Renee Swope

"You will keep in perfect peace, [her] whose mind is steadfast, because [she] trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

One of my favorite things to see is a rocking chair on a front porch. Looking at it makes me feel peace-full. I don't have a rocking chair, or a front porch, but I sure would like to!

Worry is the opposite of peace-full. It leaves me peace-less!

There are times when I don't even realize I'm worried. My mind is wired to think a lot so I get used to the constant flurry of motion in my brain. Worry will start to slowly creep in, and then before I know it, there's a stirring in my heart, my neck is tense, my mind won't shift gears and little concerns have kicked into full-blown worry.

Author Linda Dillow says, "Worry is like a rocking chair, it will give you something to do but it won't get you anywhere!" So much for my image of peace-full! Oh, but she is right. Worry, like a rocking chair, gets me nowhere! And when I stop worrying, I realize I've wasted valuable time and mental energy thinking about something I can't change when I should've been talking to God - since He's the only one who can change things.

In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul tells us how we can find peace to replace our worries. He reminds us the Lord is near and tells us, "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." (NLT)

In the NIV translation, verse 7 reads, "…the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." I love the promise that God's peace could transcend my need to understand! Sometimes that's my biggest problem; I wouldn't be so worried about what God is doing if He'd just explain why so I could understand better.

But God doesn't say He'll give us understanding in this verse, He says He'll give us peace in the midst of not understanding. And that's what I want. I want God's nearness to be my good and trusting His sovereignty to be my goal. According to the Word, all I have to do is:

1. Stop worrying – press the pause button on my consuming concerns.
2. Start praying – open my mouth and tell God what I need.
3. Start thanking God – remind my heart of God's faithfulness by thanking Him for what He's done.

Now that is doable! So why is it so hard to do? Why do we naturally do the opposite? I think it's because we listen to the enemy's whispers: Do not be calm about anything; instead worry about everything. Tell God what He should do and take control if He doesn't listen. Before we know it, our concerns are consuming us and our worries are robbing us of God's promised peace.

But we don't have to live that way. God promises to provide just what we need – to keep us in perfect peace, as we put our trust in Him and not in our worries. So, today when our concerns consume us, let's choose to stop and empty our hearts of our worries, talk to God about what we need and thank Him for His faithfulness and provision. It's amazing how "peace-full" comes when we stop worrying, start praying and begin thanking God for what He has done and will do.

Lord, thank You for the promise of Your peace that comes when I put my trust in You! When worry or concern threaten to consume my thoughts, help me remember to stop, pray and thank You so that my heart will remember how faithful and capable You are of taking care of me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Renee’s Blog for more ways to experience God’s peace in the midst of your worries.

Beyond the Shadow of Doubt message on DVD by Renee Swope

An Untroubled Heart: Finding Faith that is Stronger than My Fears by Micca Campbell

The D6 Conference – Are you worried about your kids? Join Renee Swope and Proverbs 31 Ministries at this groundbreaking conference to help parents and churches raise spiritual champions for Christ.

Application Steps:
Make a list of your concerns and tell God about them. Next, make a list of anything you can think of that God has done to provide for your needs or other's needs. Thank God for them.

Ask God to give you a peace that transcends your need to understand as you commit to trust Him instead of your worries.

How much time do I spend worrying? How much time do I spend talking (praying) to God or reading my Bible so He can talk to me and calm my concerns?

Does my desire to understand and figure things out cause me to worry?

Power Verses:
Matthew 6:27, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" (NIV)

John 14:1, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me." (NIV)

© 2009 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW! Thank you Renee. I needed this. I am one of very a worrisome person, which is something that drains my energy. Thank you for for sharing the 1,2,3 of being Peace-full. I pray for God's peace
May God bless you ladies

Blogger DOakley said...

Thank you, Renee! What a great picture of the rocking chair...and what a great vision of worry.

We can't move forward in our faith or our day if we just sit there rocking back and forth in our worry.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your timing on peace this morning. I am really struggling after a rough day yesterday when I thought that God was leading us in one definite direction but I think His plan is much different than anticipated. I hope to find peace in waiting while He reveals His plan for our lives.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah yes, this speaks to me! Many times I find myself worrying, and if I'm not mindful of it and put a stop to it it can suck the joy right out of living! Today you helped me find a new meaning in the Phillipians 4:7 verse - I always looked at it as not fully understanding the peace we find in God, but thank you, Renee, for pointing out that "the promise of God's peace could transcend my need to understand". I tend to think like you that it would be easier to find peace in God if I understood what it was that He was up to! This is a real keeper for me!
I love the comparison of the rocking chair and worry - I have heard that one before and have even used it with my kids (glad to know who to credit it to now!). Another one I have used throughout the years is "Worry is a terrible waste of the imagination" (sorry, I don't know who to attribute that one to)
May we all find peace in the promises of God-

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an awesome message! I have been using those 3 steps and it has been working,I tend to worry a lot of things,but you are right I can't change them,only God can change them,but sometimes we get so consumed in our daily lives and problems we can't"see the forest thru the trees"!I am wondering how the "landfill" lady is doing,if you are reading this please reply back!God bless!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for todays devotion. Today I got more glorious, diaper duty, but closer to 8 this time, ptl!! Yesterday was a trial for me as well. I just got very frustrated and angry and mad at myself. I stopped and prayed and asked God to forgive my attitude, and in that still small voice, he said its okay. And i smiled and felt His peace, and just like that I was better. I had this thought once, that when I get to heaven, there will be rocking chairs. Instead of me rocking someone, I had this thought that the Lord will be rocking me. All these years I have longed for someone to care for me and to love on me, and to spend time with me. Our Heavenly Father does that every day, and someday I will be able to just spend eternity with Him. What an amazing thought!! Anyway if the lady that told us about the Landfill is reading this this morning please, please let us know how you are, don't give up and I believe the Lord is going to send someone your way to help you smile. Love LaRae.

Blogger Renee Swope said...

Hi friends,

Thank you so much for sharing your stories and your own personal struggles with worries. God is so good to give us a place to carry our concerns - to climb up on His lap and let Him hold us and calm us with His peace.

I shared another visual illustration today on my blog about catching our concerns like a baseball and making sure our thoughts match up to God's thoughts toward us and toward our troubles.

I am praying for each of you today.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much, Renee! I, too, have constant thoughts running around in my head and just realized that they've turned into worries. And I can relate to the lady who said she thought the Lord was leading her in one definite direction, but it turned out not to be so.

I'd been hired for a well-paying commission based job and was getting ready to put in notice at my current job. And I was positive the Lord wanted me to take this new job. However, the hiring manager never returned my calls and I could never reach him. (I was trying to get my schedule and starting date.) So that job fell through at the last minute and I'm still working at my current job. The pay is really low, but the rewards are high, as I get to share the Gospel with many people.

After reading your blog, Renee, I realized that I hadn't been reading God's word as much as before, nor have I been having deep conversations with Him as I once did. I thank God for using you to bring that to my attention so I could confess it to Him.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My unbelieving husband left me about a month a go with a new car payment, rent and everything else. He packed up and left before I got home from work. I was so worried I actually lost my appetite. I was on that rocking chair. But one day the Lord spoke through my Pastor at church and reminded me that He was in control and that I had to put my trust in Him no matter what. When I did, the Lord just starting opening doors for me and He has provided for all my needs. God is so faithful!

Blogger KBroome said...

Just what I needed to hear this morning. Worry has consumed me the past few days and it is nothing I can control as hard as I've tried. Thanks.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is to the lady whose husband left her, How are you doing today? It must be hard facing what you are facing. Just imaging what it would be like if you weren't a Christian. The Lord is the only one that can truly heal us, and keep serving Him with your hole heart. Love, LaRae

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate worry and fear but it seems to consume me all too often and keeps me from enjoying life. Some days are better than others, but most of it is over my children. I am in the Word continuously and pray multiple times a day especially bringing those thoughts captive and to think about what I'm thinking about and stop my stinking thinking. It always returns. Would all of you please pray that I can be healed/delivered of this? Regarding the comment from LaRae Weaver... I think we are kindred spirits. You described the way I have felt about the Lord since I was a little girl. I always picture Him rocking me in His big rocking chair when I am broken and needy. He is so tender and loving. One of my favorite scripture says that; He gathers His lambs in His arms and holds them close to His heart; He gently leads those who have young. I stand on this for comfort and peace. Oh, if only we could just trust and have peace in times of the unknown and trials. I always surrender it all to Him, but there is a small part that still wonders and worries... so, I guess I don't really surrender it ALL. Anyone else struggle with this? I'm so glad He is patient and understands our struggles. Thank you for this ministry, encouragement and the opportunity to pray for each other. Also, I would love to win the book to give my dear friend who has a teen son with cancer who is in my son's class at our Christian school. It has been a long year for them and after a round of chemo and optimism, they got a bad report that the cancer was back and have to fight it even more aggressively than before. Please, please pray for this precious child to be totally healed of all cancer and diabetes. Please pray for him like he is your child. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

In Christ,

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