Have you ever been around someone that had divided loyalty? Maybe it's a sports fan who was cheering and rooting for a particular team, and then once they did awful, they no longer liked that team anymore. One day they were the biggest fan, and the next day they acted like the team was dead to them.
Or what about someone who communicated by their actions and words that they have your back and won't let you down, and then the next day, their actions and words prove the complete opposite? When someone displays divided loyalties, intentionally or unintentionally, it creates huge waves of anxiety.
Here is my honest confession. I have divided my loyalties with God. Ouch, that hurts to write. You know why? Because I don't want to feel that way toward God. I want to trust him wholeheartedly and not be divided. But you know what? It's not that easy. Here is what I have come to realize. Sometimes I create my own anxiety waves by doubting God. If you are honest and really think about it, so do you.
So how do you overcome anxiety waves?
In the book of James (the brother of Jesus), he writes anxiety tips for us all. I'm going to paraphrase what he says, and then my challenge to you is to go back and read it yourself. (James 1:1-8)
If you lack wisdom, James tells us to ask God for it. Hmmm… that's rather interesting, isn't it? Just ask God if you need wisdom? Is it really that simple? The problem is in our own self-sufficiency and comfort, we don't think to ask God, and we either ask Google, a friend, family member, coworker, or boss. God becomes our last ask in desperation instead of our first ask in priority.
But James continues with more anxiety tips.
He tells us to make sure that when we ask God for help to remember that he won't scold us for asking AND that when we ask, we make sure our faith is in God alone. He tells us not to waver. Apparently, wavering equals divided loyalty. James gives us imagery that divided loyalty makes us unsettled like the waves of the sea. Suddenly it clicked with me. I feel SO unsettled when I'm anxious and stressed out. Honestly, one of the best definitions of anxiety is being unsettled.
But wait, then James goes on to say more! When our loyalty is divided, we should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. The reason? Because we are divided between the world and God.
Here is why being divided between the world and God is so bad. It makes you unstable. Instability makes you anxious, stressed out and fearful. Yet, being fully loyal to God makes you stable and peaceful.
Anxiety waves often can heighten among the unexpected. My literary friend, Jillian Benfield, who my agent also represents, just released her book The Gift of the Unexpected- Discovering Who You Were Meant To Be When Life Goes Off Plan.
She and I want to equip you with this fantastic resource she is releasing alongside her book. 30 Days of Walking Through the Unexpected – Practical Resources to Help You on the Journey is available to you when purchasing. This is a month-long guide to help you undergo the unexpected, to unlearn and learn ideas about your identity, the world, and the Divine who holds it all.
This 30-day resource, full of podcasts, sermons, and short videos from the author, is meant to be a readily accessible companion as you walk through the unexpected in your daily life.