It was one of those dreams that makes your eyes pop open, and it takes you a moment to realize where you are. It seemed so real that my heart beat faster and I needed a moment to catch my breath.
I’ll spare you the disturbing details. I can tell you that my nightmare was my stress and anxiety personified. It was as though my deepest fears became a story that I was living out. I was relieved to wake up and realize that it was just a dream, but I was instantly confronted with a part of myself that I didn’t like to see. Here I was, a seemingly mature Christian still riddled with worry and clearly not trusting God with my greatest concerns.
Have you ever found yourself in such a place? Maybe a dream or real life startled you so much that you discovered just how small your faith was?
You don’t need to shrink away or berate yourself when these things happen. They serve as reminders from God to put anxious, fearful thoughts in their place.
In Matthew 6:27 (NLT), Jesus asks, “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” I’m sure He asked this because people worry as though it is actually helping matters. Indeed, the trouble with worry is that we believe we’re being productive. We think we’re mentally sorting things out and developing strategies for our worst case scenarios. After all, how can something harm me if I’m prepared, right?
The truth is that worry is just the mental gymnastics of anxiety and fear, and letting those two run our thoughts is fruitless. Fear doesn’t add to our lives; it always diminishes. We aren’t improving our situations by worrying. We’re only making those scenarios worse by reimagining them without God’s presence.
The Bible commands us again and again not to fear. Our burdens are not for us to carry in our minds all day. We need to take them to the Father. In Philippians 4:6-7, He has a much better plan in store for us rather than fretting over things that we can’t control anyway. “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then, you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (NLT). What a beautiful trade! Rather than fight our own fears, we give them to God in exchange for peace.
When I awoke from my dream, I immediately reached for my Bible and read Isaiah 26:3. “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all those thoughts are fixed on you.” My heart was refreshed that I didn’t have to let worry have the last word. Neither do you. We can meditate on God’s Word and let His goodness and love be our focus.
Copyright 2016, Jennifer E Jones. Used by permission.