Day #24

Matthew 6:26

My DNA gave me a good dose of worry, then I learned it from my home environment. Epigenetics took it from there as I learned a lifestyle of worry, nature and nurture coalescing into anxiety spirals that have encircled me for much of my life. Like some of the toxic boyfriends I had as a teenager, I had to see its true character before I could find the courage to break up. But break up I did, finally. I’m over worry. 

One of the things that keeps us attached to worry is its functionality. My father’s worry over finances forced him out of bed every morning, pushing him to work hard and succeed. My own fastidious perfectionism has made me good at certain things for which I’ve been rewarded. How can I part with worry when it yields such a payback? 

Well, wait a minute. Is it really the worry that yields the payback? Or would there be a healthier means to the same end? How about responsibility? Simply anticipating need in a mature, responsible fashion without crossing the line into worry? Responsibility would yield the same, if not greater results. 

And worry—well, it eventually blows up in our faces. The nervous system tires of over-firing and collapses into apathy. Much better to do our best and leave the outcome with God. Let’s all just break up with our toxic worry right now, okay? 

Breathe in peace, breathe out worry. 

Think for a moment. What is your greatest worry? Imagine yourself placing that worry in the hands of a loving God. Imagine Him lifting it off your shoulders. Imagine the birds of the air, and how God feeds them. Ask yourself—are not you of more value than they? 

Kind heavenly Father, you care more for us than we care for ourselves. Help us to believe that You will provide what we need. Help us to contemplate the beautiful lessons of nature as we learn of your tender care over all your creatures. Amen.

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26

For mental health counseling, coaching, and other resources, you can visit abide.network.

66 thoughts on “Day #24

  1. Jennifer Schwirzer

    Today hit me hard. You folks must understand that being the one delivering these devotionals, it’s easy to become self-conscious while I listen, saying, “Ooooo I said that wrong!” or “That inflection was off.” So it’s harder for me to get the therapeutic benefit.

    But I still do! And this one. Wow.

    I was walking while I listened, out by a big tree on the edge of my lake, looking at the birds flying across while I heard of how God cared for the birds. I was feeling my need of God’s intervening power in my life. Specifically, I want God to take these meditations far and wide. I want to raise over 100k to do 11 more cycles. I want them to become an app. I want biblical meditation to become the “something better” God intends it to be! That’s a big ask for me. I’m not a fundraiser or a rich woman. Such challenges make me sense my frailty.

    Some of you know I’m a pretty thin person. I feel fragile physically sometimes, too. But this morning as I meditated on His promise of care for the birds, God called me “little bird.” It was so fitting. Birds are small and frail. So am I. Yet God cares for them. They mount up on wings and soar through the air. Maybe God will make this little bird, and these meditations, soar to great heights of success. I’m praying for that and ask that you pray too.

    Reply
    1. Rachel

      The birds are built small so they can fly in His heights.

      God has plans for this meditation project. We don’t know where He’ll take it yet, but I’m so glad it’s been started. Already, it’s blessed so many!

      Dear Jesus, please bless Jennifer. She’s done so much for those around her–You know just how much. We all need help and encouragement, and I pray that for Jennifer too. Please bless these meditations. We give them to You, for the plans you have for it. Amen!

      Reply
    2. Colleen

      This project is God’s project and He has chosen you Jill to carry it to the greatest heights it can reach. Nothing is impossible with God. He has beautifully made you, inspired you and used you to bless so many. Birds are delicate and have such detailed beauty. They are powerful in relation to their size and weight and are determined creatures. They trust God daily while singing continually His praises and adding joy to those who hear. Those of us who may be frail do not have to be fragile in God’s strength. May the Lord give you all the desires of your heart. Thank you for beginning his project and exercising faith to bring it this far.

      Reply
    3. Kristina

      Praying God will use Jesus Meditations to bless many people far and wide; to know Him better and find peace through this true biblical meditation!

      Reply
    4. Sandy

      Absolutely! Praying and it’s been such a blessing to me I know it will impact others in a world that craves meditations but using other devices that gets us all twisted. I know it got me twisted. Please God from Jennifer’s lips to Your ears and from all our lips on her behalf for Your glory always in Jesus’ name Amen!

      Reply
    5. Mel

      Regardless of how you feel you did, these meditations have been a such a blessing to myself, my husband, and I’ve shared them with my book club. Will be praying for your dreams to become a reality!

      Reply
    6. Ann

      Jennifer, you are doing an amazing ministry that God is calling you to do. In these last 26 days I feel my mental health improving. With improved mental health, I feel I can hear God’s voice better. Thank you.

      Reply
    7. Jane

      Thanks for taking the risk of possibly being “imperfect” as you created these productions. I understand. I remember, though it was many years ago, when I first listened to the “finished” product of my album with the songs I’d written and recorded. There were so many things that didn’t go “just right” and it was almost painful to listen to it at first. However, as the years went on, others told me they were blessed. Praise the Lord, despite my imperfections!

      Just so you know, every time the bird sounds were incorporated into any of the meditations it immediately brought a sense of relaxation to me. Thanks for including them. And the scripture song about the birds touched me with such tenderness and love from the Lord. God is so amazing to provide many and various ways to touch our hearts with His peace.

      And, a fun side benefit, I could envision you walking by the lake after having stayed at your house. Thanks for the generosity you extended to let us be blessed by your beautiful abode. Prayers that God will continue to bless you to be a blessing. You’ve touched so many people with His love!

      Reply
        1. Jane

          Yes, in April of 2018 when we came down for the PBE National event. You’re husband kindly showed us to our rooms upstairs because you weren’t able to be there. Maybe that’s why you don’t remember;) What a beautiful place and a blessing that my family was able to stay there. Thanks so much!

          Reply
  2. Colleen

    One worry I keep having to give to God is worrying about my husband’s anxiety disorder and his comorbidity of substance use while using prescription meds.His behaviors and moods and emotions can be quite challenging!

    Reply
  3. Megan

    My greatest worry is that I’ll never realise my potential… that I’ll always be unwell, isolated, and unable to fulfil the things God has placed on my heart. I have to trust all these things to His means and timing. God can make a way.

    Reply
  4. Cheryl

    Father God, I thank you for Jennifer and her abilities and work that went into these Jesus meditations. It is so obvious to me that this inspirational project came from You. You have a plan for the Jesus meditations to go far beyond even what Jennifer hopes. You are a BIG GOD! You have BIG plans for us. Thank you for hearing and answering all of our prayers for Jennifer and the Jesus meditations.

    Reply
  5. Cheryl

    I want to be able to see God working in me and my life and my son’s lives as easily as I can see Him working in others lives.

    I want to break up with worry, doubt and fear. I want to break up with my own self-centeredness and from trying to be in control and let God do His work in me and my sons in His way and time.

    Thank you Jesus that you are able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. May all the glory be yours.

    Reply
  6. Valerie

    A worry to put to death right now by God’s grace? Oh, which one to pick. I will start with this one, but I want God to help me let Him take all of them: I want to stop worrying about my future and God’s provision. I can’t believe how many times I have learned this lesson and seen His Providence and guidance over and over in my life, but always at the next crossroads I worry. So slow of heart to believe and so quick to forget His past blessings. By God’s grace and patience I will stop worrying about this. He has proved Himself faithful; I pray He gives me faith to trust His faithfulness.

    Reply
  7. Shirley Mann

    I don’t worry any where near as much as I used to. Is any kind of worry bad? The one thing I have worried about this past week or so was when I had to drive on roads that were snow covered and possibly icy. I always pray and slow down. And there was very little slipping this past week. I have had several bad experiences on snowy or icy roads in the past, including once when I totaled my car (I was not hurt). My main worry with bad driving conditions is that I will not get to where I am going in time to do what I am supposed to do! For some reason I seem to think that I am indispensable, and I don’t want to let anyone down.

    Reply
  8. Sharon

    I was raised in a family of worriers, so I have too many to choose from. I pray that God will help me to give them all over to Him, sooner rather than later.

    The worry that causes the most problems for me right now is my incessant circling around whether or not I am/will be saved. A combination of how I was treated as a child, the beliefs I was raised on, a constant focus on what was/is “wrong” with me, and the common Adventist refrain of “There will be 3 surprises when you get to heaven: you’re there, who’s there that you thought shouldn’t be, who’s not there that you thought should be,” have resulted in me almost constantly questioning either God’s ability to save me or my ability to accept His gift of salvation. I think a lot of it comes from a very heavy emphasis on salvation by works in my childhood religious experience. And yet, worrying about it takes my focus off God, and puts in on myself, and then I find I don’t trust Him in other areas either.

    I am so grateful that God is gentle and patient with me, and always faithful to His Word regardless of how many times I might stumble before learning my lesson. I’m also thankful to Jen and Neville for answering God’s call to create these meditations, and make them available to us.

    Reply
    1. Jennifer Schwirzer

      Sharon, I believe God wants us to be secure in our salvation. There are a couple reasons why: 1) We can’t possibly be mission-minded while we don’t have safety in our relationship with God. We can’t share something we don’t have; 2) It’s based on God’s character, not my works. Why would a God who gave His only Son to save us, dangle salvation in front of us but never hand it to the very ones who beg for it.

      Reply
  9. Jane

    Wow! I wanted to just linger and stay in the moment, listening to the sounds of the birds. I think I need to listen to this one every day, twice a day, probably for the rest of my life! I’ve always been told not to worry, but I’ve never been given a tool to use to be free from this addiction. It’s not like other addictions, where, if you have enough will power to just not eat it, or smoke it, or use it, you can step away. I never understood until now what the pay off was and that there could be a healthy way to still get the pay off, but not the life-draining side affects of worry. It’s called responsibility! That makes so much sense. And, I’m now beginning to see how that concept got twisted into worry in my mind and heart. As a child I was driven to be “over-responsible” because the pay off was parental affirmation and the strengthening of the message that if I did everything “right” then it would result in a “good” comfortable life. Whereas there is some truth to that, without God as the power provider and director of decisions, worry jumps in and brings with it a driven-ness for perfection! If I can just make all the “right” choices the first time, then I can feel protected from the dangers of life. Again, there is some truth to this, but we live in a sinful world and trouble is going to come our way sometime, no matter how perfect we might be — not to mention that we can’t. 

    So one worry that I’d like to put to death right now by God’s grace is that I might fail/not be “good enough” and that if I don’t make all the “right” choices, I will bring pain and suffering to myself, others, and possibly to God. Fear results from this worry because I know in my heart that I can’t be perfect, then I worry more. My prayer is that I will be responsible, as best as I am able with the strength of the Lord, and leave the results in God’s sovereign control.

    Reply
      1. Jane

        Wow, I never thought of it that way –asking why wouldn’t God make us obedient if we want to be. It makes sense! He loves us! Thanks so much for all your comments!

        Reply
  10. Kristina

    I want to stop worrying about the spiritual condition of certain family members and others and let the Holy Spirit work in their lives as He sees fit and let Him work in mine to be the Christian witness that He wants me to be.

    Reply
  11. Rachel

    Each day as I listen to the meditations, I learn more of controlling myself. They are very helping. There are so many meditations but this is more spiritual in a different way. Thank you Jennifer. The topics and stories that are said, when you listen it is as if it is speaking direct to me. God is so loving towards us. He knows us and has provided for us by letting us know through the example giving through the scriptures. This meditation is such a blessing to me daily. May we receive the healing in each area that is needed. Pray you may be bless abundantly so that others can receive the healing and blessings that the Lord has in store through you and these meditations to reach far. The Lord continue to guide you and your team as you reach others. Amen.

    Reply
    1. Rachel

      Why, it’s another Rachel!

      My name friend, I agree–I pray that these meditations are able to reach others, and do it intimately. I pray the same for you as we get closer to the end of this month of meditations, and I pray that the blessings for you continue on after the meditations are done.

      God bless you Rachel!

      Reply
  12. Katrina

    Hi Everyone
    Wow! I’m so thankful for this one! It truly speaks to my heart. While I have more than one thing I’m working on to truly let go of by God’s amazing grace, one I deal with even though in some ways it doesn’t define me because I realize it isn’t helpful to me yet, I struggle with is, I’d truly like to not think about what others may or may or not be thinking of me. I truly want to see others through Jesus’ eyes.
    When I look at someone whether friend or stranger I want to see them through Jesus’ loving, sincere, compassionate eyes.
    Peace

    Reply
  13. Nicky Dube

    I wish by God’s grace to put to death the worry that my darkest sins will be put out in the open. I hope to rest in God’s forgiveness and the fact that He values me despite my past.

    Reply
  14. cree

    I’m worried about my future in terms of a long-term calling (which is currently a question mark). I know He has a plan for me but every time I celebrate my birthday, I am tempted to think that He doesn’t have a long-term calling for me & that I’ll be a nomad for the rest of my life. Then I feel guilty for not having confidence in God that it will come.

    I guess my prayer for today is for God to help me focus on each day as it comes along, that He will help me to trust in Him and be content with wherever I am in life. 🙏🏽

    I am grateful for JM— definitely a helpful tool in deepening my relationship with Jesus 🤍 I will definitely support God’s plans for JM as He wills! Thank you for the meditations through deep breathing exercises + devotionals + scripture songs 🙏🏽 great blessings!

    Reply
  15. Sarah

    Beautiful, so beautiful. I can relate to your burden and will pray for you. I think the things I worry about most right now is how to go forward with the mission God has called me to. I imagine so much: a ministry that provides young people with tools to develop their own relationship with God and in turn share with others. The church in this part of the world provides for adults, but not for children, youth, and young adults. I imagine Bible study lessons, stories that inspire (maybe both printed and electronic), youth camps, training opportunities, music and art lessons (as both as a way to share the gospel and to equip illustrators and musicians for further ministry), language lessons (to prepare translators), and so much more (the things useful to young people also often benefit adults). But I’m working alone, and I can’t do everything alone. I don’t have the physical strength, let alone all the diversity of skills needed. I need a team, which I’ve been praying and looking for for years. But if God provides for the birds, then He must have plans to provide for His mission, and maybe His plans are different than my ideas.

    Reply
    1. Kristina

      Praying God will bring you the team you need at just the right time to fulfill this mission according to His great plan for you!

      Reply
  16. Karen

     I worry about my families spiritual life. I see the choices and the situations they are willfully putting themselves in. I see how their time is spent in other non-essential things and their spiritual lives neglected. I see the twisted truths they use to continue in wrong self-justified choice. I sit helpless with a front row seat to the spiritual demise of my loved ones. 
    I must remember that God loves them more than me and is working behind the scenes as He is not willing that any should perish.
    By God’s grace I put to death the fear of my families spiritual life.(Tearfully realizing just how much this worry has taken over my days and nights.)

    Reply
  17. Amy

    This meditation is just what I need to hear everyday. I’m realizing that worry is a big problem for me. I fear the future and that I won’t be able to handle it. But the worry makes it harder for me to be responsible as it quickly leads to burnout and then I just retreat. I don’t think I am reaching my potential because worry drains my resources. Perhaps the biggest worry I’d like to lay down today is the one that says I need to figure everything out alone because maybe God doesn’t really care about me enough to help.

    Reply
  18. Mel

    One worry I’d like to give up! That I will fail. I acknowledge with my mind that I want to develop a growth mindset but my perfectionism tendencies and worries of disappointing people often bring me down. Here’s my official breakup announcement that I want to give up perfectionism and worry about failure 😆

    Reply
  19. Daniel Parsons

    Tell us one worry you’d like to put to death right here and now by God’s grace.

    My biggest worry is my health. I damaged my liver when I was living the life of the ‘prodigal son’. I am being very proactive to sustain my liver now with a plant based diet, pure water and exercise. Father God, please take this worry away from me now, in Jesus name, Amen.

    Reply
  20. Sarah

    Yesterday I posted the first worry that came to mind as I listened to the meditation. But as I went throughout the day, I realized I have an even bigger worry that I think really has become a fear. When I started college last fall, I realized for the first time, by experience, that I struggle to focus and retain new information. I had noticed I seemed more forgetful, and I knew I struggled with anxiety and depression, but classes and music lessons have shown me just how bad my ability to focus and retain new information is. I constantly worry about not doing well in classes, and most of all of not being able to learn music again. Last semester I couldn’t complete my new piece and had to relearn a piece from high school for the recital. Relearning the old piece was easy, even though it was eight pages long. The new pieces just won’t stick, no matter how many hours I practice. I worry about how to improve my mental health so that I can make the most of this time and use the skills I gain here to bless others. I know I need to do something, but I’m not sure what. I also know that constantly worrying about it doesn’t help me, so I want to give this worry to Him and trust that He will both show me what I can do and that He will heal my brain from the effects of trauma.

    Reply
  21. Sabrina

    One of the biggest worries I have, which I want to be able to let go of, is the worry that I will never find a spouse to spend my life with and that I will be alone. But God had led me in so many other aspects of my life—-why wouldn’t I also trust that He’ll lead me in this?

    Reply
  22. Ericka

    the worry that im constantly letting everyone in my little family down. that i dont read to the kids enough or play with them enough or that i dont do enough with or for my husband or that what i do isnt enough. id really like to be TOLD that im doing enough or that im enough, but its still there, ready to be an open wound again every time its even insinuated that i should have done something.

    Reply
      1. Ericka Iverson

        and id like to say that its easy to just drop things… but when i do it just makes it worse… just life lately and i havent been able to sit and do bills or balance the checkbook… and now that ive been trying, im going into the 3rd day of it and i still dont have it balanced. if i dont do it every week or more often if lots has gone thru, it gets completely out of control. ive gone thru it 3 times today alone and gotten 3 different amounts that its off. and then at some point its like BOOM balance.. well, why couldnt that happen on day one instead of taking 3 solid days to do it.. argh. 🙁

        Reply
  23. Tara

    First I would like to stop worrying about my puppies. We live so far away from any decent vet that I get super concerned at the first sign of puppy vomit or anything else. It might sound ridiculous to some, but dogs are our family members. Second, I would like to stop worrying about finances, both personal and for the mission project where I work and do the accounting. I have dozens of other things like this that I fret about.

    In all cases above, I have seen God’s sustaining hand over and over and over. One would think I would have learned the trust lesson by now and would quit worrying. I’m ready to break up with worry.

    Reply
  24. Nowelle

    I worry too much for my husband and children. All aspects of their lives. I want to trust God to take care of everything.

    Reply

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