I’m thankful I remembered Luke 12:22-34, a passage where Jesus gives us a gentle but firm reminder to let go of our worries. Truth be told, I haven’t been doing an excellent job of releasing my anxiety over the future. My fears have taken a toll on my well-being, so I’m glad to re-read these verses.
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” (Luke 12:25)
Releasing Our Worries
I found this excellent video testimony on Luke 12:25 by the YouTube channel Our Daily Bread, featuring Shelley Breen of the Point of Grace musical group:
It’s like Shelley read my mind; in just the first 30 seconds of her video alone, she vocalized pretty much all of my worries. I appreciate her honesty and vulnerability here. It’s so hard letting go of mounting stress and remembering that odds are, our “worst-case scenarios” never come to pass.
Here’s a transcript of one of my favorite parts of this video:
“God gave us a mind to reason, and His Word shows us that all worry is rooted in fear and the illusion of control.
I know that He doesn’t want us to spend our days enslaved in anxiety, yet there have been so many seasons in my life that I have been.
Something that has helped me deal with this is simply the act of remembering.
First, remembering that God is for me and that even if my own worst fears are realized, I will ultimately not just be ‘okay’, but I will have felt the nearness of God in a new and beautiful way.
Secondly, remembering His Word. Verses like John 14:1: ‘Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me.’
To believe and remember that He is the ultimate timekeeper of every minute we have on this earth and that no amount of worry or perceived control will change that.”
-Shelley Breen, “Worrying Steals Your Days”
The Enemy and Anxiety
Something else that shook me up a bit is Shelley warning us that the Enemy himself revels in “stealing our days”. My Mom recently told me something similar when we talked about my crippling stress levels. The Devil loves working to steal our future joy.
I’m still a novice Bible reader, so this might be obvious to others, but I’m just now realizing that the Devil might be the “thief” mentioned in John 10:10:
“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)
Sure enough, I found this video by the Christian Youtube channel Uplifted Soul that addresses this matter:
This quote from the narrator hits the nail on the head:
“The Devil attacks your mind because your thought life dominates and controls your attitude. It controls how you view things, it controls how you accept things, and even how you deal with the things that happen in life.
And I believe that one of the biggest ways that he attacks the mind is through discouraging Christians.”
–Uplifted Soul, “Don’t Let The Devil Steal Your Joy”
Warding Off Discouragement
There’s an important distinction to keep in mind here: while the Devil can definitely feed us discouraging thoughts, it’s dangerous and horribly dismissive to say that he’s responsible for mental illness overall.
A Christian woman I once looked up to told me that she believes this to be true in response to me confiding in her about my depression. It sucked hearing her say that because it offered no comfort and discouraged me from telling her any more details about my mental health.
The Devil loves to distract us from what God has planned for us in any way he can. I’ve found from personal experience that the Enemy loves to, as per the meaning of his name, accuse us of “not being good enough”, among other slanderous barbs.
When we think the Devil is seeking a way to undermine our hopes for the future, we can use 2 Timothy 1:7 as a spiritual litmus test:
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
God motivates us through hope and inspiration, never fear. He never wills for us to become paralyzed with terror over what could go wrong in the future.
In times of discouragement, the Devil seeks to attack our trust in God. It’s insidious and a reminder to watch out for intrusive thoughts that whisper to our fears.
It’s been a stressful last few weeks for me. I’ve been worried about what the next few months will look like for me as I continue to work on my writing and photography aspirations. While I’ve been eager to get ahead and exceed all expectations, I’ve been sacrificing sleep for three weeks.
Folks, staying up until 6 a.m. really isn’t the power move I thought it was. I don’t recommend it.
While I’ve made this mistake primarily out of my recent spike in photo editing, it’s backfired on me. When I was at the dentist this past Tuesday, they took my blood pressure, and it was 136/80. Not dangerously high, but not a normal, healthy level.
I’m 27. I’m way too young to have high blood pressure issues. What makes this even worse is that my migraines, which have always been a thorn in my side, seem to go hand-in-hand with this surge in my blood pressure.
My stress levels have been the highest they’ve been since December 2021, when I quit my toxic job to save my sanity. It hurts my heart a bit, knowing that I’m reliving the ridiculous amounts of tension I dealt with back then.
It felt like a gentle “God wink”, coming across Shelley’s video where she mentioned struggling with wanting to be in control at all times. Control over my future is something that I’ve desperately sought here lately. I’ve tried to expedite my future with anxiety as my fuel, and as one can imagine, it hasn’t worked.
With this week, I’ll be hitting the reset button and reminding myself that God doesn’t need us to whip ourselves to make our future happen. If I can, I’d love to return to the forest park where I live (the source of my featured image for this post) and just wander for a while.
Wander, take some nature shots, and let go of this mountain of anxiety. I have to remember that I can’t force my desired future to appear by trusting in my stress. God’s got us all covered, no matter what lies we’re fed otherwise.
Featured Image by Connor Brennan
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