Tag Archives: worrying

Fighting Fearful Thoughts

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

I told my son yesterday, “You’re living in an unprecedented time in history.” As the world buckles down because of the Coronavirus, and social distancing becomes a thing, I find myself watching social media more and even listening to the news radio station looking for information. My son is asking questions about all that’s happening and we’re answering them the best we can with what little information we have. As public gatherings get canceled, grocery stores run out of food and people go into hiding, I cant help but remind myself and my family to keep going back to God’s Word. The world is offering up fear and panic, but God’s Word brings peace and life.

Our enemy’s tactic has always been isolation. He knows if he can get you alone, he can get I to your mind. If he can get into your mind, he can direct your thoughts and stop you in your tracks. Think right now about what is dominating your thoughts. How is that affecting your mood, your relationship with others and your actions? What’s driving your emotions right now? It stems from your thoughts. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take every thought captive to make it obey Christ. I’m not saying you and I shouldn’t be informed about what’s going on in the world and what actions you should take. I’m saying quit letting the thoughts and what if’s dominate your mind. Instead, Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on good things, true things, right things, lovely things and good reports because they bring us life.

Proverbs 4:21 says, “Fill your thoughts with my words until they penetrate deep into your spirit” (TPT). Don’t let the fearful thoughts rule your mind. Bring them captive and replace them with the things God says instead. In Matthew 6, Jesus reminds us not to worry because He’s in control. Philippians 4:6 tell us not to worry, but to pray instead. The Bible is full of promises from God that should dominate our minds, bring us peace and fortify our mind against the daily barrage of fear. When you find yourself worrying, stop the thoughts, and ask, “What does God say?” Spend more time reading God’s Word to put it in your heart and mind. It is your sword to fight fear and the thoughts that cause them.

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Releasing Stress

The unofficial motto of Generation X is, “If it is to be, it’s up to me.” We were the first generation to be latch key kids meaning both parents worked. We became self sufficient and took on responsibilities at an early age. We tend to look at situations and jump in if no one else is. We see a job that needs to be done, and we do it. We often take pride in doing things ourselves and in making things happen. That line of thinking extends to when we are stressed or worried too. We try to handle it ourselves because we’ve learned to do everything else alone.

In 1 Peter 5, the author writes about how God resists the proud. Then in verse 7 he writes, “Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you” (TPT). I was a little confused as I looked for a transition between the two statements and couldn’t find one. That’s when I realized that pride is usually what keeps us from giving our worries, our cares and our stresses to the Lord. We feel like we don’t need any help because we can do it. When we think we don’t need God’s help, that’s a bad thing. When we think we can do it on our own, that’s pride and God resists the proud.

God’s desire is that we live balanced lives. In order to do that, we have to be humble enough to hand things off to Him and leave them with Him. Many of us tell Him about our stresses, but we pick them back up after our prayer and carry them with us. That’s not good for our mind, our body or our spirit. We must trust God enough that we hand off our problems to Him, and we must be willing to not pick them back up. God cares for you enough that He doesn’t want you weighed down by worry or slowed by stress. He’s willing to take those things off of our hands and give us His burden which is light. We just have to be humble enough to make the trade.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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Right Now

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

Do you ever find yourself letting your mind wander through all the possible outcomes of a situation? Before you know it, you can lose a couple of hours or even a day. I’ve been known to lose sleep just thinking about all the “what if’s”. When I was at a dead end in life and was forced to file bankruptcy, I couldn’t find any outcome that was positive. I was worried sick over how hard the next seven years were going to be. I couldn’t stop thinking of all the implications of it, not to mention the embarrassment. I got caught up in an endless cycle of thoughts that were detrimental to my well being.

God knows all too well how our minds work. I think that’s why Jesus dealt with those of us who are constantly living in the future of “what if’s” instead of in the present what is. In Matthew 6:34, Jesus said, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. (MSG)” He was very plain in that verse and His words hit home with someone like me.

When I give my attention to the “what if’s”, I take away from what God is doing in this very moment. I lose sight of the reality that He is creating in my life right now. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. I have no clue how my current situation will end, but God does. He knows all too well what tomorrow will bring and what I need to do today in order to prepare for it. When I worry about the possibilities, I miss out on what He’s showing me right now in order to help me tomorrow. That’s why He wants me to give my entire attention to what He’s doing today, not what He’s going to do.

In the second part of that verse, Jesus assures us that God will help us with what comes next. He’s not going to let you walk into a trap and then abandon you. He’s not going to hang you out to dry when times get tough. People may do that, but God never will. Jesus said that He will help you with whatever hard things come up and will be there for you when you need him. Deuteronomy 3:18 says, “The Lord your God goes with you, He will never leave you nor forsake you.” I don’t know what hard thing you’re facing today, but God does and He’ll help you deal with it. Don’t use today’s energy worrying about tomorrow’s problems. God is with you right now, using whatever it is to produce things in your life that won’t grow any other way. Trust His plan and lean on His strength.

Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

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