Dear Jesus

When you are weary and everything seems to be going wrong, you can still utter these four words: “I trust You, Jesus.” By doing so, you release matters into My control, and you fall back into the security of My everlasting arms.

Dear Jesus,

It’s so hard for me to release things into Your control, rather than trying to fix them myself. I recognize that ultimately this is a matter of trust. I know enough about You and enough about me to realize how ridiculous it would be to trust myself more than You. In the depths of my soul I do trust You far more than anyone or anything else. However, I tend to live on a surface level much of the time—living by sight more than by faith. Help me overcome my unbelief!

Beloved, that cry of your heart is a prayer I am eager to answer. I can see into the depths of your soul, where you do indeed trust Me. I am pleased that you recognize the discrepancy between the trust in your soul and the controllingness of your surface-level behavior. When you are living superficially, you tend to be unaware of your thoughts. As a result, you follow well-worn paths of habitual responses. In this condition of mental slumber, you are unable to hear My voice. As soon as you become aware of your condition, you need to speak to Me. You can say, “I trust You, Jesus,” regardless of how you are feeling. Intentionally release your worries into My care and keeping—My control. You can even symbolize this release physically, by opening both hands fully to Me. Then, rest in the knowledge that I am taking care of you and all that concerns you. As you trustingly relax in My Presence, your mind reconnects with your soul. Find refreshment in the refuge of My everlasting arms.

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. 
~ Deuteronomy 33:27

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” 
~ Mark 9:24 

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. 
~ Psalm 37:5–6

Dear Jesus

I love you regardless of how well you are performing. Bring your performance anxiety to Me, and receive in its place My unfailing Love.

Dear Jesus,

I know that performance anxiety is foolish and counterproductive. My mind has unmasked this robber of Peace many times, but the rascal continues to claw at my heart when I let down my guard. I find myself struggling with feelings of failure, sometimes without even knowing why. Help me break free from this bondage through the empowerment of Your Love.

Beloved, come to Me with your feelings of failure. Bring them into the Light of My Presence, where we can examine them together. In My brilliant Light, the feelings shrivel and shrink, because they are based on lies. These things thrive in the darkness, where you are hardly aware of them at all. Performance anxiety has been such a regular part of your life that you barely notice it. Yet I defeated that villain in the same way I triumphed over Satan—through My finished work on the cross!

When feelings of failure weigh you down, look up to Me! Let the Light of My unfailing Love shine upon you: dispelling the darkness, lifting you closer and closer to Me. The nearer you are to Me, the better you can see My smile of approval. As you bask in this unconditional Love, you gain strength to break free from your nemesis—performance anxiety. Even if you slip into old habits again, you can turn back to Me anytime. My unfailing Love is always available to restore you, because you belong to Me forever.

Turn, O Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.
~ Psalm 6:4

How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.
~ Psalm 36:7–9 

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
~ 1 Corinthians 15:57

Dear Jesus

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in Me is kept safe.

Dear Jesus,

I’m just beginning to realize how much my life is hampered by fear of man. This condition has been so prevalent that I failed to recognize it most of my life; it was simply part of the fabric of my daily existence. Now that I recognize this fear, I want very much to be free of it. But it is deeplyingrained in my mind and heart. When I am with people, I’m much too concerned about displeasing them or looking foolish in their eyes. I confess I am a people pleaser, but I deeply desire to change.

Beloved, I will give you a two-pronged approach for dealing with this crippling fear. First, replace your fear of displeasing people with dread of displeasing Me—the Lord of the universe. Make pleasing Me your highest priority. Include Me in your thinking whenever you are making plans or decisions. Let your desire to please Me shine brightly, illuminating your thoughts and choices.

The second way to free yourself from fear of man is by developing deeper trust in Me. Instead of trying to please people so they will give you what you want, trust in Me—the Supplier of all your needs. My glorious riches never run short, nor does My Love for you. People can easily deceive you, promising you things with no intention of following through. Even if they mean well at the time, they may change their minds later on. Because I remain the same forever, I am absolutely dependable. Trusting in people is risky. Trusting in Me is wise: It keeps you safe.

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.
~ Proverbs 29:25 

So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 
~ 2 Corinthians 5:9 

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. 
~ Philippians 4:19 

But you remain the same, and your years will never end. 
~ Psalm 102:27

Dear Jesus

Let Me be your positive focus. When you look to Me, knowing Me as God with you, you experience Joy.

Dear Jesus,

I am so thankful You are God with us—constantly, eternally. That knowledge alone is sufficient to fill my days with Joy. Sadly, though, my mind easily slips out of focus, and I forget about your abiding Presence. When my thinking is unfocused, almost anything can grab my attention. Then You slip even further from my awareness. Worries and worldliness attack my mind while it is idling, out of gear. I want You to be my positive focus, but I definitely need help.

Beloved, I created you in My image: with the capacity to communicate with Me. As My image-bearer, you have the ability to choose the focus of your mind. I understand that many thoughts come and go unbidden, but you can control your thinking more than you may realize. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right . . . think about such things.” I would not instruct you to think about certain things unless it was possible to do so.

Because the world contains both good and evil, you can choose to think about excellent, praiseworthy things or about terrible, upsetting things. Sometimes, of course, you have to deal with the brokenness around you. However, each day contains moments when you are free to choose the focal point of your mind. These are the times when I want you to take charge of your thoughts. When your mind is idle, it often moves toward a negative focus—such as regretting things in your past or worrying about the future. Meanwhile, I am with you in the present: waiting for you to recall My Presence. Train your mind to turn toward Me frequently. Remembrance of who I Am can brighten even your darkest times, blessing you with Joy.

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”
~ Matthew 1:22–23 

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right . . . think about such things. 
~ Philippians 4:8 

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 
~ John 8:58

Dear Jesus

My Peace is such an all-encompassing gift that it is independent of circumstances. Though you lose everything else, if you gain My Peace you are rich indeed.

Dear Jesus, 

There are so many aspects of my life over which I have no control. I often feel at the mercy of my circumstances. Your all-encompassing Peace is exactly what I need! Although Your Peace is a gift, I sometimes feel unable to receive it. Perhaps that is because I cling to other things—my loved ones, my possessions, my reputation. Help me to treasure Your Peace above all of these.

eloved, My Peace is a supernatural gift—bequeathed to My followers shortly before My death. A man who knows he will soon die wants to leave something precious with those he loves. Therefore, I “willed” My Peace to My disciples and all who follow Me. I knew this was a difficult gift to receive, especially in the midst of adversity. So, after My resurrection, the first words I spoke to My disciples were “Peace be with you!” They needed this reassurance, to reinforce what I taught them before I died. You also need to be reminded of the divine nature of this gift, for it is not the world’s peace I give you: It is Peace that transcends all understanding!

Clinging to other things makes it hard for you to receive My precious gift. That is like wrapping your fingers tightly around a small copper coin, while I am offering you unlimited supplies of pure gold. To receive My proffered gift, you must first open your hands and your heart to Me. By doing so, you release your concerns into My care and keeping. As you receive My glorious Peace, you gain deeper intimacy with Me—the richest blessing of all!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

~ Philippians 4:6–7

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. 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

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

~ John 20:19

Dear Jesus

As you come to Me and take My yoke upon you, I fill you with My very Life. This is how I choose to live in the world and accomplish My purposes; it is also how I bless you with inexpressible, glorious Joy.

Dear Jesus,

I delight in coming to You, but I’m not quite as eager to be yoked. That sounds restrictive, and I definitely like to feel free. However, I’m gradually learning that You do know what is best for me, even when it involves restrictions or suffering. I want to be filled with Your Life and Joy, so please show me how to take Your yoke upon me.

Beloved, the simplest way is to say yes to Me and My ways. I want you to be teachable. Receive My yoke as a teaching tool that helps you learn more and more about Me. Being yoked keeps you close to Me, on the path I have chosen for you. While this may feel restrictive at times, it protects you from many dangers.

As you live close to Me, My Life within you is nourished and strengthened. This enables Me to live more fully in you, accomplishing My purposes through you. I assure you, though, that I do not use you in a mechanistic way. There is a vibrant kinship between us as I live in and through you. This intimate connection produces immense Joy—far beyond anything the world can offer. The Joy I give is so wondrously glorious that it cannot be expressed in words.

My yoke is not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing. On the contrary, it is comfortable, gracious, and pleasant. As you submit to these bonds of Love, I fill you with Life and Joy in overflowing abundance. 

“Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” 
~ Matthew 11:29–30

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
~ 1 Peter 1:8–9 

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” 
~ John 15:11

Dear Jesus

Anxiety wraps you up in yourself, trapping you in your own thoughts. When you look to Me and whisper My Name, you break free and receive My help.

Dear Jesus,

You understand me so well. When I’m feeling anxious, I lose the ability to think clearly. My thoughts spin out of control with ever-increasing velocity. This sets me on a downward spiral of increasing anxiety and runaway thoughts. At such times, it’s hard to remember You are with me—ready to help.

Beloved, I know how difficult it is for you to break free when you are trapped in anxious thoughts. That’s why I encourage you to change the subject by whispering My Name: “Jesus.” The very simplicity of this act makes it possible to do—even when you’re not thinking clearly. There is immense Power in My Name to help you break free from the anxiety closing in on you. When you speak My Name, however quietly, you acknowledge My continual Presence. This truth is promised to all My followers, and it sets you free. Freedom and My Presence make an excellent combination: enabling you to turn your thoughts into conversation with Me.

Begin by thanking Me for always hearing your prayers. Then, talk with Me about whatever is worrying you, trusting that I understand you and your situation perfectly. As you converse with Me, the weight of your burden shifts to My strong shoulders, enabling you to relax. Now you are ready to receive My help, which I continually offer you.

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
~ John 8:31–32

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
~ Psalm 139:23

Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.
~ Deuteronomy 33:12