We are just going to get straight to it…I love to worry! I know, I know God tells us to “be still and know that I am God.” And in Matthew 6:25, my favorite verse EVER we are told to “not worry about what we will eat or drink or if we will have clothes to put on our back for God will take care of us just as he cares for the birds in the air and blah blah blah.” Please!
Worrying for me is an art. I take it very seriously. I won’t ride roller coasters because I could die if the coaster were to fall off the track or maybe I’ll just have a heart attack from the sheer speed itself. I worry while on an airplane because honestly how do we really trust a 90,000 pound chunk of metal to stay up in the air with another 65,000 pounds of luggage, fuel and people?! Really? Come on!
I worry about riding with my husband while HE is driving! I mean let’s be honest do any of us really think our spouse can drive better than we can?
I worry if there will be enough money in the bank to pay all the bills each month. I worry that may brain may freeze and I’ll forget how a certain hymn goes, which actually does happen from time to time…I worry about the future of our son with autism…what will happen to him if God forbid something happens to myself or Alex…I could literally keep going all day and probably into the night with my list of worries. I am the biggest hypochondriac ever and every single small thing turns into a huge thing for me.
But let me be honest…do I REALLY love to worry? Absolutely not. Do any of us…heck no!
So how do we get from the point of frantic, tense times to a “peace that surpasses understanding” and truly know that God is in control and has our back?…I have no idea!
If we look at today’s scripture reading Jesus tells us to not worry about what we will eat or drink or if we will have clothing on our back because those who do not know God worry about those things…When I get stuck dwelling on life’s uncertainties I need to remind myself that I KNOW God and I KNOW He loves me and cares for me…as Jesus said “more than the birds in the air who He faithfully provides for”. Worrying is not of God it is of my own mind and my own doing.
I found two wonderful quotes while studying for today’s topic and they really resonated with me. The first one is by well known author Corrie Ten Boom…she says…
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”
Think about that for a moment. What are our sorrows? Are they REAL or just imagined troubles?.. what do we actually need in the midst of our real or imagined troubles?..Strength!
We need strength when we worry. Strength to remember God is in control. Strength to remember God’s promises. Strength to remember even tiny bits of scripture. In the song we sang just a moment ago “Thy Word,” Amy Grant the writer was working on recording an album in the middle of a forest in Colorado at a small quaint recording studio. She went for a walk just around dusk and found herself lost in the middle of the forest not knowing how to get back to her cabin. To keep herself calm she kept reciting the scripture that came to her….Psalm 119:105…”Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” As she kept reciting it she turned it into a melody and after walking and singing she slowly saw an actual light…the light of the cabin to where she needed to get back to. Thinking on scripture and using it in our time of need really can help us find our way back to where we need to be.
Think about it…has dwelling on an issue ever really helped resolve the situation? No…it really only takes us away from today; the only true moment we actually have; as we are not promised a tomorrow. Jesus tells us to “not worry about tomorrow because it will bring more of its own worries.” If we truly believe God to be God and our sustainer and provider He will take care of today…and we have to have faith to believe that and trust that it will happen.
The other quote I liked is by Wiz Khalifa…yeah…Wiz Khalifa. Ask your kids or grandkids who he is they will know ;-). He says this…
“Worrying is like walking around everyday with an umbrella open just waiting for it to rain.”
Honestly can you think of anything more ridiculous than seeing someone on a bright sunshiny day carrying an umbrella wide open walking down the street smiling and saying “hey there! Just waiting for the rain to start.
Again…we are not living in the moment and allowing God to take care of what is and what will be…
We are playing the part of God and trying to control everything.
Being a type A personality who likes to take charge and likes things done a certain way, this is very easy for me to do. I’m one of those “if you want something done right just do it yourself” kind of people. Now I’m not saying that we should just walk around all careless and free…”It’s all good, God will take care of it all”…but I am saying that we have a choice in how we respond to life’s situations. But that’s a whole other topic and we don’t have time to get into all of that today 😉
So how can we help ourselves and alleviate some of our worry and stress? Once again great question…so back to the Bible we go to try find some answers.
In Colossians 3:15 Paul tells us to
“Let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body…and be thankful.” We can’t just sit back and be thankful if our mind is consumed by worry. It would be impossible. Kind of like asking someone to remain calm while their boat is taking on water in the middle of the ocean.
And in Philippians 4:6-7 another favorite of mine, we are told
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving in our hearts let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Imagine actually being able to “be anxious for nothing” by allowing our heart to change our mind through prayer. Mind blowing.
The fabulous Jill Briscoe offers us some simple and easy ways to make these scriptures come alive and help us apply them to our every day lives.
- Have a plan for today. “Be sufficient unto the day.”
When worry enters our minds we need to try to identify which part of time that particular worry belongs to- the past, the present or the future – then tackle the part of the situation that HAS to be tackled that day and ONLY that part. Try to imagine harnessing our mind when it keeps bolting out the door of today into either the past, present or future and give God the reins.
- Memorize scripture – “think on these things. Philippians 4:8 tells us “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” As I told you earlier I hate roller coasters. Back in the day I was a youth leader and the kids desperately wanted to go to Great America. Yep, the land of a thousand coasters that I loathe! Well the first ride they chose had just opened. A mammoth of a foster at the time, the “Raging Bull.” This ride was the tallest and fastest and it didn’t have a normal bar that goes across your lap to keep you in the ride tightly, no, it had a skinny stick that went between your legs and a bull head on the top that you were supposed to hold on to. 😳 Well once that thing started up all I could do was sing and old Twila Paris song “I will wait on the Lord, I will wait for His Word. Because I fear His holy name. Before I move, before I speak, perfect wisdom I will seek and I will wait as long as it takes (because this ride is taking forever…🙄😬) I will wait on the Lord.” The song does. It have much to do with being on that roller coaster but in that moment it was the scripture from Psalms really helped me through that moment. It may be hard to remind ourselves every day but it is something so easy that we can do on our own. Set our mind back on things of God and the strength and peace only He can give us in those moments.
- Don’t steal the worry back. Pray about it. Commit it to God and then don’t steal it back! Enjoy the day…be a bird…the paraphrase from Eugene Peterson’s The Message of today’s scripture sums it up perfectly…”look at the birds free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you…yes YOU…count far more to Him than those birds.”
May we seek to find strength in our times of worry and doubt from the God who loves us beyond measure…
Scripture for October 7, 2018 Matthew 6:24-34
Jesus spoke on to the crowds on the mountain, saying, “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and wealth. Therefore I tell you, don’t worry about your life- what you will eat, or what you will drink. And don’t worry about your body- what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they don’t sow, or reap, or gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than a bird? Can any of you add a single hour to your life by worrying? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field: they don’t toil or spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was never clothed like a simple flower. So if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won’t God clothe you even more? Have faith! Don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or What will we wear?’ Those who don’t know God strive for all these things. And indeed, your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But you- YOU strive first for the Realm of God and for God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is more than enough for today!”
Friends, listen to what the Spirit would say to us today.