Overcoming Anxiety – 5 ideas

With so much to worry about these days, here are 5 simple ideas from our friends at Vineyard Digital Resources:

5 Ideas For Overcoming Anxiety During The COVID-19 Pandemic

As human-made constructs begin to crumble around us, it’s easy to get caught up in fearful thinking that spreads faster than any virus. We can find ourselves stressing out about issues and details that we truly have no control over.

Yet most of the things we think we can control are out of our hands anyway. However, we can control our response to what’s happening around us.

Choosing a path of faith in the midst of tumultuous times helps keep our focus where it should be, fixed on Jesus. And here are a few actions we can take to maintain a perspective that’s grounded in God’s Word.

1. Pray. 

As simple and cliché as it sounds, prayer is how we connect to God. And when we’re anxious, there’s nothing more calming than speaking with the one who holds the universe in his hands.

Throughout the ages, God has had plenty of practice dealing with fearful people. And Paul wasn’t blind to that tendency in people either, even passionate followers of Jesus.

He reminds Timothy, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (1 Timothy 1:7, ESV). That is a truth God wants us to remember, which is especially important in times like these.

2. Limit the news. 

In desperate search for a ray of hope, we can fall into a habit of scouring the internet or flipping through the news channels in search of something positive. But in this era of bitter partisan divide, we get more titillating content than uplifting stories.

While dwelling on things to strengthen our minds in Christ might be more challenging, we must be vigilant to do so. In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, the people there were experiencing a difficult time as well.

After urging them not to be anxious about anything, he concludes the passage by exhorting them to consider more carefully what they think about:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8, ESV).

We should heed Paul’s words as much as we ever have right now in an effort to sideline fear.

3. Start a thankfulness journal. 

Negativity can create a downward spiral that isn’t easy to pull out of if we aren’t careful. The snowball effect of such thought patterns, one rooted in ungratefulness, places us on a path to bitterness.

But cultivating gratitude can utterly redirect your course.

David presses this point in Psalms: “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds” (Psalm 9:1).

Each morning when you wake up, write down three things you’re thankful for—and different things than the day before. As you create a new habit of dwelling on all the blessings in your life, your day will start on an uplifting note.

And you’ll likely start to see just how much you have to be thankful for.

4. Connect with encouraging people. 

More than ever, we need people in our lives who will help us cast off fear and boldly don courage. And that won’t be easy to do if we’re continuing to engage with fear mongers intent on dragging us in the mire with them.

Solomon’s godly wisdom shines through in Proverbs 17:17: “A friend loves at all times; and a brother is born for adversity.”

Seek out — through phone calls and video chats, of course — friends who breathe life into you and lift you up when you’re down. Linking arms with fellow believers will enable us to stay strong even when we feel like crumbling.

5. Read through Psalms. 

David’s life was a rollercoaster ride unlike any other in the Old Testament. He went from being anointed at a young age to become the next king of Israel and slaying Giants to being hunted by Saul and his army.

After David assumed the throne, he expanded the kingdom of Israel to its largest point before experiencing a series of setbacks and missteps that destroyed the lives of many of his descendants.

But no matter the situation, David never stopped seeking the Lord. In Psalm 69, David gets brutally honest about his situation in life: “Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.”

And for all the moments of despair David expresses, we also find him praising God in the midst of his dark circumstances. This book serves as a poignant reminder that what we are experiencing might be unique to this day and age, but it’s not novel.

Many generations before us have been through similar situations—and oftentimes, much worse—yet still held fast to their faith. That’s one powerful lesson we can take away from the life of David and his writings.

As we navigate through these times together in isolation, let’s remember that we’re not alone. God is with us no matter what. May His peace be with us as seek Him.

Photos by Mario Dobelmann on UnsplashBrett Jordan on UnsplashNijwam Swargiary on UnsplashAaron Burden on Unsplash.

Encounter God Nights

Our very own WCV Youth have come together to plan and prepare some open worship evenings for our whole congregation. The heart behind this is to provide a space to come together in worship and to engage in what God is doing among us. We want to nurture deeper relationships with God and with each other. Our next Encounter God Night will be on Thursday, November 29th at 7pm in the Sanctuary. We’d love for you to join us.

Messages of Love

Over the past few weeks many people have contacted WCV with messages of love, encouragement and assurance of prayer for all of us. Here are just a few we’d like to highlight for you now.

Joyce Rees (National Council Member and Pastor at Epic Vineyard in Kelowna)

The LORD is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

“In all circumstances we look to the Lord, and our great comfort is that He is close, especially to those who are “crushed in spirit”. My encouragement is that you would keep turning toward Him. Speak honestly to Him. Many are praying, most hours of every day, that you would experience the Holy Spirit’s presence very near to you. We are sending you our love.”

David and Anita Ruis (Vineyard Canada National Directors)

“You are not alone.”

“Hey WCV family,

We just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know we love you and are walking beside you as you journey through this challenging time.

People coast to coast are holding you in prayer. We are coming alongside your team there with as much resourcing and support as we can muster.

You are not alone. We’re in this together. Be assured of our care and concern for everyone impacted, and our deep awareness of the wide range of emotions, reactions and triggers that such events bring to the surface. We are extremely proud of the way you are handling this.

Huge love and prayers.”

David and Anita, on behalf of your Vineyard Canada family.

And this week Provencher Community Church gifted us this painting that was created for our community during a recent worship service. It was delivered personally, with warmth and love. The back is signed, “Standing together with our Vineyard family.”

There are many more messages like this that will continue to be shared.

Do What Jesus Did: Debrief & Stories

It was a great weekend.  On the whole we were encouraged to pray for others with the authority we have as followers of Jesus – to not be ashamed and “turn up the risk” – to be available and to leave the results up Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 2.33.07 PMto God.  There are stories of people being healed physically and emotionally.  We’re only just beginning to see the fruit of this weekend.  Robby simply encouraged us to live into what we’re all called to do as Christians.  He has his unique mix of gifts, as do each of us.  But we are all called to become like Jesus.  Part of what that means was demonstrated powerfully this past weekend in prayer for healing and prophetic ministry.

We want to hear from you.  Do you have a story to share?  Do you have questions about what happened?  Have you tried praying for someone and it’s worked, not worked, or something else?  what does “worked” mean anyways!?  Sometimes weekends like these bring both encouragement and highlight some questions.  We welcome both.  We want to explore what this means specifically in our context.  We want to continue to encourage us to step out and take risks as well as be real, honest and open about our struggles.  Let’s talk.

This coming Sunday (Jan 31) in the Upstairs Gathering we are going to have a forum for dialogue and story sharing.  You can bring your stories of personal healing, or of prayers prayed for someone else.  You can also bring you questions, doubts or concerns.  We’re going to talk together and encourage one another and, of course, pray for each other.

If you missed the Saturday sessions, you can listen to the 6pm session here (unfortunately the other sessions weren’t recorded).  The audio from from Sunday is available here.

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