The sun is shy, blinking its way through the rain-filled clouds. On days like this, I awake in a mood. I want to stay asleep instead of bounding out of bed with anticipation of what a new day will bring. I click on the white, year-round Christmas lights in my studio. An apparent need for extra light on this dismal summer morning. On my way for coffee, I click on the set above my dining room hutch. Some days just call for extra illumination. This is one of them.
How is it possible to wake up just as tired as you were when you went to bed eight hours ago? Somewhere in the middle of the night, I gave up pretending that I was sleeping, I turned on my old-Paperwhite-Kindle and finished off a book. I prayed through the list that continued to spiral through my mind. Rehearsing again that I wanted God to remove my fears about far too many situations that had been consuming my mind lately.
It was here that my mind swirled. “Trust, rely on, rest, and lean into God.” Yes. I had just published those exact words in my new book.1 But here I was, rehearsing them in the middle of another sleepless night. Somehow in the darkness, the message got tangled – as I dose and waked, dose and waked. It was like the rhythm of waves crashing to the shore and then slowly abating. The darkness has always had a way of casting grandiose shadows on my mind. Causing my fears to loom bigger than life.
A conversation the day before floods my mind, seeping into my soul. Once again I hear my husband’s gentle antidote to my fretful worry. Rehearsing his instruction I begin to question myself, seeking answers.
“Am I wasting my energy with what may never happen?” I ask myself. “Am I allowing fear to consume and paralyze me from living fully present?” “Have I allowed anxiety to override the truth of God’s word?” In this, my heart cries out. “Oh God, where is my peace?”
In my spirit I hear the soothing voice of Master Jesus ask; “Linda, Do you trust me? Do you trust me with all the scenarios that play over and over in your mind? Scenario’s that your mind is telling you are sure to happen, and yet, will they? Can you lay these what-if-scenarios at the foot of my altar and allow me to carry them for you? Linda, trust me with your greatest fears. I love you with everlasting love. Nothing will happen to you that I don’t allow. I am Almighty God. I am the great Deliverer. I am your Peace.”
In rehearsing this inner dialog, I saw that God was kindly offering me a choice. Freedom over fear, peace over worry, deliverance over bondage. These stories of life that have become the tagline of multiple what-ifs were taking their toll on my mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual life. They were keeping me awake, stealing my sleep, robbing me of joy, causing me to live in the possibilities of the future and not living fully present in the here-and-now. These frightful possibilities had become faith-busters, shattering what I knew to be true about God and true about what He desires for me as His daughter.
The enemy of my soul was keeping me sidetracked from receiving freedom and liberating peace in God. By keeping my mind ensnared with dread, a shroud of fear covered my heart, causing trepidation, anxiety, and overwhelm to blur and distort God’s freeing truth. In giving credence to these what-if stories I was missing out on much-needed rest, peace, joy, and living life in the moment.
As I continued to engage these futuristic stories the enemy subtly whispered his lies. “God is not dependable.” “God is not big enough.” “Will God be there when you need Him the most?” “How will you ever get through this travesty if this happens.” “What will people think if this happens.” ”Haven’t you been through enough already, surely God will not make you go through this too!”
Readied for Battle
In this early morning reality, I realized that it was time for battle. Time to reclaim my mind. Time to oust out the robbers, feed myself truth, rest in the arms of the One who loves me most, and listen for His voice above the devil’s nagging, fear-inducing one.
This was a day to be celebrated. A day of liberation! Psychologically I knew that if I continued to rehearse these stories, this would only add to my hesitation to embrace each new day as a gift from God.
At this moment I knew that something had to be done about my restless nights. I wanted peace of mind, not a mind that had been capsized with worry, doubt, overwhelm, and dread.
This something led me, on this overcast, dismal day to a place of quiet reflection. A place of further leaning into Jesus. A safe place to ask the hard questions and begin to reaffirm what I know to be true.
In this place of contemplation and confession, I cried out to Father God.
God, cover me with your feathers. Shelter me with your wings. May your faithful promises be my armor and protection today. Lord, you hear your people when they call to you for help. You promise to rescue them from all their troubles. Rescue me from the evil one today. AMEN (Scripture prayer taken from Psalm 91:4; Psalm 34:17; Matthew 6:13 NLT )
Rehearsing The Truth
As I rehearsed and embraced the simple truths that I knew so well, my heart began to pour out to God.
“God, these are frightening situations that I keep rehearsing. If they happen – my life will unravel. They weigh heavy on me. They bombard my mind when I try to sleep. The possible outcome of these scenarios frightens me…what if…”
It is here my voice stops. I hear a sweet, tender voice speak gently over all my fears.
“Linda don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10 NLT
Slowly I began to see how I had been projecting into the future – things that may never happen. This realization hits me hard! I had carried the weight of the future as though it would happen. These horrific, mind-scenarios placed a weight of doom over my heart. No wonder I’m not sleeping. No wonder I’m not ready to greet a new day. These stories are what nightmares are made of! My fearful heart once again cried out to God.
“Oh, God. I know that you hear me when I pray. Thank you that you will not ignore me or withdraw your unfailing love from me. Let me hear of your unfailing love this morning, for I desire to put my trust in you. Guard over my heart and mind in Christ Jesus! AMEN (Scripture prayer taken from Psalm 66:20; Psalm 143:8; Philippians 4:7 NLT)
Oh God, the future is not mine to see. Help me to give it back to you. Release me from this fear that has capsized my mind. I want to be free of the web of anxiety that has entangled my heart. And God, if for some reason these scenarios do happen, I know that you are right beside me. You are my Helper. You are the One who knows best and will guide me with discernment and peace. You will never fail or forsake me. You are enough for me today and my tomorrows. AMEN (Scripture prayer taken from Psalm 121:7-8; Jeremiah 29:11; Deuteronomy 31:6,8)
At this moment I am reminded of Matthew 6:34.
So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:34 NLT
Jesus continued to speak directly to my heart.
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7 NLT
I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation, I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the LORD is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. Psalm 34:4-7 NLT
Raiders of Peace
In giving way to future what if’s, I had robbed myself and my family of living fully present. Subtly, these fears of what could happen had consumed me, producing fear and fretfulness. I had been robbed of a restful heart and many nights of sleep. My mind had been raided of peace. I had taken from others by not living fully present. I had not allowed God His rightful place over me.
As I begin to acknowledge this, God generously offered me the gift of His perfect peace.
Thank you, God, that as I confess my sin of worry, doubt, and disbelief to you, you are faithful and just to forgive me of my sins and to cleanse me from all unrighteous thinking and living. Thank you, God, that you offer me peace of mind and heart. The peace you give is a gift that the world can never give. So I do not need to be troubled or afraid. AMEN (Scripture prayer taken from 1 John 1:9; John 14:27 NLT)
Trust, rest, reliance, rest, and leaning fully on God.
My coffee cup is empty, but my heart is full as I reflect on the spiritual reminders that God has led me to. I am tempted to berate myself for getting spiritually off-track, but I know that this is not God’s way. Instead, I am filled with gratefulness that God has tenderly brought me back to Himself and the place of life-giving truth.
I have been reminded that God’s love for me is great. Thankfully this gift of love is not reliant on me, and I know that God’s love never comes with conditions, but is given unconditionally.
My heart is saddened that I have wasted energy, forfeited sleep, and peace of mind by fretting about what may never happen; but I’m not going to give in to those feelings. Right now I want to bask in the goodness of God and the forgiveness of my Savior. Right now I am rejoicing that He knows the beginning from the end. He knows what is best for me and my family.
Returning to Rest
God, I confess to you my lack of trust and dependence in you. I have been leaning on my human understanding instead of your sovereignty. I have not sought out your will, allowing you to comfort and guide me. O God, you are the One who knows me most. You know what is best for me and my family. You promise to lead and guide me along the best pathways for my life. You promise to advise me and watch over me. Forgive me that I have forgotten this truth. I want to return to a place of rest in You. AMEN
For the Lord, your God is living among you. He is a Mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. Zephaniah 3:17 NLT
Do you ever struggle with “what-if” scenarios?
- What scripture verses give you peace of mind when these scenarios consume you?
- How can you trust, rely, rest, and lean fully on God during times of anxiety?
- Write a scripture prayer that turns your heart and mind towards God.
Heavenly Father, I come to you right now. I am worn out from lack of sleep. I am weary of these scenarios in my head that have caused me fear, fretfulness, and anxiety in my heart and mind.
God, please forgive me for looking to myself instead of coming to you sooner. These situations may never happen and yet I am looking at them as if they will happen. The potential outcome is a weight around my heart that I can no longer carry; a burden that I cannot bear. God, I cast these heavy burdens on you. I don’t want to carry them any longer! I need rest for my soul today.
God, thank you that I can fully trust, rely on, rest in and lean fully into you. You are a trustworthy God! You are my sure foundation; your grace is sufficient for me.
I love you, LORD. Thank you for leading me away from fear and offering me the gift of freedom today. Thank you for taking my burdens from me. Thank you for always being present and available to me. Thank you that your word is the truth. Help me to continue to guard my mind by hiding your word in my heart, so that I will not sin against you. AMEN
(Scripture prayer taken from Psalm 139; Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 32:8; Matthew 11:28-30; Psalm 119:11)
*If you would like to learn more about how to pray scripture, consider purchasing my new release: Praying Life in The Word: A Woman’s Guide to Praying Scripture by Linda J. Dingeldein
*Available on Amazon in paperback and electronic copy.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 NLT
On that day he will be your sure foundation, providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the Lord will be your treasure. Isaiah 33:6 NLT
My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT
He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Psalm 91:4
1Linda Dingeldein: Praying Life in The Word: A Woman’s Guide to Praying Scripture; p. xxiii. © 2022
Linda Jane Dingeldein: Different by Design