My grandkids and I played a tossing game to see who would get the highest score. "Okay, Nana, it's your turn," they said.
No problem. Though I can't see, I pretty much could judge the distance and I did quite well.
"Now," I said with a silly grin, "you two have to do the same as Nana. Let's see if you can do it blindfolded."
And they did. We laughed, we cheered each other and learned that a challenge is often a good thing.
But in real life, in our country today, we face a more serious and unpleasant challenge: to live peace-filled, happy and productive lives in the midst of violence.
"I decided to stop going to concerts or any place with crowds," a friend said.
"Me too," another friend said, "I was at a concert the other night. And I couldn't help it, but I kept looking to make sure I knew the exit at all times ... just in case."
How did we get to this place? Why is fear in the back of our minds?
It doesn't have to be that way. Though violence seems to get closer to home, making us all vulnerable, we have an option: live with confidence. To thrive with security and peace.
And here are the three choices to achieve that confidence even in the midst of a violent world.
- Choose whom to believe. Do we shrink under the bad news that blare from the media, allowing anxiety to build and peace to vanish? Or do we believe in the reassurance Jesus declared for us now, today, and in the moment when He said: "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). He didn't prevent adversity, take out problems or remove difficulties. They're present, but so is His promise that He conquered all.
- Choose what to receive. Rather than receiving the facts of the tragic occurrences, we receive instead, God's portion to meet our needs and His promise of what will make us strong. Here's what He didn't and did give: "For God did not give us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control" (2 Tim. 1:7).
- How we choose to live. Do we jump aboard the ship of anxiety and worry? If so, Satan the captain is sure to destroy our peace, steal our security and kill our joy. But Jesus' own words are reassuring: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10).
Violence might continue, bad news may not stop and tragedy increase. But the fullness of life is ours, because Jesus promised. Because He proved it and because what He said long ago is alive and true today.
And that's why the level of confidence we possess is directly related on what we believe, what we receive and how we choose to live.
Father, grant me the ability to listen to your Word, to believe what you say and to live confidently under the shelter of your grace. In Jesus' name, amen.
What keeps you confident today? Please share your thoughts.
Janet Perez Eckles is an international speaker and author of four books. She helps thousands conquer fear and bring back joy.
This article originally appeared at janetperezeckles.com.