Editor's note: More kids than ever before are dealing with anxiety and depression. It can be confusing to fight for mental and emotional health as a believer, especially for our kids. Enjoy this except from Justine Froelker's new book 100 Devotions for Kids Dealing with Anxiety and be sure to share it with a young friend.
I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. — John 14:27
Our world offers some great gifts — experiences, treasures, and people. However, it is nothing compared to what Jesus gave us and promises us. In John 14 Jesus told His disciples that Holy Spirit was coming to teach and remind them of everything. Let’s be honest, it is easy to forget. To know and lean into Holy Spirit is how Jesus gifts us far beyond what the world can promise us or provide. Without Jesus, without His promises and the gifts of Holy Spirit, the things really don’t matter much. It is here that we can receive what feels like an impossible feat of not being afraid or troubled.
I wonder if when Jesus said not to let our hearts be troubled and not to be afraid, he also meant, “Hey, I know you will feel trouble and fear. Feel it and do not be it.” There is a difference between feeling our emotions and being our emotions. We are not mad. We feel mad. When we attach to our feelings, we often identify with them, making it far too easy to forget who we really are.
When you feel your emotions, speak them correctly, and cope with them in a healthy way, your emotions won’t own your story; they will simply be passing energies that make life a little more interesting.
- Today, if your anxiety amps up, try saying, “I am feeling anxiety” rather than “I am anxious.”
How does that feel different? How will feeling your emotions versus being your emotions help you?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. — Proverbs 3:5
So much of life, especially when you struggle with anxiety, is about figuring it out. Getting control of something. Fixing it. Making it better. Anxiety says if you can’t fix it or fully understand it, then you just have to try harder. Faith says that your understanding will never provide the full understanding because it only comes from trusting God. This doesn’t mean a passive faith, where you throw your hands up and stop trying to help yourself or ask for help. It means
- being confident in God, seeking the support in His Word, His people, and the gifts He put inside of you because there will always be things in your life that are far above and beyond your understanding.
Your brain, which is wired to keep you safe and comfortable, does not like not knowing, or the need for surrender, and anxiety definitely hates the lack of control. In many ways, this trust is the tool to help you move through the uncertainty of it all. When it feels uncertain and anxiety hates everything about that discomfort, you can be secure, with everything you are, in who God says He is and who He says you are. Lean on Him.
Make a list of who God is to you and who God says you are. Even when your anxiety tells you not to believe, this is what you can trust.
Excerpted with permission from 100 Devotions for Kids Dealing with Anxiety by Justine Froelker, copyright Zondervan.
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Anxiety doesn't define you! Give control over to God and trust that He is who He is and you are who He says you are. You are loved and cared for by the God who created you and is with you every moment of your life. Come share your thoughts with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily
Be sure to forward this on to your friends and family struggling with anxiety.