Bits of Advice to Turn Over Your Worry Into Trust

Girl on Lake

Lately, I’ve been thinking.

Not about anything in particular, really, but just about the future.

Everything from the coming school year to my life career, from my future marriage to my future kids, and all that. (If I told you that I also think about retirement on occasion, you’d think me mad. But to quote Alice – from Wonderland of course – all the best people are. We’re all mad here.)

What if I “fail” school this year?

What exactly am I going to do when I graduate?

What if I’m still single at 30?

What if I can’t have kids?

What if I lose my friends?

What if…what if…what if…And on and on.

Though I don’t completely consider myself an anxious person, I do sometimes get caught up too much in my thoughts. You must know, that as an introvert, I spend way too much time thinking about things and less time talking them through. This, in turn, leads to stressing over things that are completely implausible and ridiculous, but you couldn’t tell me that then if you tried.

So, as a reference for myself in the days to come and everyone else who has ever struggled with stress or anxiety (let’s face it – we all have), I’ve compiled some hopefully-helpful advice for the life ahead.

  1. No matter how many self-help books we read, or conferences we attend, or sermons we stream online, or any other resource we gather information from, there’s no better truth than the Bible.

No matter how stressed, depressed, anxious, or afraid I feel, I can always – I repeat, ALWAYS – find strength and encouragement in the Bible. Here are some of my top verses that encourage me when I’m going crazy.

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Psalm 55:22

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

Psalm 118:5-6

Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?

  1. God is always near to us. He has never left, and never will, and will deliver us.

Psalm 34:17-18

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Psalm 143:7-8

Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

Isaiah 41:13

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

It’s crazy to think of how many times we don’t pray and trust God through each aspect of our lives. Even in hardships, a lot of times, I forget that my all-powerful and all-loving Creator is on my side.

For example, I read a random fact that the average person will spend two weeks of their life sitting at a stoplight. Think about that. Can you imagine if we spent that same amount of time in prayer, turning our worries over to God? Can you imagine if we spent that same amount of time every day getting to know God better?

For me, that really puts things in perspective, because I know that I spend more time of my life all stressed out than I spend sitting at a red light. Whoa. I’m going to change that.

  1. We don’t need to trust in ourselves.

Most of my stress comes from my forgetting that I’m not the one in control. So often I think about how “I’m not going to be able to ______” or “I don’t know how ______ is going to come together” or whatever. It’s really crazy to think like this, because this burden is not for me to carry.

Read this and believe it along with me.

I’m not the one in control of my life, but I know the One who is. He loves me, and has a perfect plan all laid out for me.

It’s not all up to me.

I just need to trust, for His ways are best.

1 John 3:20

For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

  1. Worry Time doesn’t do any good. Trust Time does.

Matthew 6:27

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Proverbs 12:25

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.

All the time we spend in stress could be turned over into time trusting in God. Trust is soooooo much more beneficial than stress…because all of this isn’t in our hands anyway.

For me, I know that having the security of God’s promises is enough.

When we don’t trust, we are essentially saying, “God, I don’t believe that you are strong enough to handle my problems.” Ouch, right? Of course He has everything under control, even as out-of-control as it may seem.

But He’s never going to let us down or disappoint us. I find it to be such a beautiful and awe-inspiring thing that God cares so much about us to hold our lives so carefully. He can do anything, and nothing is too hard for Him!

Jeremiah 32:17

‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.

So let’s all do something together. Let’s trust in the One who has it all under control. As hard as that is, I’m surrendering my stress, worries, and anxiety to my Maker, who holds me so tightly in the palm of His hand. ❤

*aj

Stress is Real, But There’s a Solution.

Castle and Bike

Have you ever read Psalm 91?

I love it so much. I don’t really have time to go through it all, and I don’t want to lose anyone’s attention (my own, actually…) so I’m just going to pick out a few verses from it.

Psalm 91:1-2 says,

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress,

    my God, in whom I trust.’”

 

See, I get really stressed sometimes. If you’re not a high school student right now but once were, you may have forgotten how hard it can get…I’m not saying that “real life” is any easier, but stress is a real thing for us teens. (Well, I don’t know anything about being an adult, but I’ve heard that’s hard too.)

“You gotta get good grades.” “You really should have a job to pay for your own stuff.” “You need to do a bunch of sports and extracurricular activities, or you won’t have a chance of getting into a good college.” “You have to go to college! You won’t be able to get a good job to be able to support your family if you don’t!” “If you aren’t dating or married by your early twenties, it’s the end of the world!”

Yup. Stressful, right? Now, most of those aren’t true. (They’re good things, but seriously not of utmost importance.) But that’s what the world tells us, day after day. It’s such a burden.

I haven’t always heard all of those coming at me and stressing me out, but a lot of people can fall prey to those lies. And it affects our lives! For real!

Believing lies leads (usually) to realizing that we cannot measure up to them, which makes us live the life cycle of the overcommitted and stressed teen (or any other person).

I won’t go into the “don’t believe the lies” sermon; I’m just going to talk about real life.

You may be stressed (like me), but you are not alone.

Let’s do a little mental activity here. Take a picture of yourself in your mind. Now, cut and paste that picture and put it in the arms of God. And here’s the fun part. Envision yourself really and truly there. Well, guess what? That’s where you are. For real.

Let’s read those two verses again.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress,

    my God, in whom I trust.’”

God is our refuge and fortress.

I’m going to look up the words “refuge” and “fortress” in the dictionary, because I think that it helps to know what the verses are saying.

*goes to dictionary.com and copies and pastes*

“Refuge: shelter or protection from danger, trouble, etc.”

Alright, cool. So, according to this definition, God is our shelter and protection from danger and trouble. And stress. And hopelessness. And hardships. (Well, He doesn’t keep us from them always – I know this firsthand – but He is with us and our place of safety and hope in, well, everything.)

Now let me look up “fortress”.

“Fortress: any place of exceptional security; stronghold.”

I love love LOVE the word fortress. It sounds so medieval-y and awesome. I imagine a huge and strong stone castle with a wide and dangerous, crocodile infested moat around it, and an exclusive drawbridge just for me, and guards committed to protecting me around that, and a huge iron gate around that. Basically, 110% secure and an extremely safe place.

Well, that’s God.

The first verse says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.”

 

So God is our shelter in e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. If we dwell in His shelter (by trusting Him), we will abide (which means to remain; continue; and stay) in THE SHADOW OF THE ALMIGHTY!

I find so much comfort in that.

Okay, yeah, life is SO STRESSFUL and crazy at times. I feel it. But God is with us, His beloved children.

I’m not going to tell you that life is easy. It. Is. Not. But trusting in God takes the pressure off of us. If He is all we have, He is enough.

We can’t say, “If I trust in God and also have _____, then it will be enough.”

God. Is. Enough.

God. Is. Here.

We. Have. Hope.

God. Is. Strong. Enough. To. Handle. Anything.

He. Loves. Us. So. Much.

*aj

Life as a Teen in This Crazy World

  

I think that being a teen is just so crazy. 
We’re supposed to look and act like adults, but really, we still have the minds of children for the most part. (At least I do sometimes.) Life is a roller coaster, and we’re standing up on the loop-de-loop. (Or something like that. I’ve never been great with analogies.) Anyway, I wanted to talk about our crazy lives, and what we can do about them.
1) Stress.
Life is stressful…there’s no denying it. School, pressure from everywhere, freedom, tragedies…you name it, we feel it. Life is hard. The older you get, the more you understand and are told.
It’s hard to deal with, you know. One of my many comfort verses is Psalm 4:8.


“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

God is my peace. I’ll rest in Him. His embrace makes my stress disappear. I have peace in the crazy.

2) Love. 
Yet another crazy thing. There’s all this pressure coming from the world, saying, “Being single is bad. You need someone to satisfy your every need. How can you get it? Start dating! With countless [easy] payments of BHS (Broken Heart Syndrome)! You’ll never realize how hopeless you were once you have a significant other.” But…that leaves us confused. I mean, who doesn’t want someone to love them for them? Hold them and comfort them? Save them? We all want that, but it can’t be satisfied by a human relationship. It comes from a relationship with God…and if we don’t realize this, we are gonna be lost.
3) School.
Yup. School. I don’t like it any more than you…but we gotta do it. Sometimes I get so frustrated and freaked out over it. But it’s so small in the grand scheme of life, so here’s a verse that helps me through.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to GodAnd the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:6-7, ESV)

We will make it. Really. (I’m going to save this post to my favorites so I can read it every day and be reminded of this.)
4) Everything Changing.
Everything is changing. It’s not really fair. Lives change, friends move away, life. is. insane. The one thing that I have to hold onto is this — Jesus never changes. Ever. 
Hebrews 13:8 says that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” 
He never changes, even when everything else does. I can stay secure in that!
5) Pressure — From EVERYWHERE.
Social pressure. Emotional pressure. Physical pressure. Family pressure. Everything says “GO HERE! DO THIS! DON’T SO THAT!” And it’s hard. Need I say it again? IT IS HARD! Who do I please when I’m being torn in fifty bazillion directions? Well, here’s who. 
But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians 2:4, ESV)

We need to live to please God, not man. That takes a lot of pressure off, doesn’t it.
Life is crazy. But not impossible. 
Being a teen is hard. But we have the Creator of the Universe on our side!
We don’t need to worry. God’s got this. 
It will be okay. We will survive our teen years…and by following God, we will THRIVE. 
*aj