December 13, 2012

Rejoice, and take care

By Annika Miller, a senior elementary education major from Broadway, Va.
SCRIPTURE: Philippians 4:4-7 (NRSV)
DEVOTIONAL:

Being anxious is something I struggle with, especially when everything about a situation is unknown. I worry so much about how things will work out. When Philippians 4 promises the peace of God will hold my heart and mind, it sounds like the perfect release from the tightness that being anxious can bring. The catch? I need to learn to let go. I must let go of my need to focus on the end result.

Sometimes to let go, I just need time to refocus – time away, self-care time. We cannot be expected to use our gifts fully and willingly if we are not restored ourselves. As an introvert, I need time away from people and time to be quiet, reflect, relax and renew my energy. Doing what I need to take care of myself is a form of rejoicing in God, too.

As we near Christmas, I can only imagine how anxious Mary and Joseph were for the arrival of Jesus. Still, they were probably also just as excited – excited for the baby and excited for what God had in store for them. I’m sure they learned sometime during Mary’s pregnancy that they needed to let go of their anxiety and rejoice in God’s work. Part of that would have been making sure they were also taking care of themselves.

I invite you to enter this season of rejoicing with love and service, but also with self-care. So, that the peace of God may enter you and hold your heart and your mind in Jesus.

SCRIPTURE: Philippians 4:4-7 (NRSV)
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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Comments (15)

  1. As a teacher, you will find this scripture and devotional to be helpful over and over. Thank you for your words today. It is just what I needed to face my Christmas-crazed sixth graders today.

    Lisa Roth Walter December 13, 2012 |
  2. Very timely Annika… thank you for these thoughts. It is a good reminder…

    Mandy December 13, 2012 |
  3. Just the message I needed this morning… I will be mediating a tough conversation today between two of my employees who are in conflict. Your comments and the scripture remind me that I can’t control the outcome and need to let go of my anxiety.

    Stephanie December 13, 2012 |
  4. Thanks for the wonderful words, Sis. I constantly need to be reminded to take care of myself! This is a beautiful scripture, too. “Let your gentleness be known to everyone.” That’s definitely something good to strive for.

    Hannah December 13, 2012 |
  5. Thank you for sharing yourself and your scripture insights. I need to hear this over and over again. “The peace of God… will guard your hearts… in Christ Jesus..” YES!

    Julie December 13, 2012 |
  6. I just wanted you to know how much your story touched my heart. I especially the part where you invite us to enter this season of rejoicing! It truly touched my heart. God Bless you all MJP

    Cinda December 13, 2012 |
  7. Your thoughts on this scripture were a good reminder to me that only as I let Him care for me, will I care for others effectively. Bless You!

    Ellen December 13, 2012 |
  8. I can identify with you, Annika, on the anxiety piece…especially at this time of year, with all the busyness, expectations and deadlines. Your idea of self-care in whatever form that takes is inspiring.

    Ruth Martin December 13, 2012 |
  9. So true Annika. It’s definitely hard to ‘let go’. Sometimes impossible. But we must. For sanity, yes. But also, for good itself. No one can ‘reach out’ before reaching within. So yes, ‘me time’ is so important. At this time of year. Any time really. Get away. Renew. Refresh.

    Debbie Lackowitz December 13, 2012 |
  10. Thank you for your heartfelt reflection on this passage, one of my favorites. Reading it today, I was reminded of how I often fail to include in my prayers of supplication the thanksgiving that Paul suggests. I will keep this wise counsel from the apostle in mind today. Peace to you all!

    Anne December 13, 2012 |
  11. Thank you for your words this morning! I relate as an introvert, also, for time away to be quiet, reflect, relax and to renew my energy. Perfect Scripture passage also!!

    Judy December 13, 2012 |
  12. What a nice devotional! Mary and Joseph faced a lot of challenges in their first years together and I’m sure you’re right that they had anxieties. I cannot imagine what Mary and Joseph felt trying to find a place to sleep for the night in a strange town only to find room in a barn! And having a baby there too! I hope that even though their experiences were at timed difficult they were able to trust in God’s plan and that we are also able to trust and not worry in the difficult times we face too.

    Elisabeth December 13, 2012 |
  13. thank you we just get too anxious for the right things to happen sometimes God has other plans for me!!

    Bob December 13, 2012 |
  14. Thank you for this devotional!
    As a teacher of teachers stretched across several buildings, it’s hard to remember to put my needs before my job sometimes. But, when I make that choice – it affects everything, and not in a good way! The Peace if Jesus is a pretty amazing thing!

    ps – as a distant Iowa (Litwiller) cousin – it was wonderful to see your face on the devotional today! Sending warm thoughts across the miles!!

    Beth December 13, 2012 |
  15. Annika, Your words are ready-made for my day, harried as I was about the outcome of a particular set of circumstances I was participant in — your words of peace were that indeed.

    Jim Brenneman, GC President December 13, 2012 |