If you made a list, you might find that there are more items in the “things to worry about” column than in the “no need to worry about” column. Please don’t make a list. Future, career, kids, health, income, bills, family, friends, marriage… there’s no area that gets an automatic exemption from worry, right?
But while we’re busy worrying, we know in the back of our heads that we’re not supposed to worry; so there’s one more thing to worry about. Put it on your list.
So there’s the rub; in one corner – I feel worried because of my life circumstances, and in the other corner – I know not to worry because Jesus wants my trust and dependence placed on Him. Which one is going to win? It depends on which corner you choose to spend your time.
Matthew 6:34 [Jesus speaking] Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Worry will never dissipate because of the list getting shorter ; God doesn’t seem to change the entire world around us overnight. You won’t awaken tomorrow to bubbles, rainbows and unicorns. (Everyone knows that’s what a worry-free world is like…) The same things you worry about today will be present tomorrow when your feet hit the floor. So how can we choose freedom if the stimulus for our worry never changes?
We must do three things to find peace, and we may have to do them daily, or hourly, or each minute on occasion They are: Admit. Give. And Trust.
Admit it; you can’t do much of anything about the things you are worried about. If you could, you would have done it, and then you wouldn’t be worried. And you wouldn’t be reading this blog, but instead you’d be signing copies of your book about how not to worry. We must admit that we don’t have control of most of the world around us; certainly not of the people, places and things that stress us out much of the time. We walk around with a superficial sense of control, as if we were the god who got to control and direct all of life to meet our desires. Admitting that we’re not in control is to be humble before God and surrender to the truth that He has control and we don’t. Our worries are fruitless, powerless and pitiful.
Matthew 6:27 [Again, Jesus speaking] Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
Admit it; your worry isn’t chipping away at the list. It’s not making any progress; so what to do? How about trying something different?
Give worry away; let God worry about your list. He’s the only one who can do something about it. Might as well let Him worry about it…
1 Peter 5:7 says: Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Give it all over to Him. Why? Because he loves you. Give Him your worries by naming them for Him and asking that He direct and control those situations according to His will and for His glory.
In Philippians 4:6 Paul writes: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
We give worry away in prayer and gratitude; offering these items to God by faith. It’s the natural progression of first humbling admitting our own powerlessness. It’s recognizing the power and the love of God.
And then comes to hardest part. Trusting in the work of God, we don’t ask to have our items back again. We don’t change direction once the decision’s made to let God be in control of all of our lives. Admitting was easy enough. Asking for help wasn’t too bad. But trusting means waiting… And trusting means being content if the outcome doesn’t match our expectations… Trusting is an ongoing relinquishment of our own control. That’s the minute-by-minute work of “waiting on the Lord”.
In the end, God’s will is enough for us if we admit, give and trust. We seek after Him when there’s happiness and we seek after Him when there’s sadness.
Freedom from worry is never just a simple recipe for a “more happy life”. Sorry. It’s a recipe for a life entrusted to God. So as you read this, don’t picture this as a self-help article that will free you from worry in order that you might have more pleasure in life.
Freedom from worry is accomplished in order that we might spend ourselves chasing after God and His purposes, instead of frittering away our lives chasing after the temporary trinkets that worldly folks chase. Our hearts will be free to chase after Him, and in the process of trusting, our lives are shaped to depend on him moment by moment and to joyfully receive his will for us even when the outcome is difficult or painful.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Clark Hewitt, Associate Pastor