Hey there, Relentless Students! I hope you are finding little ways to brighten your quarantine! This is day 25 of our 30-day Devo, only 5 days left. The practice for today is still a prayer of examen, which is provided in the 30-day Devo tab.
Today, our is found in Matthew 6:25-33 which says,
"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
Raise of hands, who struggles with anxiety? At some level, I think all of us do. For some of us, it's a quiet voice that can cause our minds to ask "What if...?" For others, it's like having someone 9'10" come in yelling "YEAH, BUT WHAT IF....?!?" to every situation you face. Right now, I bet a lot of us feel like the giant is yelling at us causing immense self-doubt, unnecessary stress, and maybe even some depression to take root in our lives. It's hard because we read passages like the one above and they make it sound like anxiety is a switch, flick up for on and down for off. The issue is two-fold, anxiety doesn't work like that for most people and the passage never said it was easy.
Anxiety is caused by fear, fear for the future, fear for today, fear of a conversation, etc. Fear can be traced back to the root of the anxiety. The thing is, fear causes our brain to produce different levels of chemicals. These chemicals are what trigger emotions. So, when fear steps in and allows for anxiety our brain becomes imbalanced. The levels of chemicals are in disorder and need to be realigned for correction. Now, most of us do this naturally over time, and avoiding high fear/anxiety situations can help keep our brains in check. There are others of us who have a disorder that makes it much harder for the chemicals to become balanced and those people struggle with anxiety much more often and can become even crippled by the weight they feel.
When looking at this, how did Jesus expect us to just be free from anxiety? When I read the passage above, I don't think his goal was for you to just flick some which. It seems like he was reminding us all that we need not be anxious, don't allow those thoughts to hold you captive, but replace them with the truth that God will provide for your needs. It's not about a switch, but about replacing our anxious thoughts with thoughts of hope that only God can provide. This whole idea is to talk to God about what is making you anxious and praying that He would give you peace. Not finding peace and then talking to God.
Your challenge for the day is to click the "30-Day Devo" tab and read day 25. As you do this, journal about your engagement with God and ask yourself at the end, did this enhance my experience?
Our prayer today,
God, thank you for being a God who brings peace. Thank you for providing for our needs so we need not worry. May we be reminded of this, especially now with everything going on in our world today. I pray that we are all filled with your peace and that if we aren't, we would call out to you, trusting in your truths. God, we love you and we know you love us. We pray all of this in Jesus' name, Amen.