Have you ever felt like your mind knows what’s true but your heart struggles to believe it? Have you ever felt like you know the scriptures but you feel lost in the storm you are in? In this 5-day devotional you will learn how to let the truth you know in your mind, become truth in your heart. This will allow you to release the stresses of life and give your full self to your Heavenly Father.
5-Day Devotional – Day 1: Stress Relief
As I’m writing this I’m going through one of the most stressful seasons of my life. I just got a new job as a Preschool Director and my husband (Judah) and I are over the Youth and Children Pastors at our church. I still have to find time to eat healthy, drink enough water, work out, grocery shop, do the laundry, put up the laundry, hang out with friends and family, and have “me” time.
Did you get stressed reading that? Welcome to my world. Life can get CRAZY busy, because we let it. We let society’s standards of “success,” which is busyness, stand in the way of our peace. The peace that has already been given to us from God, is available to us at all times, if we just accept and receive it.
My greatest peace filled moments in life are the ones when I create an actual Sabbath day in which I do nothing.
God created the world in 6 days and the 7th day He rested. If the God of the universe wanted a day of rest after a busy week, I know it’s okay for me to want the same thing. I do want to clarify that when Jesus came to earth, He fulfilled the Law in which Sabbath isn’t required, but is still valued. In Mark 2:27-28 it says “Then [Jesus] said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” So, even though Jesus proves to be Lord over the religious requirement of the Sabbath, it is still a healthy practice that God made for the benefit of humans to incorporate into their lives.
You know that sense of peace after you’ve had a long vacation and you come home and lay on the couch and just breathe? That’s the kind of peace we can have all day, every day. In the storms of life, Jesus is the calm that you need your soul craves you choose. He is the comfort. He is the one who tells the winds to be quiet so you can be still with Him. Christ is our stress relief. He’s the one who created the pattern of life in which we should live.
You might be thinking, “How do I create a Sabbath?”
It’s simple and stress-free. Find a day where you can do absolutely nothing in your schedule. If you don’t have a day, make a day. Don’t do laundry that day or grocery shop. Just rest and relax. You can still be with friends and family, but use it as a time to surround yourself with God, hobbies you find restful, and relationships that recharge you, not drain you.
Example: My Sabbath days look like a restful morning where I get a quality amount of time with the Lord, usually longer than my everyday time with Him. Then I like to do things I know fill me. I love spending time with my Husband, going on walks and eating good food. Everyone is different, and what I find restful might make you go insane, but you just have to find what works for you.
You might also be thinking, “How does a Sabbath help me?”
It creates formation in your time and helps you analyze what is priority in your schedule. It also helps your body to recharge and heal after a long week of work and the stresses of life in general. (Continue reading on this topic, How to Rest Well: Understanding the Sabbath)
“Well, what if I still feel stressed during or after my Sabbath day?” Nothing is wrong with you. It takes time for your heart to adjust to rest and recharge. Pray and ask God to give you the Peace that He promises you in His Word. Accept it. Receive it. Can I be honest? I’m still learning how to do this myself. Together, we’re all trying to figure out this crazy thing called life. But as long as we keep Jesus at the center, we know that it will all workout for our good.
5-Day Devotional – Day 2: Read. Repeat. Relax.
There are many times that I’ve wanted to spend distraction free prayer time with complete and utter attention on the Lord, that have gone differently than intended. In reality, while I am supposed to be praying I actually start thinking and dwelling on my issues instead of releasing them to God. Even in the midst of my prayers I start to worry. That is the enemy trying to distract me from what is good, holy, pure and righteous.
Here are some tips that have helped me shut off my worry and turn on my faith:
A. Read the Word. It doesn’t have to be a whole chapter… just one or two verses; meditate on them.
B. Repeat it. Repeat that Scripture out loud so you can hear yourself say it and proclaim it over your life. Read it over and over if needed. Read it until you believe it.
C. Relax. Use this time to simply unwind. I normally put on a long worship song, lay down, and take deep breaths as I release any burdens, frustrations, anxieties; whatever it might be, to the Lord. This helps my body relax while my mind is slowly able to let go of the worry I was feeling. As you listen to the worship song, really meditate on the Scripture you just read, and pray.
These tips have helped me anytime I have had anxiety or fear. Sometimes it takes 30 seconds for me to fully relax, sometimes it takes 15 minutes. I never regret taking my anxieties and fears to God. He gives me His peace every time, and He wants to give you His peace every time, because He loves you. Choose to cling to what is GOOD, not what you have been worried or anxious about.
Read Matthew 6:25-27 then pray and ask God to help you release all your cares on Him.
5-Day Devotional – Day 3: Take a Walk
Did you know that there is actual scientific evidence that being in nature boosts not only your mood and immune system, but could actually lengthen your life? There is a reason God made nature so beautiful. His creativity and beauty is displayed on every turn. He wanted you to enjoy his handiwork.
The beach is my happy place. I don’t need to be in the water, I just like walking or running along the coast. There is nothing better to me than the saltwater air, softness of sand, and the calming motion of the waves. I’ve had moments where I am full of anxiety and just have to drop everything and go to the beach to walk and pray. You may not be as blessed to have beach access within a short drive, but I know you have a park nearby or a nature trail. This week try to get out to walk and pray in God’s creation… this can be life changing for you.
Get out in the beauty God created for you to enjoy, and enjoy it!
When Jesus wanted rest, He did a variety of things. Jesus went into nature. He went to the ocean and sailed with His disciples (Mark 6: 30-32). Jesus went on a walk in Gethsemane and prayed when He was about to face death for the salvation of our souls (Matthew 26:36-38). He fasted and went into the Judean desert to be alone with God and was tempted by satan (Matthew 4). In the times we are trying to seek peace, the enemy will never stop tempting you to sin and stop trusting God. We need to rise above the temptations like Jesus did, and withstand the enemy with the Truth we find in our quiet place with God. In those moments we are made aware of how little we are, and how big God is.
5-Day Devotional – Day 4: Fast and Seek Him
Fasting is one of the very ways that even Jesus Himself did to seek the Father. Setting aside time to fast and pray and reconnect with God is one of the most effective ways you can connect what you know about God to be true to flow to your heart and truly believe it.
Honestly, whenever “Fasting Season” used to come around every single January at church I used to dread it. I used to hate fasting because I wanted to keep my life comfortable for myself, I used to think “I am doing just fine in my spiritual walk, why do I need to fast?” Until I had a rude awakening that I hated my job as a behavioral therapist, I wasn’t passionate about it like my coworkers. I loved the kids and the staff, but it wasn’t a joy to me, wanted to see change in my life but didn’t know how to make that change happen.
Little did I know the change needed to happen in my heart before God would open a new job for me, I started fasting with a friend so we could keep each other accountable. I fasted for 7 days, I limited my sweets and gluten intake and was off social media (since those are some of my favorite things… gluten is delicious). I prayed and a door opened for me to work as a nanny for this amazingly beautiful family and I would get paid salary as a nanny and paid holidays.
I thought “THIS IS IT! THIS IS FINALLY A JOB I CAN ENJOY AGAIN!”
Right when I thought I was free from my old job the new nanny job fell through, I was distraught and was mad at God. Thoughts popped in my head like “Why would you get my hopes up, I was fasting to see change… I was fasting for a new job?!”
I went through a few months of working through my emotions and having to tell myself “God knows better than I do.” I also had to realize my mindset during fasting was all wrong, I made fasting about me. But here’s the thing, fasting isn’t about us, it’s about Jesus. I needed to fast with the intention of growing closer to God despite my struggles. He will always take care of me. He DOES know best. Even when I feel like he doesn’t hear me, he sees every tear I have cried. Fasting is surrendering what you love to grow closer to God, to make more time to seek His face, and to release your life in full to Him. My attitude needed to change. Does yours?
Read Joel 2:12 then pray and ask God to reveal to you what you need to Fast in order to reconnect with Him. What has priority in your life over God? Where do you run from comfort? What’s something you can give up to make room for God?
5-Day Devotional – Day 5: Don’t Lose Hope
Can I be fully honest? I am currently working through anxiety. Each day of this 5-day devotional has been a glimpse of what God is teaching me. I am not the master at beating anxiety, but I know Who is. Something that people have told me through this season in my life is don’t lose hope. When I feel like I have lost hope, I get a precious glimpse of the hope that God has displayed before me. It’s that feeling of relief and that satisfying feeling of a weight being lifted off my chest.
I know God is with me and He will never leave me nor forsake me.
The definition of Hope is 1) a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen and 2) a feeling of trust.
The second definition is the one that brings me to tears. Don’t lose hope translates for me: Don’t lose trust in God. He is not the one giving you anxiety. The enemy is the one who comes to steal, kill, and destroy… and he will if you let him. God is just a prayer away. I have felt disconnected lately because I know Scripture and I know the truth, but my heart has been struggling to believe it. All we need to do is pray and have HOPE. We need to TRUST. We need to CLING to what is good, which is God.
In conclusion of this 5-day devotional: Place your name in the blank.
Today I want you to place your name in the blank of these scriptures and read these to yourself anytime you are struggling with believing the Truth. Feel free to copy this somewhere to refer to when you need it. I have done this for over a year, and every time I do it I feel refreshed and whole. These scriptures are God’s promises to us. He keeps his word and He never changes.
Read these and believe that with God all things are possible:
______ , I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
_______, peace I leave you, peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27)
_______, cast ALL your anxiety on me because I CARE for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
_______, Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what My will is—my good, pleasing and perfect will. ( Romans 12:2)
_______, Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the I (the Lord your God) will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
_______, do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
______, take delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
______, No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Joshua 1:5)
Additional verses to place your name in the blank:
______, put your trust in me. I am your refuge. I say “with long life I will satisfy her because she loves me.” (Psalm 91:14)
______, The righteous cry out, and I hear them; I deliver them from all their troubles. (Psalm 34:17)
______, Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly on Me. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. (Proverbs 4:25)
______, In peace you will lie down and sleep, for I alone, make you dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8)
______, Cast your cares on Me and I will sustain you; I will never let the righteous be shaken.(Psalm 55:22)
_______, Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. (Proverbs 3:7-8)
______, For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)
______, I will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in ME. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal. (Isaiah 26:3-4)
_______, those who hope in the ME will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40: 31)
I hope that this 5-Day Devotional helps you go from a life of stress to a life of rest, trust and surrender to God. It’s changed my life and I believe it will do the same in your life.