Years ago in high school, I was somewhat involved in our parish youth ministry program. Every spring we went on retreat to a beautiful Benedictine retreat center about an hour away, tucked far away off a dirt road.
The weekend was equal parts prayer and faith sharing with time to relax and be outdoors. One particular year, I remember being given some prayer time where we could go anywhere on the property. Each young person was given a list of different emotions or feelings, and with it and accompanying psalm or Scripture to pray with when you felt that way.
I was so struck by it. So much so, that I kept it in my Bible for years and years.
I don’t know about you, but life has felt stressful lately. From quarantine life at home, job loss, and not being able to live out our daily lives, we can all too easily spiral out of control with negative thoughts and worry.
Whether you are frustrated with Catholic dating or the state of your life right now, there are so many places in Scripture where we can have personal access to God through all the feels and emotions.
Scripture gives us permission to bring our real, authentic self to God in prayer, even if we feel like a hot mess.
Whether you are anxious and stressed, or dealing with loneliness or apathy, here are several Bible verses to help keep your heart in check.
The Garden of Gethsemani (Matthew 26: 36-44)
Look to this Scripture passage to find personal access to the humanity of Jesus. I come here to pray with Jesus when I feel scared, overwhelmed, or uncertain about situations and life.
In his prayer, Jesus illuminates that it is okay to bring our real, honest feelings and emotions to God. We do not have it “all together” with Jesus, we can come as we are. God is never put off or frustrated with how we feel, it matters to him.
Coming back to sit and pray in the Garden with Jesus always helps me remember this.
You still bear fruit, even here (Jeremiah 17:5-8)
Jeremiah the prophet says, “He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: it fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green, in the year of drought it shows no distress but still bears fruit.”
In Lent 2019, these verses kept coming up repeatedly in my own prayer. God was reminding me that even in spite of difficulty and frustration with parts of life, this season could (and would!) still bear fruit. That tree whose roots stretch out to the life-giving stream is the soul firmly rooted upon Christ.
I think this verse can be such a comfort to all of us no matter what drought our life is currently facing: family difficulties, financial woes or job loss, loneliness, or frustration with Catholic dating. No matter the season we feel life has us, we can still bear fruit and growth, even here.
These words from Jeremiah are such a comfort for me and a powerful reminder that God always knows what he is doing with my life; even if it does not make sense to me in the moment.
God knows what he is doing (Joel 2:25)
Over the last five or six years of life, the Lord somehow brings me back to this verse when I need a heavenly reminder that he knows what he is doing in my life.
Joel is one of the minor prophets of the Old Testament and these words are some the most known from him: “I will repay you double what the swarming locust has eaten, The hopper, the consuming locust, and the cutter, my great army I sent against you.”
You may be thinking, Oh, okay Patty, really interesting choice here. Hang with me, friend!
This verse is important because it helps us remember that God knows what he is doing. Whether it’s his plan for our world, the Catholic church, or your life, he has a plan.
Sometimes we (I!) get easily overwhelmed in life and forget that God already has a plan for everything. I need to go back and be reminded of what his perspective is. This verse always helps me to do this.
Looking for more Scripture to meditate on?
Any of the four Gospels make for great meditation material! While my personal favorites are Matthew and John, Mark is the shortest Gospel and often an easier place to start to grow in friendship with Jesus.
Jesus’ public ministry is full of stories, examples, and parables that can speak to the depths of our heart in a personal way. Place yourself into the stories and accounts with Jesus and his disciples. It is such a richer way to pray and encounter the Lord in a personal way.
What are the Bible verses you keep coming back to when your heart needs a refocus?
What words or phrases from Sacred Scripture breathe life into you?