Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Your Choice: Anxiety or Peace by Zoe M. McCarthy

Zoe M. McCarthy
Have you ever felt guilty after reading Philippians 4:6-7?


6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

You’ve prayed, petitioned, and thanked God and then still feel rattled. You wonder if you’re not sincere enough. And you may wonder why 1 Peter 5:7 seems like it wasn’t meant for you.


7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

You’ve burdened Jesus with your anxieties, but still feel restless.

For me, I’ve learned one major reason anxiety remains. Before I share my revelation, let’s review what Jesus has told us about His peace.


33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. ~John 16:33

Truth: Jesus possesses the peace we need. When we’re in Him, we can have His peace.


27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ~John 14:27

Truth: Jesus gives us divine peace.

I picture Jesus extending to me the special peace found in Him alone, the peace that transcends all understanding. I have a choice. I can receive Jesus’ peace that He holds out to me, or I can ignore it and wonder why I’m still anxious.

Jesus’ peace is right in front of me; I simply must receive it. But I can’t receive Jesus’ peace if I’m determined to obsess over my problem. When I do that, my mind and body have no room for peace, and I’m certainly not actively receiving Jesus’ peace. My problems blot out Jesus standing right in front of me offering His peace. It’s my fault that I’m ignoring Him and His heavenly peace.

When my mind churns like the arms of a drowning person, I remind myself that no one else is responsible for that activity except me. This usually happens when a thorny problem wakes me at night. Now, when this happens, I have a routine. Your routine may be different. But I’m convinced, it’s all about receiving the peace Jesus so freely gives.

  • I get comfortable,
  • take a few cleansing breaths,
  • recite slowly the twenty-third psalm, picturing my Shepherd,
  • say from my soul, “Jesus, I receive Your peace. I receive Your all-surpassing peace,” and then
  • take His peace into my heart and mind. 

Sometimes, I immediately feel Jesus’ peace in my chest. My arms and legs become heavy and still. My mind calms. Other times, when I allow my thoughts to return to the problem, I may say “Jesus, I receive your peace,” a few hundred times, because too many repetitions are said by rote. But as I focus more and more on receiving and taking in Jesus’ peace, His peace manifests and my whole body and mind are at peace.

Let me testify here. Once I receive Jesus’ peace, it’s awesome. Jesus’ peace guards my heart and mind. Sometimes I tingle with it, and sometimes I’m dead still. And I always fall asleep.

In the morning, my spikey problem seems much smaller.

How could you picture Jesus giving you His peace, and then receive it?

About the Author

A full-time writer and speaker, Zoe M. McCarthy, author of The Invisible Woman in a Red Dress, Gift of the Magpie, and Calculated Risk, writes contemporary Christian romances involving tenderness and humor. Believing opposites distract, Zoe creates heroes and heroines who learn to embrace their differences. When she’s not writing, Zoe enjoys her five grandchildren, teaching Bible studies, leading workshops on writing, knitting and crocheting shawls for a prayer shawl ministry, gardening, and canoeing. She lives with her husband in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Zoe blogs regularly at www.zoemmccarthy.com.



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5 comments:

  1. Great post, Zoe! Peace was my word of the year a few years ago. I always pictured a cow chewing it's cud, sitting on the ground on a sunny day. Picturing Jesus, right there, in the midst of my problem, helps me feel his peace.

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  2. Sally, I don't think my comment went through. You made me smile. I love the cud chewing cow. When I recite Psalm 23, I picture me as a sheep lying in green grass and drinking from a still pond.

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  3. Thanks so much, Zoe! Several things have been challenging my "peace" lately, so your article is timely!

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    1. Dawn, I hope you can receive the Lord's all-surpassing peace, and receive relief from your challenges.

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  4. Zoe, I love visualizing when I really need to focus, like you visualized Jesus' handing you peace, but you had to reach for it. My youngest daughter is in her first year of college, and though she's made good decisions as far as I can tell, college life offers so many distractions and influences, and sometimes I worry that she doesn't have a strong grasp of who she is. So I visual Jesus standing at the end of a path with arms stretched forward and my daughter walking that path. I pray that He continues to draw her to Him, and I envision her wrapped up in His arms, safe, protected...assured of her identity. When I'm worried about a specific problem, I like to visualize God's huge hands cupped together and me laying the problem in them, literally handing it off. Sometimes I do that better than others. :)

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