Three years ago I had an old-fashioned tent revival in my heart. Through a heart attack and a kidney transplant, God brought me back to my first love, Jesus Christ. My love for Him has never been stronger and I am challenging myself everyday to grow closer to Him. Morning til night, I now practice 6 steps all day long:

 

Action Step One: Turn Over All Expectations to God
My expectations are the cause of much of my stress and distracted me from my relationship with Him.  Stress is the socially accepted word for anger. And stress is the gap between our expectations and reality. The greater the gap, the greater the stress. God promises that all of our needs will be met in Christ through his riches in Glory.  It’s not some needs will be met, but all needs.  When I rest in this truth and really believe God is faithful, I begin to experience true peace. 

Action Step Two:  Take Each Thought Captive  
This one, with God’s strength within me, allows me to manage all of my moods.  I wake up each morning with the overwhelming peace that nothing or no one can control how I feel today because I don’t give my power away to others or circumstances any longer to “make” me unhappy or happy.  I began practicing this step after better understanding the power of Philippians 4:8 which says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things… and you will have the peace of God.” 

 

Whatever thoughts come to my mind and heart in any area of my life, I use the power of God within me to evaluate each thought or belief according the eight standards found in this verse.  If any thought is not consistent with these descriptions, I now have the power to stop my wrong thinking or beliefs and go on to thoughts that are consistent with these eight words.   

Action Step Three: Accept God’s Filter for Your Life 
God has the best plan for your life in mind, and God is in control. Through the seasons of my life, I could say this promise, but I believed it only in part. I acknowledged God’s Word was true, but my heart wasn’t convinced the promise was for me. Now I know that God loves me and wants the best for me at all times.  No matter what happens in the course of a day, a week, or a year, ultimately my times are in His hands and I trust Him to guide my every step. I now see that those things that seemed completely “bad” happened for a reason greater than I can know and see in this lifetime. I can trust in His sovereignty.  My focus is to become closer to him and more and more like Him and I know I have a long ways to go.  But for now I trust that whatever happens to me has not escaped His knowledge.  He’s not only taking care of me, but He has a plan to use everything that happens for my good and His glory.

Action Step Four: Worship God in the Midst of Trials. 
Nothing in life should be able to shake our joy in the Lord. Not matter what trials we are facing, we can still worship God and be thankful. A grateful heart is a healthy heart.  God can always use what hurts us to teach us where we need to grow. Instead of fighting God when things sting you in life, use your trials as an opportunity to trust in Him like you never have before.