him.
He began to prove His sufficiency to me at small levels. And as He continued to come through for me, I began to trust Him more and more.
“The four disciplines of reading, praying, trusting, and obeying interacted with one another. This interaction meant that there was something for me to do. But as I did, it set God free to do the things that only He could do. So I began to find less and less reason for worry. It became superfluous. I began to realize that whatever He led me to undertake, even if it were something that stretched me, He would come through for me.”
What Joanie was beginning to learn about her fear and worry is that God can do more for us than anything we are feeling at any given moment. And there is a way to root our lives in the truth of God’s love, even when our feelings and emotions are telling us something different.
The struggle with worry is not solved by simplistic answers or quick-fix remedies. Joanie learned answers from the Bible that help us grow beyond our worries and into a trusting relationship with the God who loves and cares for us.