When Concern Consumes Me


As we drove home from a weekend away in the mountains, I felt a heavy sense of dread and sadness. Laying my head back on my seat, I told my husband, JJ, “I don’t want to go home.”

The stress and strain of countless commitments at home and at work were taking a toll on me. If only I could return to that little mountain town where no one knew me or needed me. 

J.J. asked some clarifying questions, and then suggested I make a list of everything on my plate so I could ask God what needed to be cut back. At first I resented the fact that he had just added one more thing “to do” on my already-overwhelming-list of things I’d never get done. But I knew he was right.

Later that week I wrote out all my commitments and concerns, along with a list of deadlines and dates on my calendar, including every appointment, event, conference-call, and meeting I could think of for the next six months.

And I prayed: Please, God, show me where I need to make changes.

I assumed the Holy Spirit would suggest big adjustments in my schedule, but that’s not what happened. God didn’t tell me to make cutbacks at work or in ministry. He didn’t show me our family had too many activities. He didn’t challenge me to take a sabbatical, although I was hoping He would.

Jesus showed me it was worry, not my workload, that was making me weary.

During the weeks leading up to my “meltdown,” I let my thoughts dwell on the possible negative outcome of several different circumstances and decisions, all at the same time. And without realizing it, I spent as much time thinking and worrying about concerns, commitments, circumstances, and deadlines as I did working on them.

It was not only how I spent my time, but how I spent my thoughts that left me depleted.

But, it wasn’t until I brought it all to God and wrote it all out, that I recognized what was happening.

Instead of escaping to the mountains where no one knows us or needs us, Jesus invites us to come to Him so He can give us:

Rest for our weary hearts and minds.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)

Freedom from the captivity of our concerns.
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and will bring you back from captivity.” (Jeremiah 29:12-14a)

Are there are worries that are making you weary? Jesus is gently inviting you to come to Him, seeking and trusting Him, no matter what. Over at inCourage we’re sharing how we can remember this truth:

God’s heart is big enough to care and strong enough to carry all that concerns us. 

Lord, when concerns consume us, help us remember You are there inviting us to come to You and talk about all of it. Everything that’s weighing us down. Show us if it’s our commitments or concerns, our worries or our workload, and help us trust You more with both. Amen.

Join us over at inCourage, and share a concern that we can pray for, for you. 

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.


  1. Thank you Renee for sharing your struggle with commitments or concern, worry or work load. This is just where I’ve been over the last 6 months plus. Though I did pull back from almost all my commitments due to recurrent anxiety attacks, I’ve spent a lot of time wondering if this was really God’s will. I don’t see that it has helped me much, if anything I’ve fallen further behind. Perhaps pressing forward in faith and committing each step of the journey would have given better progress and growth. However I know the Lord loves me and has redeemed me, even my mistakes and He will provide a way through the storm. Thank you especially for the scriptures the Holy Spirit gave you to share, they bring hope when I’ve felt I would give up. I know the Lord is blessing many lives through you!

  2. Had saved this to read later and couldn’t of done so at a better time. So consumed with several major concerns that are all happening at once. A big deal to move to a different city so husband can start new job. Selling house, bad roof inspection, fighting with insurance, new house not ready and we have to be out and then…..unexpected open heart surgery for hubby before the move that’s in 3 weeks. New job, so no PTO and he will be out of commission for move. Have to store everything and board dogs and stay with friends. All while I work in the tax field and it’s tax season 🙁. I can’t change or do anything about my circumstances, except trust and pray. Please pray for Todd’s heart surgery coming this Friday 3/16. That is the most important thing. I know the rest is just inconvenience, just so much to deal with at once and worry that we made the wrong decisions on the change in career and move even though we felt God leading.

  3. Renee, I had your post saved to read when I found a little time. Boy, God is good. As I am reading today, I am also in the process of figuring out what God wants me to take off. Your post has added a new element for me to consider. Thank you. Maree

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