Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, friends!

Also; we made it!

I remember ringing in 2021 with so much hope for a new season. I mean, for real. 2020 was filled with so much hatred and negativity it made our heads spin.

Sweet innocent child I was.

What followed in 2021 was more vitriol. More strife. More suspicion, treachery, and mistruths carving a gaping divide between left and right, friends and family.

Oh, 2021, you done us wrong.

I’m over it, y’all. With the advent of a new year, I have a prime opportunity to speak over my heart and life in new ways.

I’m always going to be on a diet. That’s not new. I’m always going to want to better myself, save more money, invest more time into my family, and reach for higher career goals. Also not new.

But I’m also ready for a change, and the advent of a new year is the perfect time to set my focus on that change.

See, I’m tired of second- and third-guessing what is true. I’m tired of wading through the emotion and anger and rhetoric. Of lies and inconsistencies. Of wondering whether I need to stock up on toilet paper and canned meat, or if it’s safe to breathe in the presence of others.

I’m especially tired of the way we’ve all decided to just live with fear. Like it’s an actual rite of passage from naïve child to fully enlightened, world-weary adult. Not only is crippling anxiety a meme we all have saved somewhere in our phone, but it’s a running joke among millennials. Almost a bonding point, right? We sit around and compare our triggers like ‘oh, you too?’

Anxiety is an expected, tolerated – albeit uninvited – dinner guest, just sitting in the corner of the room like it deserves a place at our tables, and it’s become so normal that peace feels foreign.

Y’all. When did we stop standing on ‘let not your heart be troubled’ (John 14:1-3)? Or ‘fear not’, which is scattered throughout scripture 365 times? Or the more direct ‘do not be anxious for anything’ (Philippians 4:6)?

If Christians are truly people of the all-powerful, only living God, why are we so accepting of the stranglehold that anxiety has on our daily lives?

We live in fear of other people’s opinions. Of disease. Of politics. Of ideologies. Of tragedy. Of the unknown. Of pain, or heartache, or even just discomfort.

And we let those fears sit on our shoulders. Before you know it, we’re making friends with them, letting them whisper into our ears and direct our life decisions.

She’s afraid of offending someone else’s ideology and looking like a close-minded fool, so she doesn’t speak out against untruths.

He’s secretly afraid of others’ opinions, especially the ones he isn’t prepared to confront, so he avoids difficult conversations.

She’s afraid of the unknown and unexpected catastrophe, so she tries to control her environment with an iron grip.

After all, it’s just who we are. It’s our thing.

But it’s not. We weren’t born to be saddled with anxieties. That’s not who any of us were made to be. Who we are called to be.

And it’s not who I want to be.

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.

Mike Walsh shares insight on the meaning of a ‘sound mind’ in an article for the Powell Tribune here, but let me go ahead and give you the rundown, ok?

Essentially, we know that the term ‘sound mind’ comes from the Greek word sophroneo, a compound of sodzo and phroneo. Sodzo means to be saved or delivered.

The second part, phroneo, references a person’s intelligence or total frame of thinking. It encompasses rationale, logic, and emotions, as well as the processes engaged in mental functioning and drawing conclusions.

When the two are compounded into one word, they form the word sophroneo. This word paints a picture of a mind that has been delivered, rescued, revived, salvaged and protected and is now safe and secure.

If that doesn’t sound like exactly what you need in your life right NOW, you probably haven’t been adulting through the last two years, my friend.

In 2022, this is where I want to stand. I’m done letting anxiety sit at my table and dictate my life. It’s time to grab ahold of the gifts I’ve been given and live in power, love, and a sound mind.

Happy Monday, friends!

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