Monday: As we attempt to control our circumstances, the result of anxiety can be an elevated heart rate, high blood pressure, poor eating habits and lack of sleep. Many people seek self-help books, stress-reducing exercises, and mood-altering drugs to try to find a sense of peace. Though effective, these may mask a potentially more serious issue that says, “God, I don’t trust you, so I’m making it my business to try to control this.” Ultimately, worry sets in. Paul said, “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” To surrender, we must say, “Regardless of whether I can see the plan or result, I trust You God. I give this to you.” Most of what we worry about won’t matter in a year anyway. So giving God control, takes the pressure off. Instead of trying to do it our way, we must trust Him to do it His way!
Read: Matthew 6:25-34; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Romans 15:13
Tuesday: Peaceful, calm, free, joyful, confident, thankful and secure are all antonyms of worry. They describe the person who trusts God and daily walks in His presence. This takes daily giving ourselves, our circumstances, and our control to Him. When a wave of struggle hits us and we’re left with our heads spinning and our hearts broken, we can find peace when we let our heads spin right back to Him. He is security and truth, but our enemy, Satan, would like for us to believe otherwise. A psalmist wrote, “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord… for you are their glory and strength.” To reap the benefit of God’s blessings and be left standing strong and peaceful, we must learn to walk in the light of God’s presence and acclaim Him in all things, even difficulties. We must learn to be thankful, trusting that God has a plan for our good, even when life seems out of control.
Read: Psalms 89:15 & 17; 91:1-4 & 9-12; 94:18-19
Wednesday: Ever noticed anxiety and discontentment go hand in hand? Contentment often hinges on whether our expectations have been met. We often place unrealistic expectations on ourselves and others, which creates anxiety. Instead of expecting human perfection, we should look to the only perfect One, Jesus, believing that He can meet all of our needs no matter how great. As we pray with unwavering faith, the same Jesus who fed the five thousand with a few fishes and loaves and performed numerous other miracles will do the supernatural in our lives as well. He’s waiting for us to trust Him. He wants us to pray with expectation that He “is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine.” If we were already perfect, we wouldn’t need Him. He wants us to displace the expectations we have of ourselves and others on Him, thus finding true contentment.
Read: Matthew 14:16-21; Ephesians 3:20; Philippians 4:11-13
Thursday: Jesus was in a boat one day with His disciples when a furious storm swept over them without warning. As I write, I’m witnessing a storm with startling thunder and lightning. I can’t imagine what this would be like in a boat! As waves crashed over them, surely the disciples were afraid for their lives. They woke Jesus from sleep and asked Him to save them for fear of drowning. Isn’t that how it is in life? Some of the fiercest circumstances come without warning. During those times, we tend to cry out to Jesus after all of our own efforts to correct the situation have failed. In the boat, He rebuked His friends for their lack of faith and fear. Then He rebuked the wind and waves and complete calm followed. Remember the opposite of anxious is calm? He doesn’t want us to fret through our difficulties but remain calm. Just as He slept through the storm, He wants us to display faith in Him by remaining calm. The same Jesus who rebuked the wind and waves to a standstill will do the same in our storms, if we pray with faith. Stay calm, know He’s present and in control, and trust Him with your life!
Read: Matthew 8:23-27; Isaiah 12:2; 54:10
Friday: When a friend betrays us or we don’t get the position or promotion we were expecting, it hurts. Betrayal can damage our dreams, pride and confidence. But God’s Word tells us not to fret or become envious over those who hurt us. God encourages us to trust Him for justice. He would prefer us to forgive and allow Him to be the judge. As we walk forward in obedience, He promises a safe dwelling. The Psalmist David wrote, “Wait for the Lord and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land.” His land is a place of safety, security and joy, as are His plans for us. Consider that God’s ways are greater than what we can see with human eyes. Often our worldly and seemingly negative circumstances are His heavenly protection and promotion in our lives. If we trust Him, He’ll be our shield and rear guard. How comforting to know the Creator of the universe has our backs!
Read: Psalms 18:1-3; 37:1-3 & 29-34; 62:5-12; Isaiah 52:12
Devotions by Rivera Douthit
Verse of the week: “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” Psalm 94:19 (NIV)