Worry saps our strength – Corrie Ten Boom

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.” Corrie Ten Boom

Corrie Ten Boom knew the importance of staying focused in the present. She needed strength to get through each day rather than wasting valuable energy worrying about tomorrow. For her, the possibility of  tomorrow never coming was very real.

The Ten Boom  family, were devoted Christians who dedicated their lives serving others. During the Second World War, this dedication was put to the test as they turned their home into a hiding place, for Jews and others hunted by the Nazis.

During 1943 and into 1944, there were usually 6-7 people illegally living in their home, 4 Jews and 2 or 3 members of the Dutch underground. By opening up their home in this way they saved an estimated 800 Jews, and protected many Dutch underground workers.

On February 28, 1944, the family was betrayed and the Nazi secret police raided their home. Corrie and her sister Betsie spent 10 months in three different prisons, the last was the infamous Ravensbruck Concentration Camp near Berlin in Germany. Life in the camp was almost unbearable. In her book “Tramp for the Lord”, Corrie describes how the camp was full of fleas. Instead of being miserable, Corrie gave thanks to the Lord for the fleas because it kept the guards at a distance, allowing Corrie and Betsie to spend their time sharing Jesus’ love with their fellow prisoners. Many women became Christians in these awful circumstances because of Corrie and Betsie.

Four of the Ten Boom family lost their lives during the war, but Corrie survived.  She realized her life was a gift from God, and needed to share what she and Betsie had learned in Ravensbruck:

There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still” and “God will give us the love to be able to forgive our enemies” (which amazingly she did).

At the age 53, Corrie began a world-wide ministry. She traveled to more than 60 countries in the next 33 years where she testified to God’s love and encouraged all she met with the message that “Jesus is Victor.” Corrie died on her 91st birthday, 15 April 1983.

Jesus said “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own“. (Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

Corrie’s amazing life story can be read in the books “The Hiding Place” and “Tramp for the Lord”. I read “Tramp for the Lord” many years ago and found it truly inspiring book.

 

Helen Gahagan Douglas

This week’s QUOTE FOR ANXIETY

Character isn’t inherited. One builds it daily by the way one thinks and acts, thought by thought, action by action. If one lets fear or hate or anger take possession of the mind, they become self-forged chains.‘ Helen Gahagan Douglas

Helen Gahagan Douglas (1900-1980) began her professional career on the Broadway stage and was regarded as a “star” at the age twenty-two. By the 1930s, she moved to California with her husband, Hollywood actor Melvyn Douglas. There she soon found herself involved in politics and was elected Democratic National Committeewoman from California in 1944. For the rest of her life, she remained a tireless public speaker and activist.

Douglas gets to the core of how character is developed with this quote of hers. You can’t blame your genes for your character. Actually if you do, you become a victim and develop a victim mentality. ‘I can’t help it …. that’s the way I’m made ..’ is the cry of a victim mentality.

I love hearing about people who have succeeded despite the odds being stacked against them. Our thoughts direct our mood and our behavior. If you have a victim mentality, you will have ‘victim’ behavior. Our character is developed by choosing ‘right actions’. Fear, hate and anger keep us in the past and keep one a victim, chained to the past. The only way to move forward is through forgiveness, letting go of hurts and anger.  The person who hurt us has forgotten what they did that offended us, while we hang on to the hurts and stew in the pain through not forgiving. And fears? You’ve got to face them as it’s avoidance that keeps a person anxious.

Forgive and move on, that’s the way to build good character. Carefully watch your thoughts and discard any that keep you miserable.