“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Why did it take a world-wide pandemic for me to realize where I put my hope? When my sense of normalcy was stripped away, all of the sudden, I found myself standing in sinking sand. It became obvious, that although I had trusted Jesus in some areas I hadn’t put my whole hope in Him. I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to stand on things that weren’t the solid ground I thought they were – my relationships, my giftings, my career, my reputation, you get the idea. I was putting a whole lot of emphasis on Jesus every day within my daily quiet times and prayer, but I discovered that when it felt like life and my normal routine went sideways, I wasn’t standing on the fact that God is in control. Instead, I felt unstable because everything I had been standing on, as it turns out, wasn’t solid.
As an eight-year-old girl, it was simple to stand on God’s promises. I didn’t have to worry about my career, I didn’t have to worry about relationships, and I could just trust that God was in control. But something shifts as we get older, and stresses that we never had before suddenly carry so much weight. When we stand on things like relationships or our career, we can get stuck in anxiety or doubt because we find out they are nothing more than sinking sand. But as believers, we do have a solid foundation to stand on, the promises of God.
Sinking in Anxiety
I’ve never considered myself an anxious person. I’ve had moments of anxiety for sure, but I have never experienced the constant or even extreme level of anxiety that I’ve witnessed some of my friends go through. However, when my career began to take new strides, I got so caught up in trying to do everything perfectly, that I created an unrealistic expectation for myself and if I didn’t meet this unrealistic criteria, I felt like a failure. Over time, this pressure to obtain perfection grew, and eventually led me to experience my first anxiety attack. I remember that night, my body started shaking and it was hard to control my breathing. Thankfully, my sister was on her way upstairs and when she saw me crying on the floor, she came in and prayed over me. When my breathing calmed down, we went on a walk to get some fresh air and we prayed some more. That was the first of many sleepless nights that fall – nights of my mind recounting my failures of unmet, unrealistic expectations of myself.
Standing on God’s Peace
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Anxiety isn’t a new thing, though it feels like we talk about it a lot more openly now. Even the Bible talks about anxiety because since the beginning, people have been trying to figure out how to deal with it. Our anxiety is not news to God. He knew we would feel anxious about a pandemic, losing a relationship, or not meeting expectations, but He doesn’t leave us to sink in anxiety alone. He sent His son Jesus to bring peace to the anxious. If you’re feeling anxious, read through these verses (Philippians 4:6-7) and begin to memorize the truth that He promises peace (this is what I would do during those sleepless nights). God wants to know how we are feeling, not just on the wonderful days, but in the tension, all the emotions, and the anxiety. You might feel like your season of anxiety has lasted a long time. First, you’re not alone and second, God promises peace and freedom from our anxiety when we put our trust in Him. Peace that is beyond anything we can comprehend. Peace that we can stand on.
Sinking in Doubt
During this pandemic, I’ve been able to spend several weeks in the home where I grew up. I love spending time with my family and it’s also been sweet to reflect on all the memories that being home brings back. During a recent conversation with my parents, we talked about a guy I dated and how painful it was when it didn’t work out. Yet, now I can look back at that season with a grateful heart because I see how God was faithful during that time. We had been friends for a year before we started dating and started liking each other mostly because we both loved music. But after dating a few months, I realized the only thing we really had in common was music, and our opposite personalities started to clash. We argued all the time and just honestly weren’t pushing each other to Jesus the way we should have. I think we both knew that God had something different planned for our lives, something better, but it took me a long time to break it off. It took me so long because there were so many different questions running through my head like, what if this is my only shot at love? What if I ruin God’s plan for my life? What if I’m single the rest my life? Questions that kept coming, questions full of doubt. But God responded to my doubt with His faithfulness.
Standing on God’s Faithfulness:
“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
God is not finished with me. I am far from perfect, but God will never give up on me and He’ll never give up on you. When I began to trust God’s faithfulness in the break up, I started to see what He was teaching me. There were a lot of nights spent crying in pain that I would’ve given anything to be healed from, but now looking back I wouldn’t choose to change any of it. Because during that time, I found a new sense of trust in Jesus that I hadn’t known before. He began to be my everything in a new way, and He became the solid rock that I stood on. He was and is faithful through everything – the pain, the heartbreak, and the healing. So now, I look back on that season of my life and I’m grateful for it because He made me stronger on the other side. I see God’s continued faithfulness even during the tough times like this pandemic.
For those of you wrestling with doubt – questioning if God sees you, if He’s even listening to your prayers, and wondering why He is letting you sit where you are for longer than you would like – you are not alone. God is faithful in this season right now and He will continue to be faithful forever. He makes beautiful things out of the messes. The more you stand on His faithfulness the more freedom you’ll feel from doubt. We can stand on God’s faithfulness.
Sinking in Fear
The moment before I stand on stage to sing, I feel a lot of things: excitement, adrenaline, and nerves. Those feelings are almost always there, but sometimes there is something else that makes its way into my head before I sing, a voice that begins to whisper things like, “you’re probably going to mess up” or, “you’re not good enough to be up here and you don’t belong.” Sometimes those nerves turn into fear and the enemy fuels that fear with lie after lie.
Have you ever felt like this? Maybe you’ve been afraid to pursue your dream because you’ve heard those voices tell you that you’re going to fail so why put in the effort. Maybe you’re fighting for something you believe in, but you’re afraid of what you’ll lose because of it. Maybe you’ve been afraid because you have some unanswered questions and uncertainty that you wish you didn’t have to face.
Fear is real, but how can we stand up against it? How can we conquer our fears? Thankfully we don’t have to do it alone.
Standing on God’s Strength
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
My favorite verse in the whole Bible is found in Joshua. God is reminding His people to not be afraid, and He commands that they be courageous and strong. I love when God says, “Be strong and courageous.” But He doesn’t leave it there and say “good luck fighting the battle by yourself.” He goes on to say that He is “with you wherever you go.” That is the best news! He IS with us wherever we go! In every part of our lives, when it feels like nothing is going right, we don’t have to face our fears alone. He is with us. The Solid Rock on which we stand, is with us.
Standing on Truth
When you walk with Jesus, He doesn’t promise an easy life. Actually quite the opposite – He promises that we will have trouble, maybe like a pandemic that shuts down the world for a time, or maybe a tough breakup or maybe it’s dealing with fear. Good news, He has overcome the world so we can stand on His promises of faithfulness when we doubt, peace when we feel anxious and strength when we feel weak. Whatever season you’re in right now, know that you can stand on His promises. He is the Truth we stand on.
Leanna Crawford, the singer-songwriter from northwestern Washington, has been writing, touring and singing for the past two years. Leanna’s grounded and honest lyrics make her feel more friend and confidante than star, more approachable than untouchable.
Leanna released her debut project, the self-titled six-song EP May 1 (click here to listen) as part of the Provident Label Group/Story House Music roster family.
Follow Leanna on Instagram @leannacrawfordmusic
Visit her website at leannacrawford.com
And check out her music HERE.