Dear Jesus

Rather than planning and evaluating, practice trusting and thanking Me continually. This is a paradigm shift that will revolutionize your life.

Dear Jesus,

You certainly know me well! When my mind is idle, it veers toward planning and evaluating. I seem to be addicted to planning. I think it’s a way I try to feel more peaceful, but it actually has the opposite effect: increasing anxiety. Evaluating also seems to be second nature to me—as if it’s my responsibility to pass judgment on everything and everyone. Please help me break free of these harmful tendencies.

Beloved, an effective way of dealing with addictions is to substitute good responses for the harmful behavior. When you find yourself flitting down your well-worn path of planning, stop and affirm your trust in Me. It can be as simple as saying, “I trust You, Jesus, to help me with this.” Remember that I will be with you at that future time, helping you make decisions when needed. So, you can substitute affirmations of trust for compulsive planning. As you do so, your anxiety level will drop dramatically.

Your sense of responsibility to make judgments about everything is both hurtful and distorted. This attitude easily deteriorates into criticizing and complaining. Though you may not realize it, much of this negativity is ultimately directed at Me—the One who is sovereign over all things. Thankful words are the best replacements for your criticisms and complaints. There are always so many things you can thank Me for, especially My provision of eternal Life. As you practice trusting and thanking Me, the quality of your life will improve immensely. Changing your thought patterns requires time and mental discipline. However, the results are well worth the effort: Your thankful, trusting attitude will bring good pleasure to Me and abundant blessing to you.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

[1 Peter 5:6–7]

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.

[Psalm 29:11]

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”

[Matthew 7:1]

Dear Jesus

Remember that I can fit everything into a pattern for good, including the things you wish were different. Start with where you are at this point in time and space, accepting that this is where I intend you to be.

Dear Jesus,

How I long to see this all-embracing pattern for good! I can’t begin to imagine how You can fit everything into such a pattern. My current situation seems like a gigantic mistake to me: something I should have been able to prevent. I’m trying to accept my circumstances as Your will, but I feel as if I’m clawing my way up a sheer cliff. Help me make a new beginning, right where I am.

Beloved, even if I showed you the all-encompassing pattern, you wouldn’t be able to understand it. Some things—many things—are simply beyond your comprehension. Do not indulge in obsessing about what you could have done differently, for that is an exercise in unreality: The past cannot be different from what has actually occurred.

There is only one place to make a new beginning, and that is NOW: the unique intersection of time and space you currently inhabit. I believe you can accept the present moment without too much difficulty. After all, you are conversing with Me, your Savior and Shepherd, this very moment. You can also handle the next moment as it comes—and the next. What you find most difficult to accept is the way the future looks to you: basing your predictions on current circumstances. But the future is one of those secret things beyond your domain; release it to Me, the rightful Owner. Refuse to worry about the future, and you will find your resources for today quite sufficient. Remember that I am part of those resources, and nothing is impossible with Me!

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.
[Romans 8:28]

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. [Deuteronomy 29:29]

For nothing is impossible with God.
[Luke 1:37]

Dear Jesus

As you live in close contact with Me, the Light of My Presence filters through you to bless others. Your weakness and woundedness are openings through which the Light of the knowledge of My Glory shines forth.

Dear Jesus,

You are absolutely perfect in all Your ways! It’s awesome that You want to live in close contact with me, because You and I both know how flawed I am. I wish I could bring You a more cleaned-up version of myself, but I know better than to try pretending with You. So I come near You just as I am: weak and wounded.

Beloved, your honesty and vulnerability draw Me closer to you. Feel the Light of My Presence shining upon you and within you. Let these healing rays soak deep into your being. I want you to both receive My blessing and be a source of blessing to other people. The very things that trouble you most—your weaknesses and wounds—are of greatest use to Me in helping others.

I have shone into your heart the Light of the knowledge of the Glory revealed in My Face. That much Light and Glory simply cannot be contained within you! Your weaknesses and wounds provide openings through which some of this glorious Light spills out of you. By letting these humble, hurting parts of you be exposed, you bless others—as My Light shines through you into their lives. Thus, your weakness and woundedness, consecrated to Me, become treasures in My kingdom.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord. Psalm 89:15

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:7–9

Dear Jesus

Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Hear Me saying, “Peace, be still!” to your restless heart.

Dear Jesus,

Fearfulness seems to come so naturally to me, as if it’s the default setting when I let my thoughts run freely. Peacefulness, on the other hand, requires continual effort and a degree of vigilance. I need to stay aware of Your Presence with me, to quiet my anxious heart. I confess I often lose sight of You, as the visible world lures my attention away from Your unseen Reality.

Beloved, I understand how vulnerable you are to things that impact your senses. It’s good that you, too, are aware of this weakness. Also, you recognize that I am the answer to your vulnerability. This condition of yours is ever so human: The visible world tugs at the heartstrings of all My children. Because of this common human tendency, My Word exhorts you to be alert and prayerful—fixing your eyes on Me, bringing every thought captive to Me.

The sounds of the world (as well as its sights) tend to lead you away from Me. You need a quiet place in order to hear My voice. As you listen intently in My Presence, I guide your mind to think My thoughts. Bring Me your restless heart, and wait while I speak Peace into its depths—stilling the troubled waters of your soul.

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.

[Mark 4:39]

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

[Ephesians 6:18]

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

[Hebrews 12:2]

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

[2 Corinthians 10:5]

Dear Jesus

I comprehend you in all your complexity; no detail of your life is hidden from Me. I view you through eyes of grace, so don’t be afraid of My intimate awareness.

Dear Jesus,

It is totally amazing that You understand me—all of me—with absolute accuracy. That could also be terrifying, if You saw me through eyes of law rather than grace. Unfortunately, I often view myself legalistically: evaluating how well I’m performing. I realize how silly that is, because my performance will always be insufficient to meet Your holy standard. That’s why I desperately need Your grace! Please help me see myself, as well as others, through eyes of grace.

Beloved, come to Me and receive My unfailing Love. You are troubled by fear of failure, but My Love for you will never fail. Let Me describe what I see, as I view you through eyes of grace. You look regal, for I have clothed you in My royal righteousness. You also look radiant, especially when you are gazing at Me. You are lovely as you reflect My Glory back to Me. In fact, you delight Me so much that I rejoice over you with shouts of Joy! This is how you appear through My vision of grace.

Because I am infinite, I can see you simultaneously as you are now and as you will be in heaven. The present view helps Me work with you on things you need to change. The heavenly vision enables Me to love you with perfect, everlasting Love.

The best way to see through eyes of grace is to look through the lens of My unfailing Love. As you persevere in this practice, you will gradually find it easier to extend grace both to yourself and to others.

How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
[Psalm 36:7]

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
[Psalm 34:4–5]

The Lord your God is in your midst. . . . He will exult over you with joy, . . . He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
[Zephaniah 3:17]

Dear Jesus

Although self-sufficiency is acclaimed in the world, reliance on Me produces abundant living in My kingdom.

Dear Jesus,

Walking to the world’s tempo is tempting at times. The desire to blend in can be both subtle and powerful. Self-sufficiency is certainly promoted in the world, sometimes to the point of self-deification. Though I don’t really want to be self-sufficient, I sometimes find myself trying to appear as if I am. I know better: I have discovered that depending on You is the way to live more abundantly. Whenever I face difficult situations, I am grateful I can rely on You to help me. Teach me to depend on You more and more.

Beloved, the first thing you must deal with is being overly concerned about appearances. Remember that I look at your heart, not your outward appearance. What is most important to Me should also be most important to you. Resist the desire to look good and blend in with the world. Recognize that most people who appear self-sufficient are actually struggling deeply; many are even dependent on harmful substances to help them keep up appearances.

Reliance on Me results in abundant living because it is the way I designed you to live: I created people to be dependent on Me. The essence of Adam and Eve’s first sin was their desire to be like God and thus capable of living independently. Ever since then, depending on Me continually has gone against the grain of human nature. Notice I said “continually”; this is the way I want you to rely on Me. Depending on Me in difficult circumstances is a good start. However, the more frequently you look to Me for help, the more you will find Me faithful. I sustain you moment by moment, so there is never a time when you don’t need Me. Awareness of your neediness is actually a rich blessing—connecting you to Me and My abundant supply!

“The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

[1 Samuel 16:7]

“You will not surely die,” the serpent said. . . . “You will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

[Genesis 3:4–5]

I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

[Psalm 16:8]

Dear Jesus

I am the Creator of the universe, yet I choose to make My humble home in your heart. It is there where you know Me most intimately; it is there where I speak to you in holy whispers.

Dear Jesus,

This is more than I can fathom—that Someone so great and majestic would choose to live in someone so small and sinful. My mind almost recoils at the thought of Your perfect holiness living in me. Indeed, I am an exceedingly humble home for You. It helps to remember that though You live in me, You also inhabit the highest heavens. Someday I will behold You in the courts of heaven, where I will see You in all Your Glory. I am thankful You are willing to live in my heart, because I deeply desire intimacy with You. However, I am weak: easily distracted by the noise of the world. Help me hear Your whispers in my heart.

Beloved, you do well to struggle with the thought of My holiness inhabiting your body. That shows Me you have some understanding of the absolute purity of My Being. Nonetheless, be assured that your sinfulness cannot taint My holiness. The influence goes the other direction: My righteousness purifies you! Delight in this blessed transaction, gratefully receiving My goodness.

You need stillness—outer and inner—to hear My gentle whispers in your heart. Find a quiet place, where the noise of the world is minimal. Then, focus your mind on this verse: “Cease striving and know that I am God.” Be still, let go, and relax in My Presence, while I commune with you in holy whispers.

But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

[Hebrews 1:2]

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

[Ephesians 3:16–17]

After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. [1 Kings 19:12]

“Cease striving and know that I am God.”

[Psalm 46:10]