Monday, May 18, 2020

True Help During A Time of Dread

Dear Friend,
The diary pages I mentioned a couple weeks ago have really helped my outlook during this time of dread. Do you have yours yet? Do you need more? Email me at .
The overview for it is posted below. You can view the diary pages here.
Try keeping the diary for 3 weeks straight. I think you’ll see good results the first week but 3 weeks will make it more of an automatic lifestyle. I’d love to hear how this helps.
Remember that God is in control and loves you so much that Jesus Christ lived, died and arose from the dead for our salvation and freedom from sin (including fear and anxiety). Keep trusting in Him.   ferree


Diary Overview

Each weekday is composed of six exercises that are commonly cited as effective for guarding against stress, depression, anxiety and unhealthy grief. Sunday and Saturday are different; Sunday’s entry is for looking ahead and Saturday’s is for reflection at the end of your week. If, like so many people, your life doesn’t fit the Monday-Friday schedule just rename the days accordingly.

What’s most important is to personalize this and do what works for you. You don’t have to do each of the six things each and every day, it’s better to aim for consistency than to add more stress. Start with one or two things: perhaps reading a Bible verse and getting some exercise. Pick any combination. Nail them down and then add more. 


  • paper for making copies
  • hole punch (optional)
  • 3 ring binder (optional)
  • pencil or pen and highlighter

One week of entries will fit on two 8.5”x11” pages.  Copy single sided or use both sides. Print pages for as many weeks or months as you’d like. Hole punch them to fit into a 3-ring binder if you want.

Remember this is a task-oriented diary, not the “Dear Diary” kind. Compose short phrases. You don’t have to write complete sentences. No one is going to grade it. You don’t even have to explain yourself. Write key words that will jog your memory when you look back at your week. Journaling—letting your thoughts and feelings flow out through your fingertips—is great, too, especially if you are lonely. But this is not a journal so quick notes and key words are enough.


Highlights from church

What impressed your heart most at church today? Jot down two or three words that express most what you want to remember or attach your sermon notes.

Problems, choices, etc., challenging me this week

What problems and junk will you face in the week ahead? You might write, “I hate my job!” or “I need a job!” or the initials of a person you need to confront—all the sorts of messes we dread.  This helps define the burdens you are bearing. Although God knows them, once YOU are able to name them, then you are able to pray about them effectively. Cast your burdens on Him.
MONDAY – FRIDAY Each day has 2 sections. Use the first at the beginning of the day *** the second at the end.

Something positive from the past 24 hours. This can be as ordinary as a dandelion (if you like dandelions), or as unusual as someone leaving you a $1000 tip. Just.One.Thing. On some days that’s hard to do if your brain is stuck in negativity. This exercise is very important. It will help you become more aware of the good stuff around you. There will be less reason to be critical, defensive and perfectionistic. You’ll start feeling a tad bit happier, others will feel it too and it will grow.

People, things or events I’m grateful for. List at least three. Every day.  A different three every day. There are way more than three things to be thankful for every day so don’t you dare use the same ones over and over! And if you want to list 20 or 50 things, go for it!

One Bible verse or inspirational thought to carry with me today.  Do your daily Bible reading or devotions and pick one verse or line to transpose here. You might also want to put it on a 3x5 card or Post-It note so you’ll see it throughout the day too. The main purpose is to get into the habit of latching on to life giving words.


A kind thing I did: Write this down at the end of your day. If you didn’t accomplish any act of kindness then leave it blank and remember to do something tomorrow. You’re not racking up goody points or earning your angel wings, God doesn’t keep score like that. This is even better if no one sees you do it. It can be random or planned. Smile and say thank you to the cashier, pick up litter, make your bed, surprise your family by playing a game with the kids, do the dishes without grumbling or leave that $1000 tip for the waitress. The possibilities are endless, switch things up every time.

Music that meant a lot to me: Write down the song titles or phrases that pulled you in, made you smile, dance or simply relax. Some days you might have more than one, somedays none. That’s OK, this exercise is to help you develop awareness of this powerful tool for your emotions. But…if you find a Christian song or hymn full of God’s truth playing in your head when you least expected it? Tune in and listen. That’s the Holy Spirit, our Comforter, loving on you.

Exercise  Bible reading  Specific prayer time  Check these off at the end of the day. No excuses, just a check mark. You choose your own routine. This is just a tool for accountability and consistency. They can all be enjoyable and rewarding and research shows that exercise is an effective aid for depression! 


Review the notes you’ve made this week and consider this question: What life giving word or action from God spoke to you this week?  Highlight or mark the things which were most significant to you. 

This could be the most impactful day of all—and you might not write a single word. Reviewing your week will help you begin to notice that God truly is working in your life for your good and his glory. You’ll see changes. Others will see you change. God will get the credit and the glory, and you will discover he is blessing you. Not because you deserve it but because he is God and God is love. That’s what he did for us on Calvary—even though we were sinners, Christ died for us—that’s the greatest gift of all. His love didn’t stop there though, He conquered death! He gives us life both now and forever! He continues to reach out to us with his love, redeeming our mean little days so that we can choose a life that doesn’t crumble under stress, despair and pandemics. We will finally know who we are, why we are here, and where we are going.

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