Posted in Fear/Anxiety
Scripture: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34). “Give us this day, our daily bread….” – Matthew 6:11(NIV)
Starting off on an honest note, I’ve recently found myself frustrated with where I am in life. I’m 20 years old and have considered dropping out of college multiple times so I can hurry up and fulfill God’s purpose for me: mission work. These (honorable but definitely rash) thoughts were caused by the tough time I’ve had with online school during the pandemic. Online learning is not my thing.
I’m someone who’s open about my mental health; therefore, I have no issue sharing that I struggle with my “trifecta:” depression, anxiety and ADHD. Pair these with online school, and I risk total “shut down,” A.K.A. “If I ignore my issues, they don’t exist.” But they did exist and kept piling up.
After a few “shut downs,” I asked for help from family, friends, and college aides, and I was able to arrive at a manageable place. However, now I’m facing finals prep on top of my remaining catch-up work. Another “shutdown” started to creep in, until I watched an interview of, ironically enough, Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. (Hang with me here, I promise this is a Christian devotional.)
Hanh, now 94 years old, has spent his life advocating for peace, earning himself a Nobel Peace Prize nomination by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In the interview, he repeated the importance of living in the present and used two pieces of scripture, Matthew 6:11, 34, to show how being present is a priority in Christianity. This reminded me that, in the past few months, I’ve only leaned on God when I was utterly consumed by stress rather than going to Him first.
I wonder, why are we wasting our days stressing about things that we have no control over? Often, we are so wrapped-up in the next assignment we “need” to complete, goal we “need” to achieve, or meeting we “need” to attend that we forgo living in the present for living in a future that, in actuality, we know nothing about.
All we know is that the Lord has a plan for our future. It’s scary to give up control, and it’s okay to acknowledge that fear. In reality, we’re lying to ourselves and to God when we don’t acknowledge our fears.
Today, I challenge you to lean into your fears alongside God and let him show you the comfort of letting tomorrow worry about itself. Spend a moment with him, take deep breaths to bring your mind back to your body, and consciously give him control of the stresses that are forcing you to live in the future. Then, during your day, stay present by keeping a list of where you see God working his plan especially in the small moments that are typically deemed ordinary. He will surely give you inner peace!
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I ask that You walk beside me this day. Help me breathe in deeply, breathe out these worldly stresses, and see with new eyes. I ask that you show me where you are working, especially in the small ways. your Kingdom is grand and beautiful, but you, Lord God, can also be seen in a door held open, a flower picked, or a smile given. Help me to live presently in your Kingdom this day, Lord God, so that I may fully appreciate the life you’ve graciously given me. In Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.
Submitted by Mary Martha Beard