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Rest


In my last blog post, I acknowledged my continued struggle with anxiety and was determined to make significant progress in this area. Shortly after the post, I went on my first real vacation in 5 years as my mom’s plus one on a 7 night South American cruise.


I love going on cruises because it allows me to completely unplug with no WiFi to text, email or scroll through the black hole of social media. In this much needed downtime, it took less than 3 hours for God to start speaking to me.


Unlike most adults on cruise ships and against the grain of what’s considered a good time, I didn’t drink or “party” because I felt the purpose of this trip was to rest, reflect and receive whatever God has for me in this season. I’m sure that sounds boring… We still attended shows and activities and I ate WAY TOO MUCH soft serve ice cream, but I got exactly what I needed.


I caught my first sunset over the ocean, which was simply breathtaking and while staring into the wild blue yonder, I began to think about people who say they are afraid of cruises because they can’t see where they are going. For me, it’s the opposite, feeling like staring into the nothingness feels like freedom to not care where we’re going or when we’ll get there because the captain knows and that’s all that matters. Maybe I have more peace than most on the water because I grew up boating, but I find it ironic that anxiety is literally fear of the unknown and needing to predict or control the outcome of future events, relationships, etc. to feel safe.


So why can I feel safe in that situation but not yet achieve that same sense of peace and trust with God?


My daily devotional last week gave me more insight into the root of the problem. After the scripture, the follow up prayer read “Father God, I recognize that lack of trust is ultimately a sign of pride…” 😱


Of course, my pride wanted to convince me that couldn’t be true, but once pandora’s box was open, you know God confirmed it a million different ways. So I did some research on the relationship between pride and anxiety.


Of course, to some degree, we all have issues with pride, but here is the breakdown of the seven symptoms of a prideful heart.


  1. Fear – Pride is at the root of fear and anxiety. When we refuse to humbly rest in God’s sovereign care. Fear simultaneously reveals our lack of trust and our poisonous self-reliance.

  2. Entitlement – Entitlement is rooted in a prideful heart. We grow bitter, frustrated, and disturbed when we center our expectations around people’s praise, love, accolades, and certain levels of success. (Sidebar: Worthiness is different than entitlement. More on that another time.)

  3. Ingratitude – A proud heart says we are good, that we should get what we want, and if we don’t we’re justified in our ingratitude. If we’re uncomfortable or inconvenienced in any way, we can complain because it’s our right.

  4. People Pleasing – Pride is self-worship and self-preservation at all costs – and people-pleasing is a direct result of pride. It is masked in “serving others” but at the root of it, self-satisfaction is centered around fearing man more than fearing God, therefore seeking man’s approval for happiness.

  5. Prayerlessness – Pride deceives us into thinking we can “do life” on our own – that we’re capable, independent, unstoppable and self-reliant. We think we don’t need God every step of the way.

  6. Hypocrisy – When you’re proud, you elevate your status, forgetting the mercy God has shown you. You think you’re better and holier than the next guy and you easily find fault with others.

  7. Rebellion – Rebellion against God manifests itself in resistance toward the Word and the spiritual leaders He has placed in our lives. It is the reflex of a prideful heart and shows itself in a lack of submission – wives to your husbands; children to your parents; employees to your bosses; citizens to your government, etc.


Sheesh, I have a headache! While I don’t feel that I operate in all seven of these items, I know that they hit the nail on the head related to fear and anxiety because at different stages of my life any and/or all could have been a part of my story. The few things that stood out the most in symptom number 1 were "humbly REST" and "poisonous self-reliance". I recall growing up hearing and repeating the saying with regards to staying in bad relationships, "I can do bad by myself." That probably planted the seed of poisonous self-reliance, so I was always taught to make sure that I can take care of myself and my children, with or without the help of a husband/partner.


Is it wrong to be capable of taking care of you and your family's needs? Not at all, but it's the poisonous assumption and arrogance to believe that God is not the source of your provision, and you have to provide for yourself by any means necessary that is the problem. That is the definition of "no rest for the weary". REST, but more so HUMBLY REST, means I shouldn't try to put what I can do in my own strength before God's ability, willingness and promise to provide, protect and anything else that is the cause of my anxiety. Therefore, that means pride makes me think that my problems, needs, etc. are BIGGER THAN GOD and that is simply not true.


So, on one hand, I’m grateful that I can read this list and see how God has already dealt with me in some of these areas and I’m much better than I used to be, but it is also showing me how much further I have to go to find freedom in this area.


There is an old song by Sade called, “Love is Stronger than Pride”. I used to sing that song often when trying to find reasons to live to fight another day in my marriage over the years, but in the context of this issue with anxiety, I shifted my perception of those lyrics to understand that God’s love for me is far stronger than any level of pride that I have. I don't know about you, but that is life changing for me as I truly felt like it was an issue that I had no ability to heal or fix. However, the truth still remains that without being humble enough to know that I need God’s power to break the prideful spirit within me, nothing will change.


Just to show me that it’s not as hard as I think, God has shown me over and over again in my daily thoughts, interactions, etc. what responses are of a prideful spirit and showing me that simply acknowledging the thing, gets me that much closer to achieving freedom in that area.


Literally today, I experienced something that would normally get me stressed out and thrust me into fix it mode, but I decided that there is no time like the present to practice RESTING IN GOD’S SOVEREIGN CARE. Therefore, I have placed my mind as if I’m back on that cruise ship, staring out at the sunset, trusting that the captain has everything under control.


I’m so grateful that He continues to answer my prayers and guide me into all that He’s called me to be. We’ll see what’s next on this journey of conquering a prideful spirit.


Until next time…

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