This week's list, from blogger Moorea Seal, was a bit of stretch for me. A favorite quote in the office is, Continuously amazed, rarely surprised. I'm not one of those girls that are obsessed with quotes. I mean, most quotes I like are from books or movies. The majority of quotes I cherish are bible verses. Unfortunately, I usually don't look for quotes when I am happy. It's when I'm stressed / overwhelmed / anxious / frustrated that I go searching for something to meditate on. Sometimes, its more for motivation.

What a challenge I have given myself. I will trust in the Lord's great love + expect Him to never leave me alone. Trusting and expecting things are definitely not my strengths. My quote that I (used to) live by, is Hope for the best, but expect the worst. My personal favorite, (have) Low Expectations, High Acceptance. Obviously, that mentality is a protective mentality. I can convince myself it is helping me to be more flexible and ready for any situation. I feel like someone read my mail and called me out on that. 

During the whole wedding planning process, I had crazy amounts of anxiety. There wasn't enough time in the day to get everything done. I wasn't worried about the technical wedding, just the marriage part. The fear of the unknown really. I was having anxiety attacks a lot. For me, an anxiety attack was an increased heart rate, shortness of breath, I feel like I am running really fast, my mind is racing and usually I end up crying. I had to search the word. I had to search my heart. I had to pray. I had to stop expecting the worst. 

I have learned over the past few years, that more and more people struggle with anxiety. For me, it's usually the battle of the mind. I know for others, its an assortment of things. The biggest trigger for me is when I go into any given situation with low expectations. Its as if I live waiting for the other shoe to drop. That is most definitely not living in faith. 
What, what would have become of me had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living! Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord. - Psalm 27:14 AMP
Even in trials, as we read in Psalm 27, we are not to expect the worst. How can we not expect the worst when things like the Boston Marathon & Sandy Hook tragedies happen? Those two specific tragedies hit my heart the hardest. How can we not expect the worst, when bad things happen EVERY day? Wait and hope...and expect the Lord. 

I think my biggest trigger to fear and anxiety, is that I continually think I can live on my own strength. Sunday's message rang loud and clear to me. When we are in the trials of life, situations that are out of our control, our stubbornness thinks our strength can outlast God. I kept having this image in my head of what an Occupy My Garbage (sit-in) would look like with God. God always wins, always.  

The service walked through Genesis 43, and the story of Jacob being fearful and anxious about sending Benjamin to Egypt to get food for his famine stricken family. A lot of his inner turmoil came out of his lack of faith and expecting the worst. His family was endangered due to his lack of faith. They were starving and he expected to outlast the famine. A trial is something that drains all of our resources so that we may go to God for what we lack. If we lacked nothing, why would we need God? If we didn't need God, why would he have created us?

Something the pastor said, If God never breaks you, you're not in relationship with him, struck me hard. My inner visual learner kicked in when he said that. Immediately, I began to start thinking of a wild horse that can't trust/need his master if he is never broken. One thing we can expect, is that God will break us. I don't exactly know what that looks like for everyone, but for me it usually has to do with control. When something is outside my control, I get fearful and anxious. God is still continuing to break me of that bent. 

That's right. Because I, your God, have a firm grip on you and I'm not letting go. I'm telling you, 'Don't panic. I'm right here to help you. - Isaiah 41:13 MSG

The verse I have memorized the best and longest, is Isaiah 41:10. It was my baptismal verse given to me when I was 12. It's been my life verse, I have leaned on it heavily. When I got to college, I actually read the context of the verse. I wish I had read the full chapter earlier than I did, it would've strengthened me in a lot of situations. You see, in this chapter, we are told we are chosen by God. We (Israel) are His first choice and he tells us fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God.  

If I'm understanding this right, He tells me He is with me. Why do I expect him to leave me alone? He won't leave me. If were still talking about quotes, I can think of the you can't outrun God, quote if you'd like. Though people have let me down, I can't count on one finger when God has actually let me down. I can count on a few dozen hands when I am sure I have let God down, but who's keeping track? Not God. God has achievable expectations and high acceptance - yay for Grace. 

For now, the whole low expectations, high acceptance mentality I've had for a long time is being cast aside. If I move forward trusting in the Lord's great love + expecting Him to never leave me alone, I don't need to shield myself. If I stop relying on my own strength, I won't feel like I am at an Occupy my garbage with God - He's stronger than me. If I start expecting Him to be who He say's he is, I don't have to be anxious about the rest. 

What causes you the most anxiety? What do your expectations of situations look like? What trials are you in that you have to seek the Lord's resources? What can I pray for you about? Please feel free to
email me or comment on this! 

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