The Battle of Anxiety & Peace.

Do you ever wake up anxious? From the very first moment of peeling back your eyelids, your pulse jumps rapidly, your mind races, and you long to crawl back under those warm blankets? That was me today. My first response was to get into my Bible, pray in my journal, turn on Gungor. I attempted to stay busy and distracted, pleading with God to strip off the fears screaming into my soul. I recited Psalm 34:4 aloud, repeatedly. Frustration never helps anything, ever, but I was allowing it to simmer. Do you ever get angry because you're anxious, thus, feeding the issue?

I had paused, glancing at the books and journals stacked high on the table, screaming that they need read. An important one caught my eye: the journal with my list {in the making} of One Thousand Gifts. Reminded of the joy that harvests when naming and counting the gifts in my current circumstance (whether great or sorrowful) I chose to grab it and began giving thanks. I began noting small things, looking around our home, hunting for beauty. The headline I had written on that page read, "Count the ugly as grace: Ugly Beautiful." As I recounted my day, I listed the gifts God has graced me with:

327. thread strands, everywhere 330. books, borrowed by friend 332. walking the trash to the dumpster: fresh air 338. crumbs, mush, dirt, all sorts of trash piled high on the kitchen floor 342. hot chocolate with whip cream 345. husband kisses before leaving for work

"Inserting verbal gratitude into stressful situations is almost like being healed of mental blindness."

Ann Voskamp was right when she said that fear or anxiety cannot be in the same place as joy or gratitude. The millisecond I put pen to paper, my anxiety and fears fled, my mind slowed, and a patient and reverent heart replaced the fearful. Life around me fill up, (in)tangible becomes more tangible than ever. It was a miracle, "gratitude precedes a miracle."

I know {and have the choice to use or not use} the secret sauce to my battle of anxiety and peace, the war of ingratitude versus gratitude: it is when I recognize the gifts God surrounds me with; it ushers in peace, joy. I see His love encompassing me. Do you see it enveloping you?

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Starting February 5, I and a beautiful woman from church will be leading a ladies study through Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts. I crave for everyone {and myself} to peel back the layer of silt that traps their eyes from seeing the glory of God, everywhere. I desire for others the freedom that gratitude towards our God brings, I ache to be a vessel that is used to launch such joy into people's lives. A grateful heart sees God in all, which overwhelms with joy, recognizing His deep, unending love for us, steering our hearts towards trusting Him. Trusting Jesus, seeing His perfect love, removes fear: perfect love casts out all fear.