Ready to discover how to experience healing and wholeness by relying on Christ in your daily moments? What could happen in your life if you choose to live fully in your holy identity in Christ, trusting God to provide in this moment as it is? Celebrating the book birthday of my award-winning Christian-living book, Holy in the Moment, I’m sharing the personal story of what I learned in my battle with anxiety + giveaway included! (Be sure to enter to win at end of this post).
Holy in the Moment includes my personal journey in finding help and hope for worry, people-pleasing, perfectionism, discouragement, and insecurity. Packed with biblical insights and practical ideas to enjoy a deeper life in Christ, this book has helped thousands of women overcome fear to thrive in the freedom of holiness.
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The year we moved to California is the year I thought I was going crazy. This was the year that I learned that faith is both a gift and a decision rather than an emotion.
It was a year of choosing holy in the hard . Since we’ve all had a hard year, I thought I’d share an excerpt from Holy in the Moment. In light of all we’ve faced this year, the simple ideas and soul encouragement in this book can empower us to experience deeper peace, strength, and faith.
Truth is, we all face challenges in this broken world and there are moments when life is hard. Really hard. As we reach the one-year mark of the pandemic that has turned our world upside down and redefined the word “normal” in terms of our daily lives, we’ve all faced many challenges that can take a toll on our emotional health. I’m guessing that you’re like me, longing to ditch your mask and for life to return to normal. Am I right?
Many of us are dealing with some level of grief, whether due to the loss of loved ones, the loss of opportunities and celebrations, the loss of jobs, or simply the loss of normal. For instance, we watched our daughter get married on Zoom due to closed borders with Canada. Though we are thrilled she married an amazing young Canadian, we never imagined not being present for the ceremony! (That’s a story for another day). With uncertainty and the fear-mongering of 24-hour news cycles and the division of national issues, stress and anxiety invade our lives more than we’d like. Can you relate? Right now we can all use some do-able ideas to strengthen our faith and soothe our hearts.
We need the practical power of holiness.
Back to the year I thought I was going crazy. . .
Book Excerpt from Holy in the Moment
Holiness inhabits the small things, faith for our moments, simple and short. Added together, holy moments change lives and steer destinies in God’s direction. But it all comes down to attitudes and choices made . . . one moment at a time.
It’s during the storms of life that faith solidifies into more than a concept. How do we choose holiness on days when believing God is hard?
Holiness Strengthens Us Trust God in the Moment
I sat in a stark, utilitarian green office, checking on lab results. “No one called you?” asked a frantic nurse. She explained that my thyroid test (several months old) indicated I had Grave’s Disease, a hyperthyroid autoimmune disease. Instantly my mind snapped to high alert as I told the nurse, “I’m moving across the country in three weeks. We’re a military family with three small children. We don’t get to choose when or where we move. I can’t be sick now.”
Maybe I hoped the nurse would say something to take the problem away. Something like, “You’re right, this isn’t a good time for you. Let’s reschedule this problem for another time.” Our thoughts don’t always make sense, do they?
I don’t have time to be sick.
I didn’t matter. We don’t get to schedule challenges at our convenience.
Tested and diagnosed, I was treated with lightning speed. Just take a little pill to slow my thyroid down. Maybe this won’t be too bad, I thought as packers loaded the moving truck. We drove 3,000 miles with three young kids buckled into our over-loaded van. As the miles ticked by, I prayed everything would be okay.
Holiness is Faith is for This Moment
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1 ESV). We need now-faith for all of life’s moments—the good and the bad. Hope is not wishing; though we often feel like faith is nebulous as cotton candy, whips of air held together with sugarcoated wishes. Just have enough faith and you can conger up whatever you want, our misconceptions whisper.
Don’t we chide ourselves to try harder?
Faith doesn’t come by trying harder.
I’ve made that mistake many times and it only leads to discouragement. Have you ever been tempted to think you must act better and perform the right spiritual tricks—as if God is only moved to work in a life if the faith is good enough? Yes, me too!
That puts it all on us, doesn’t it?Faith is a gift from God, not some secret power we must manufacture on our own. Faith is inseparably tied to the power and holiness of God. #christianfaith #overcominganxiety Click To Tweet
In the Greek, power is translated dynamis, which is God’s power for creating life, performing miracles and righting the crooked soul. This is power we need for all of our right now-needs. Every single one.
Choosing faith begins with the holiness of God, not on our ability to harness faith and make it go our way. Faith to believe begins and ends in the rightness of God—His way of doing and being right. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
A Simple Choice When We are Anxious and Stressed
Here’s the simple decision of a moment: to believe or not, to trust or not.
We make thousands of choices every day. It only takes a moment to respond with now-faith and discover more of God. Holiness is quietly accomplished as we receive the life of Christ in this now-moment.
God graciously stirs up more faith when we embrace and live out the faith we currently hold in our hearts. Step by step and choice by choice we can walk into greater faith and wholeness. “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). In this small three-letter word, but, is the choice of the moment.
We can choose the wholeness of believing God, faith for every moment. Or the buts can become excuses and questions turning our eyes away from God’s power and presence.
I experienced this mentally, physically, and spiritually in a way that tested my faith far beyond the borders of what I thought I could handle. Have you also experienced situations pushing you past your current level of faith?
God gave me strength to hold on in the moment.
In the coming months, I learned to rely on God’s power to choose faith, one moment at a time. With each choice to believe, There wasn’t any other way to get by.
At the end of our cross-country trek, we pulled into military housing in California. We drove slowly down the street, looking for the address of our new home. Tidy, small homes faced the sidewalks where children played. ”Is that our house?” piped little voices from the back of the van. More than ready for the end of a long journey, I felt the fresh excitement of new beginnings . . . until I saw our house.
Dank yellow paint peeled in spots and weeds grew two feet tall in cracks of cement. With a hole in the foundation, and dead, uncut grass, the house had a dilapidated, musty, uncared for look. We’re going to live here? Shouldn’t this place be condemned?
This was the moment the imbalance of my hormonal system tipped to a place called uncontrollable. Plunging down the steep drop of a thyroid-induced roller coaster, blood pulsed and adrenaline flooded my system and it was months before I felt anything close to calm.
It was months before my hands stopped shaking.
Believing God is a Choice Not an Emotion
Fear stormed in with a take-all vengeance, threatening to wash me away in an unrelenting flood of anxiety. Clouds gathered and my hormonal system cracked open with internal thunder. Dread plagued my days as we got settled and I tried to care for three young children in an unfamiliar place.
With my body stuck on constant go, sleep became impossible. I spent the dark hours pacing the house, wearing a thin path in the carpet. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t turn off my racing thoughts or squelch my feelings of fear.
Hang tight to faith no matter what your feelings tell you.
How do you choose to believe, to stand strong in faith while swirling in overwhelming uncertainties: I’m going crazy. Will I ever feel normal again? How do you choose holiness in an iron grip of fear? These are crucial moments to remember that believing God is a decision, not an emotion.
Many nights I was too jittery to sleep but too weak to stand. While the rest of the family slept, I rocked on my knees pleading, “God, help me!” Heart pounding with my pulse out of control, I longed to unzip my skin and climb right out of myself—be anywhere but stuck in this broken body.
I didn’t recognize myself anymore. Who was this frantic, fear-crazed woman taking over my life?
The holy practice of praying God’s Word.
Praying like gasping for breath when the water is over your head, I clung to God’s promises in Isaiah 43 with the blind strength of a drowning woman gripping a lifeline:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you” (Isaiah 43:1b-2).
These words helped me hang on, minute by minute.
We need the restoring work of holiness in our thoughts, feelings, and core beliefs.
Our core beliefs are tucked away in the secrecy of our soul. Some of those beliefs are the truths of God. But others are conclusions and misperceptions, based on experiences, thoughts, and emotions impacted by our history. Sometimes truth and false beliefs born of pain and sin lie side by side in the depths of our soul. We have a desperate need for God’s healing and restoring work of holiness, bringing our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in line with God’s truth.
“O Lord, You have searched me and known me. . . And are intimately acquainted with all my ways” (Psalm 139:1, 3b).
No one knows us better than God. Dallas Willard explained, “You’re a soul made by God, made for God, and made to need God, which means you were not made to be self-sufficient.[ii]“ He understands our struggles, and part of holiness is His desire to cleanse us inside and out from the bondage of sin and self.
Given a choice, we would prefer to leap from sinner to sanctified in one quick leap, skipping all the mundane moments and difficult times. But day-by-day, God’s works to heal our hurts, restore our vision, lift our emotions, guide our steps, and fill our lives with the indwelling Christ. Jesus is the saver, the Savior, of our souls.
Especially in our toughest experiences, holiness is found in each small-but-significant choice to trust God one more time. #christainmaturity #believinggod Click To Tweet Inhale another breath and move forward with another shaking step. Never discount small, brave acts of faith that spur you to go on rather than give in.
Remember God is with you when you feel anxious.
Six weeks later and twenty pounds lighter, I was severely sleep-deprived and emotionally strung-out with anxiety. Afraid to go out and afraid to stay in, I tried not to give into fear. I failed again and again, face-planting in the muck of difficulty. God’s Spirit strengthened me over and over, reminding me of the Isaiah passage I had memorized: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.
I was afraid of being afraid.
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
I was afraid of nothing specific.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched . . .
I was afraid of everything.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Savior. Holy One.
The Lord is my God; He is with me and He is with you.
Choosing holiness on the hard days comes down to believing God is our savior who walks with us in all things.
This is true not because it feels true. Fear was the only thing I could feel at this time. Maybe God removed any emotional, warm-fuzzy feeling of His presence to teach me to stand on the truth rather than feelings.
How about you? Have you struggled to settle emotions and trust God in all the challenges of this past year? Discover what happened when things got worse before they got better in the rest of the chapter. No need to enter your email, just click and read. Check out the book page on this site for more information and free book resources like printable quotes and a discussion/journal guide. All free with my gratitude for reading and sharing Holy in the Moment.
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Flourish Emotional Health Workbook
Vulnerable feelings impact our functional faith and can keep us stuck in unhealthy patterns of living. This eDevotional Workbook from Ginger Harrington will help you understand and process feelings for an emotionally healthy you. Learn practical tools for the deep soul work of processing your emotions with God. Free with email sign up or text EMOTIONS to 66866 to join.
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Practical reminders to rely on Christ in the moment. Track your choices to build holy habits to help deepen your life with God, others, and yourself. God is working through our daily choices. This handy tracker will help you develop spiritual attention and holy habits. You’ll also get a blank tracker to personalize for the holy habits God is working into your life. Free when you you sign up for my emails. (The sign up form is in the footer and the sidebar).
[ii] Dallas Willard, quoted in John Ortberg, Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You (Grand Rapids: Zondernan 2014) 39.