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What the Struggle Looks Like

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler

An image of 11 lit candles stuck in the sand.

It’s fine, you might say, to tell me not to worry, but how exactly do I do that? Here’s how Linda Dillow handled the struggle when her teenager was going through a tumultuous time.

“I remember lying in bed many nights, thinking, Did I make the right decision? How do I stop this child from heading down the path of foolishness? I would pray through Philippians 4:6-9 but find my mind worrying again. It was as if my mind was stuck in worry mode.

“I would pray, ‘Lord, here I am again. I was just here ten minutes ago but it didn’t take: I’m still worrying instead of possessing Your peace.’ Again I would pray through my part and God’s part in Philippians 4. Then I would start worrying again. At that point I would sit up, force my body out from under the warm covers, and go to my desk. With pen and paper in hand, I would list all the positive things the Lord had accomplished in my teenager’s life in the past year. Then I’d pray over the list and thank Him that He had been at work and was still at work in her life. I’d shut off the light and go back to my cozy comforter, this time to a peaceful sleep.”1

If you want God’s peace to characterize your life, remember that peace is organic—it’s a fruit of the Spirit. Like all living things, it grows—not according to your timetable, but according to God’s. Jesus isn’t discouraged by the fact that you have to keep coming back to him every ten minutes for the peace you seek. Doing so will simply keep you connected, allowing the Holy Spirit to accomplish his will in your life.

 

  1. Linda Dillow, Calm My Anxious Heart (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2007), 31–32.

 
Originally published May 30, 2017.

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