Today’s Truth

The Lord is my shepherd.

Psalm 23:1, NKJV

Friend to Friend

Stress happens … a lot. In fact, stress seems to be a constant companion in many of our lives. Yes, we live in a world filled with people and circumstances that seem to feed stress. But I believe much of our stress is the result of an innate quest to love and be loved. The problems come when we look for that love in all the wrong places.

There is only one right place where we can find true love – in a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

It is really very simple. When we know God, we will know love. When we experience His unconditional love, we are then freed to love ourselves and to love others.

I have personally discovered that it is downright frustrating and completely impossible to live the Christian life when you are not a Christian. I tried.

For years I desperately struggled to be a Christ follower with only head knowledge of who God was and wanted to be in my life. The result was a pitifully shallow existence with stress and frustration as my constant companions.

I grew up in a Christian home, attending church just about every time the doors were open. I sang all of the right songs, spoke all of the right words, and did all of the right things in front of all the right people. I fervently prayed that my works would validate my faith, and desperately hoped that by following the rules, I would please the Ruler. It was not until my first year in high school that the spiritual integrity of a dynamic youth pastor made me hunger and thirst for something more.

I wanted to know God.

I desperately wanted and needed to experience the unconditional love of God.

During a Saturday evening church service, I sat in my usual spot with the rest of my high school friends, clutching the back of the pew in front of me while wrestling with God over the condition of my soul and my eternal security. I was an active church member, a soloist, and the pianist for our worship services. I even directed a children’s choir.

I was a fake! How embarrassing to walk down that aisle, admitting to everyone that I’d been living a lie!

My mind argued that I knew all about God – and then the deeper truth of that argument hit me. Yes, I knew about Him, but I didn’t know Him.

God’s perfect love settles for nothing less than an intimate and loving relationship with His children. That night I met God. I surrendered all that I knew about myself to all that I knew about Him.

The course of my life was changed forever, but I quickly discovered that my problems did not magically disappear. I still had to deal with stressful situations. The difference was that God’s love preceded me. His power and strength surrounded and sustained me as I lived each day. And that made all the difference in my stress-filled world.

Knowing we are loved fosters contentment and peace in our hearts, and when our hearts are filled with peace, there is little room for stress.

Let’s Pray

Father, thank You for the peace that comes from knowing You. Help me remember that no matter what comes my way, You are with me. When I am tempted to worry, give me the strength to choose faith over fear. Teach me Your ways, Lord, and empower me to walk in them.

In Jesus’ name,


Now It’s Your Turn

Ready for a challenge that will change your life? Read Psalm 23 every day for one month. Commit it to memory. Breathe in every word and let its truth saturate your heart and life. At the end of the month, check the level of stress in your life. Celebrate the fact that the Lord really is your Shepherd. Revel in the truth that He loves you. Rest in Him, knowing that His peace will follow you and go before you all the days of your life.

More from the Girlfriends

Need help dealing with stress? Get Mary’s book, Escaping the Stress Trap, and learn how to control the stress in your life instead of allowing it to control you.

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11 Responses to “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places”

  1. Adelina says:

    Lord’s favor and blessing in the lives of those around me and my own. Know my heart and by a miracle, restore unity in my family. Financial peace, protection from evil and restored health.
    Be in me Lord. Talk through me and allow me to be the mom, wife and friend you desire.
    In God’s name I claim the Lords blessing over my prayers and rebuke the devils efforts to destroy my faith. Amen
    Prayers for our country, leaders and churches to be protected by God.
    Prayers for my church families hardships, health and faith.

  2. manda says:

    This devotional hit home for me, I have been struggling with this lately. I want to be all in I just have a hard time letting things go that I want control over. I know God is amazing I’ve seen it with my friends, and family. I know the talk but I want to learn the walk. Please pray….

  3. Joy says:

    Just like Manda, I am experiencing a situation where I have lost control when at first I thought I had control. I lost a relationship that I have been believing God to salvage for me for a long time. But if I trust in God’s love, as Mary wrote, then I will never have to wonder if God’s plan for me is good. I know that it is! Jer 29:11 thanks Mary!

  4. Sharita says:

    Hi Joy I also lost a relationship that I was believing God for… but was it His perfect will for me or my permissive will.. as we are encouraged to read Psalm23 “I shall NOT want” comforts me in that He WILL give me all I need and more!! Get excited your latter shall be greater!! As hard as it may be I know in my soul that God is “able to do exceedingly abundantly far more than you can ever hope or imagine” Ephesians 3:20!! Trust HIM for more than what you had expected!HE is faithful love and blessings Shari

  5. Lana says:

    This message hit home for me. I’ve been dealing with the stress and disappointments from not getting what I need emotionally from my loved ones. I need to seek God’s love and affection rather than theirs. Please be in prayer with me that I let Him fill every void and meet every need that I have.

  6. I just now read this article/devotion. Thank you for sharing it's, Mary. Also I love all the comments. Like the other girls above I have lost a relationship. I felt like it was the best thing for me at the time. Six months down the road I miss the person says:

    I just now read this article/devotion. Thank you for sharing it, Mary. Also I love all the comments. Like the other girls above I have lost a relationship. I felt like it was the best thing for me at the time. Six months down the road I miss the person I was with.. I want to move forward but what I had seems so appealing all the sudden.. I believe The Lord wants me to be married but I don’t know who to or how to get on the right path.. Please pray for my perfect plan from God to be set in motion. Thanks!

  7. Identicalboyz says:

    Thank you for being Faithful to your MInistry.

    Please include my Family in your Prayers.

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8