Replacing Worry With Peace, a story
There once was a girl that didn’t know how to sit still. To the outside world she looked productive, in charge, and on top of life. There were times during the day that she too believed the things she projected to the world.
But late at night, when she was meant to sit still and rest, her mind would race. She could not out run the feeling that she was not good enough, she had not accomplished enough, she had not loved enough.
She reached out to God in prayer, “God I have done so much today. I looked for all the good things I could do, and I did them. But I did not take time to look for the small things that you have provided. I have not been filling my gratitude journal like I should. Please help me do this tomorrow.”
The next day was more of the same, finishing the good deeds she had started the day before and looking for more good deeds, running away from the ‘not good enough’ feeling. That evening, sitting down with her journal, she wrote out gratitude for everything she could remember:
Thank you God for: My home, family, and friends My job and coworkers My church and community of believers The parking spot, food, and clothing you provided today And thank you for not letting me burn out, I am weary but grateful for the energy you gave to complete the good deeds.
After, she felt a small sense of peace before falling asleep.
Later that night she woke again with the same thoughts running through her head. This time she pleaded with God “God, please take away this feeling of dread, anxiety and shame! I am doing what you call us to do, love our neighbor. I have loved and loved, and given and given to everyone today. I took time today to lookout for the good things I should be grateful for. Still, the peace I felt after writing in my journal is fleeting. I am doing what you asked and I need you to take away these feelings. ”
Months went by, praying the same prayer to take away the same feeling.
‘Wait on the Lord’ is the message she received when she sought answers in her church, community of believers, and scrolling through Christian influencers' instagrams. Nothing was being taken away, and day by day she felt more weary and weighed down.
The depression set in slowly, not all at once. It was like boiling a frog, she never jumped out because the pressure was slowly being turned up without her noticing. The girl continued to pray for God to take away the pressure with no relief. She had given her life to Christ, accepted him into her heart, and used all her self-will to obey what the Bible. What else was she to do?
One day she scrolled past a different message. It called for Christians to give up their worries, fears, resentments and regrets to God. The message came with a scripted prayer. This prayer was different.
She recited to God the prayer, not sure exactly what it meant.
“God, please give me the courage to let go of my worries, resentments, fears and regrets to you. Change my heart to be fully focused on you. Reveal to me where I am still holding on to control of my life. I want you to be in control. I ask you to give me your thoughts, words and actions. Through my belief in Christ send the Holy Spirit into my head and heart. Fill me with the Spirit’s fruit, provide the trust in you I need to follow your will. Amen”
Then she slept a full nights sleep, the first in a long time. She kept her same overloaded schedule that week, but noticed there was a lightness to her that she had not felt in a long time. There were also little thoughts that kept popping into her head.
She began a running list of these thoughts, unsure of why they were coming up or what to do with them. Following this urge deep inside of her, she began to pray over that list and what she should accomplish next.
The list became a journal, the journal provided a multitude of worries, resentments, fears and regrets from her life. It was hard to relive some of the situations in her head. There were days she wanted to give up. There were days she did give up. But something kept turning her back to God and pushing her forward.
A rhythm began with her and God. She would share part of her journal in her prayer, ending with the words “I give this to you God. I ask for your forgiveness and thank you for loving me. You created me exactly the way I am, and I am exactly where you want me to be today.”
A different rhythm started to occur in her schedule, there was more time for reading God’s Word. This resulted in saying ‘no’ to some good opportunities to serve. The first ‘no’ was uncomfortable, but there was also a sense of peace with her decision. She looked forward to coming home at night and sitting with God, and things were still being accomplished without her assisting in every opportunity.
Day by day, week by week, month by month God worked within her, changing her heart and turning her focus fully on God. The things she had begged for months to be taken away were slowly dissolving within her, not without the hard work on her side. They dissolved as she started to give God the things she once held tightly.
One day she realized her life, thoughts, and heart had changed. Through the work of the Holy Spirit within her, she had grown closer to God and far away from the life where she was ‘in charge and on top of things’. God was now her guiding light, she had learned how to create space for the Holy Spirit to work within her.
Finishing her evening prayer, a rhythm of giving to God, asking him to work within her, and thanking him for taking control of her life - she smiled as she rolled over for another night of peaceful sleep, resting in the freedom of giving her whole life to God.