Dr. Michelle Bengtson
As a young child, I can’t remember life before a spirit of fear and anxiety slithered in and took up residence.
I was “a good girl” and always aimed to please…so much so that to some degree I lost myself because I looked to adopt the ideas and expectations others set in order to be accepted.
I did my chores, excelled in school and always strove to go above and beyond. Yet with that came anxiety and worry. It manifested in such great proportions that teachers nicknamed me a “worry-wart” and I wore that label like a badge of honor. It also led me to take on responsibility that wasn’t mine to carry.
When my father died in my adolescence, my first anxious thought was, “What do I have to do to support my family?” And my next thought was, “This will not happen to me. I will be able to support my family if anything were ever to happen to my husband.” This pushed me not only to work hard and succeed, but also to take on a burden God never meant for me to shoulder.
My worry and anxiety led me to rely on myself rather than on the Lord. Anxiety is a misappropriation of my trust. And yet I can tell you, it never served me well. It robbed me of the peace and joy and rest God offers and in return gave only things I didn’t want.
The enemy (the father of lies) always offers a counterfeit. When I accepted his temptation to worry and accept anxiety in my life, in return I received stomachaches, headaches, and an ever-accelerating schedule.
In worrying, I give more attention to my problems than to the solver of my problems. But God tells us if we will cast all our cares on Him, He offers that “He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22).
The thing I came to recognize is that God did not give me a spirit of fear. That was offered up by the enemy. God offers power, love, and a sound mind. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV).
But it’s my choice. He holds out hope but I have to choose whether to grasp onto the anchor of hope He offers, or the lies of the enemy that tell me to worry and trust myself rather than Him.
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19).
The song, “Anchor” by Hillsong is a beautiful reminder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYDcBfQEa64
What will you hold on to today?
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Author, speaker and board certified clinical neuropsychologist, Dr. Michelle Bengtson is also a wife, mother and friend. She knows pain and despair firsthand and combines her professional expertise and personal experience with her faith to address issues surrounding medical and mental disorders, both for those who suffer and for those who care for them. She offers sound practical tools, affirms worth, and encourages faith. Dr. Michelle Bengtson offers hope as a key to unlock joy and relief—even in the middle of the storm. Dr. Bengtson is the author of the forthcoming book: Hope Prevails. She blogs regularly on her own site: http://www.DrMichelleBengtson.com
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