by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8).
What stresses you out?
Knowing there’s a misunderstanding that you’re not able to clear up?
Wondering about something that hasn’t yet happened?
Hearing a half-truth that was said about you and not being able to defend yourself?
Looking at your finances and trying to figure out how to make it all work?
Stress is clearly a result of worrying about what might be, dwelling on something that isn’t true, or being anxious about something we can’t change. And God doesn’t want you to stress. Stress and anxiety sends a message to Him and everyone else that He is not capable.
You and I don’t consciously think that, nor would we actually say that to others, but our actions display it every time we wring our hands, pull out our hair, or need to leave the room to let off steam.
In Philippians 4:8, we are told to dwell on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable. That means we are not to dwell on what hasn’t yet happened, the worst of what might happen, or what we’ll do if something doesn’t happen.
We are to live in the here and now and experience Christ’s peace in it. Not in the what ifs of tomorrow and worry about what we can’t control.
In Philippians 1:27, followers of Christ are instructed to “conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” regardless of your circumstances. In fact, in the New International Version that verse is preceded by the words “whatever happens.”
Whatever arrives in the mail. Whatever is said to you at work, whether you deserved it or not. Whatever your bank account says. Whatever comes your way in any given day, you and I are to live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
The Gospel of Christ proclaims that Jesus is capable. Our stress says He’s not.
Whatever happens, whatever comes to your mind to cause you to worry, whatever stresses you out, live a life worthy of Christ by dwelling on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, and lovely. As you do, you’ll experience God’s peace, not worry and stress.
Lord, when I begin to fear, worry or stress, help me to say aloud the word “whatever” – knowing that whatever happens, You are in absolute control.
About the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 17 books including Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You. For more on her books and ministry, or to see if her coaching services can help you write your next book, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.
Cindi’s book, Women on the Edge: Turning Desperate Times into Desire for God, (upon which this devotional is based), offers wonderful encouragement to women longing for a change, for a new direction, or ways to make a difference. Frustration can drive us away from God…or toward Him. Cindi helps women turn their negative longings into positive ones, as they pursue God in exciting new ways.
Join the conversation: What stresses you out the most?