I was sitting on a hot subway car last June heading to my first wedding dress fitting thinking about my somewhat-new Christian blog and felt extremely defeated. The New York summer heat combined with (what felt like) never-ending wedding details and other stresses of life had me second-guessing whether or not anyone would even notice if I stopped writing altogether. “Maybe I should just leave this hobby behind,” I thought.
To distract myself from the anxiety creeping in, I began scrolling through my Instagram feed. A notification popped up saying someone had tagged my blog in a post; it was a long-lost friend from high school. “What in the world could this be about?” I thought.
She had posted a video titled, “Never assume God can’t use you for His plans.” I thought she was giving my Christian blog a shout-out (which was already lifting my spirits) but as I watched, I realized her entire message was about an encounter we had several years before.
The memory started rushing back in my head as she described how a few years ago, she was sitting at the Starbucks in our hometown of Cape Girardeau, Missouri when she saw me walk in. As MY memory served, I had seen her from across the room but could tell she was distracted and thought she hadn’t noticed me. It turns out, she saw me first. She told her Instagram viewers, “So this girl I had known in high school walked in and I immediately got the sense that God wanted me to go talk to her and encourage her in her faith. And although she had never given me a reason to feel self-conscious, I felt totally uncomfortable just walking up to her and bringing up Jesus out of nowhere. So I said, ‘Yeah – no thanks God.’ I ignored His nudging in my heart”
I was mesmerized hearing this. As I continued watching she said, “But God has a sense of humor. Literally the second I told Him no, my daughter jumped off my lap and ran RIGHT over to her. So I walked over and we ended up having a great conversation; and although we didn’t totally dive into a discussion about our faith, it reconnected us in a way. Now I see that she has started a Christian blog and it all makes sense why God wanted me to encourage her in her faith that day. I learned from that experience that we should NEVER assume we know what’s best. When God asks you to do something, be obedient to Him. You never know what plans He has in store for someone else”
By now, I was full-fledged crying on the subway (making me a true New Yorker). I sent her a message telling her that this story could not have come at a better time and that I had been feeling discouraged and tempted to take a step back from my blog. She told me, “God has placed you exactly where you are for a specific reason. You have a message to share – you CAN’T stop.” As I read her words, I felt it was God who was behind them, speaking hope and encouragement into my heart.
Those words not only inspired me – they taught me an incredible lesson: God is ALWAYS making moves not only in our own lives but also in the lives of every human being on earth. I had developed such an intimate relationship with God, I had almost naively forgotten: He is doing everything He can to speak into the lives of my friends, coworkers, family members – literally EVERYONE on earth!
When I realized that and learned what it means to truly BELIEVE He is constantly working in ALL of our lives, I finally understood that I could pray over any and every situation. He created each of us, sustains each of us, therefore, why should I be anxious?
Pastor Josh Kelsey of C3 church in New York said this past weekend that prayers can be used as a weapon against the enemy. He pointed out when we pray over things that have not yet happened, God, who is omnipresent, can go ahead into our future and prepare us for what lies ahead.
Of course, I have not completely overcome anxiety – I’m only human. But NOW I fight my anxiety by praying not just for my current circumstances, but for my FUTURE battles. Knowing God will be with me no matter what happens, and that He can prepare me for whatever my future holds has brought inexplicable peace into my life.
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:8