Renewing the Roots

If today is a struggle, be careful not to stuff your thoughts and feelings down again to make it through. Don’t just survive until your next day off. When you have a moment, ask God, “Why do I feel this way? Why am I thinking these things? Where is all this stress coming from?”

You may think you know what the source is—a deadline, a big to-do list, a difficult situation you have to handle. But the problem is rarely the real problem. If you stripped away all your responsibilities, are those feelings still there? If they are, take time with Jesus. Let him show you where the fear, anxiety, frustration, bitterness, and sadness are coming from. Maybe it’s an old wound which needs forgiveness to heal. It could be you’re having a hard time fully trusting God because you’re afraid to not be in control. Perhaps it’s the long-held belief you’re unworthy of love unless you perform well enough for it.

When you see a root, ask the Lord how he wants you to deal with it. You may need to receive forgiveness. Or give it. Whatever it is, do what he’s telling your heart. Make this a kind of offering. Literally lift your hands up as if it’s is a tangible object. I know that may seem weird, and simplistic, especially if it’s something big. But even if it’s something you need to process with God repeatedly, or deal with in counseling, the act of saying, “This is yours, Lord,” begins to take the burden from your shoulders, and puts it in his arms.

Thank him. Thank him until you can see how free he’s made you. Now ask him to show you how he sees your relationships and responsibilities. Ask him to tell you how he sees you. Instead of letting your circumstances define your mindset and mood, trust him again with your identity. Let him replace the dark thinking with his incredible thoughts of you. Let your heart be so full of his love, joy, and peace, there’s no room for anything negative.

This isn’t fortune cookie psychology. This is the heart of royalty: “Why is my soul so downcast? Why am I so sad? I will put my hope in God again!” (Psalm 43:5). This is the renewed mind, which demonstrates the goodness and wholeness of God’s will for your life (Romans 12:2). This is the power of Paul’s “think on these things” list of meditating on what is “true, honorable, good, right, pure, and beautiful,” displacing everything in your mind that isn’t (Philippians 4:8-9). This is the unyielding grace declaring God will never surrender you to a spirit of fear. Just the opposite, you’re being equipped to live each day in more and more of his power, love, and healthy thinking (2 Timothy 1:7). This is the Gospel—that Jesus Christ saves you, not just to barely make it to heaven, but to redeem, renew, equip, empower, and bless you here, now, and always.

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