So many things in life rob you of not only time, but also peace and forward motion. Some of these thieves are so much a part of your life that you stopped realizing their impact on you long ago. Let’s examine these bandits and see what they steal.
Fear – Fear holds a position at the top of the list because it is one of the primary emotion that motivates your actions and reactions and robs you of confident assurance. Fear prompts you to make hasty decisions or fail to make a decision at all. Fear curls its tendrils around you like a creeping vine, entangling you in panic and causing you to second-guess and what-if each decision. Fear alters your perception and behavior and steals your courage. The antidote for fear is faith.
Worry and Anxiety – Do you know someone who worries about everything to the point of worrying when they have nothing to worry about? Anxiety is a tag-along to worry, or perhaps more accurately, a precursor to worry. Anxiety anticipates what might happen, conjuring possible negative scenarios, and projecting inadequacy. Worry and anxiety are both associated with control. When you constantly try to control what might happen next, or circumvent the fallout of something that has already happened, worry and anxiety are your constant companions. Worry and anxiety are strong-arm bandits who steal your sense of peace.
Guilt and Regret – Like worry and anxiety, guilt and regret are hand-holding twins that rob you joy and prevent your moving forward. Guilt and regret keep you tied to the past, looking back, wishing you had or hadn’t. Make amends when possible. Apologize when necessary and then move on. You can’t change the past, but you can do differently in the future.
Anger – Everyone loses their cool on occasion, but anger is an extremely destructive emotion. The chronically angry rarely try to probe themselves deeply enough to discover the root causes of their anger, and most of the time, blame other people or circumstances for their angry words and behaviors. But anger is not only an emotion, it’s also a habit, and habits can be changed. Don’t allow anger to blossom into hatred and resentment and rob you of relationships and productivity.
Envy and Discontentment – Envy is like a tiny spark under a pile of dry leaves. It doesn’t take much for envy to smolder into discontentment. When you spend time looking at others, comparing yourself to them, and resenting what they have, you set yourself up for misery. Everyone, no matter how prosperous, famous, gifted, or attractive, experiences heartache and trouble at some point. It may be a different kind of difficulty from what you’ve experienced, and they may do a good job shielding their struggles from public view, but everyone deals with challenges, grief, and loss. So avoid comparisons, be thankful for what you have, and don’t wish to live another person’s life.
By definition, a thief is someone who steals something, often stealthily or secretly. Emotional thieves sneak up on you and rob you on levels not immediately recognizable. The synonyms for thief are many: bandit, outlaw, criminal, robber, marauder, enemy. They take and give nothing in return. But unlike someone who robs you of possessions, you have the option of stopping emotional thieves. You can recognize and resist these marauders and not allow them to steal your joy, contentment, and peace.
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.” (Philippians 4:6-7 MSG)