When the facilitator of my small group announced the title of our next study, Calm My Anxious Heart, the women responded, almost in unison, “Yes, I sure need a calm heart!” Like many women, they were often depressed over the past and anxious about the future. The if onlys and what ifs consumed their mental energies and sapped their physical and spiritual strength. Completing Calm My Anxious Heart, a book that includes a twelve-week Bible study by Linda Dillow, encouraged members of our group to focus on the Problem-Solver rather than on the problem.
Dillow uses Scripture, personal experience, and real-life stories to show how contentment, proper focus, forgiveness, and faith in God, the Blessed Controller, are the keys to overcoming anxiety. Dillow honestly admits her struggles and unpacks practical ways the group member can address her own personal battle with worry.
The twelve-week Bible study, correlating with each chapter, includes memory verses, a meditation exercise based on the verses, and thought-provoking questions to help the small group member apply the Scripture. Each chapter study closes with two questions and a prayer: (1) What did I learn about God this week? (2) What did I learn about myself this week? (3) Write a prayer to “remember” what God has taught you. Response to questions can be written in the book or in a matching companion Mercies Journal that can be ordered separately through NavPress.
One woman in our group shared that she had trouble sleeping one night due to worry over her financial situation. Following Dillow’s example, she rose, pulled out a pen and paper and began to journal all the ways God had been faithful to her and her family in the past. Choosing to dwell on God’s faithfulness eased her worry and allowed her to go to sleep when she crawled back into bed.
Another woman shared that while driving down the road one day she was overcome with worry over a particular situation. Instead of persisting in the negative mind-set, she chose to apply Philippians 4:8 and dwell on the good, the right, and the lovely. She also affirmed the statement by Andrew Murray which Dillow quotes in her book, “I am here by God’s appointment, in his keeping, under his training, for his time.” The worry lifted and she drove home in peace.
Eileen Rife, author of Second Chance, conducts marriage seminars with her husband. She is currently working on two projects: Laughing with Lily, a novel; and Wit & Wisdom from the Wee Ones, a gift book of cute kid quips inspired by her six grandchildren. www.eileenrife.com, www.eileen-rife.blogspot.com