How often do you walk into a store with something to exchange—an article of clothing you decided you didn't like…a pair of shoes that was uncomfortable…a gadget that didn’t do what you thought it would do? Well, at most stores, if you have your receipt and return the item within so many days, you can exchange it for something else or get a refund.
Did you know the same principle applies to your thinking? You can exchange all the thoughts that have made you feel discouraged, worried and stressed, for faith-filled thoughts that lift you up and bring you peace, hope and joy in Jesus Christ—and you don’t ever have to worry about having a receipt.
Here’s one thing you need to keep in mind: You can’t receive the new thing God wants to give you if you’re unwilling to let go of the old. That’s how an exchange works! God wants us to live by faith, trusting Him for what we need.
So, think about it. What harmful, hurtful and unproductive thoughts are you willing to give up in order to receive the healing, life-giving truths in God’s Word?
Do you want to give up your stress for rest…your worry for worship…your hurriedness for happiness? If so, here are some practical tips to help you make an exchange.
Exchange Stress for Rest:
- If you’re stressing out because of an ongoing struggle in your life, make an exchange today. Simply pray and say, “Lord, I’m exchanging my stress for Your rest. I give this situation to You and ask You to work all things together for my good.”
- If you’re trying to get something done but keep on getting interrupted, make an exchange today. Rather than getting angry and losing your temper, ask God to give you wisdom. Trade in your frustration for His direction and trust that He will help you.
- If you’ve spent too much energy trying to change your spouse (and it’s not working), make an exchange today. Rather than asking God to change your spouse, ask God to change you. You’ll be surprised at what a difference it will make!
Exchange Worry for Worship:
- If you’re worried about your plans not going as expected, make an exchange. Rather than rehashing the same old problem, take a few minutes to worship and thank God for His goodness. Remember some of the problems He has solved for you in the past, and trust that He will do it again.
- If you’re worried about what others may be saying about you, make an exchange. Instead of worrying and calling everyone you can think of to defend yourself, worship God for being your defender (see Psalm 59:9). Praise Him that He is strong enough and caring enough to protect you against the accusations of others.
- If you’re worried about losing your job or not getting promoted, make an exchange. Don’t focus on what might go wrong; instead, worship God for what is going to go right. Take a few minutes to celebrate that He is your Provider (see Philippians 4:19) and He is going to supply everything you need for today and each day to come.
Exchange Hurry for Happiness:
- If you’re hurried by too many daily commitments, make an exchange. Look at your calendar and ask God to show you what things you need to step back from. It might not be easy, but you can give your energy to things that bring you peace rather than take it away.
- If your morning routine always seems rushed, make an exchange. Decide to prioritize in order to make your mornings more productive. Do some extra preparations in the evening or get up a few minutes early to spend time with the Lord. You’ll be amazed at what a difference a more disciplined routine makes.
- If you’ve been comparing yourself to someone else and trying to do all the things they are doing, make an exchange. Instead of trying to keep up with them, determine to do your own thing. Ask God to help you reject the temptation to compare yourself to others and be content and happy with who He has made you to be.
God loves you, and He has a wonderful plan for your life. He wants you to give up all your cares and concerns and put your trust in Him. In exchange, you will receive His protection, stability, joy and so much more. That’s the amazing privilege of being cared for by Him.