Worry, WoRrY, W O R R Y, WORRY! Ever notice how worries reproduce themselves in your head? Maybe you start out with just one teeny weeny concern that leads to another and another and another until they begin to drown out all the good things in your life. Until they consume you. Until you can't think about anything else except your next concern.
It can become habitual! Worries spread! Worries are contagious! They can infest your head until they become so big that they are no longer little "nitpick" thoughts but big ol' anxieties that make it difficult for you to even see past them anymore.
For the last few weeks, I have found myself waking up early in the morning with a worry in my head. Believe me when I say it is *not* a fun way to start the day. This morning, I woke up with a worry - and I decided. NO MORE. I am not waking up like this ANYMORE. The best way I know to combat things that I feel I have no control over and am "worried" about is to PRAY. So today I woke up declaring the Lord's Prayer.
"This is the day the Lord has made I WILL REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT!!!"
When I said it - it was more like I was commanding myself. I WILL! If I have to wrestle a worry to the ground and roll around and straddle it and contain it - I WILL! As I lay there having this wrestling match with this worry - I got to thinking about Jesus. The thing I love so much about the Bible is that it is the "living" word. It may have been written in the past - but it is very much present and useful for today. The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 1:9 "There is nothing new under the sun."
I'm quite sure the things I worry about are things that other people worry about. And here is the thing about worry - sometimes we spend so much time worrying we spend less time concentrating on what we can do to alleviate the worry. We give "glory" to the worry! Have you ever noticed that most of the things that we "worry" about don't even come to pass? Worrying can become an addiction! -And I decided, that that is one club I refuse to become a member of!
Problems are real. Situations are real. Concerns are real. I am not "belittling" them- they are all parts of life. We acknowledge them for what they are, we do our best to work through them and we PRAY about them (put each one into God's more than capable hand) and we learn to release them. We recognize that there are things that are out of our control. We work on the things we can resolve, we seek help over the things we cannot figure out how to resolve on our own - and we try to have the wisdom to recognize the difference between to the two. There is a very well known prayer called "The Serenity Prayer." It goes like this:
We all have weaknesses and strengths. Certain "worries" may be the results of areas that God is trying to strengthen or teach us. Skills we need to learn (for instance for me - it is the area of finance). Things we need to work on to better ourselves. Those things take time. In a microwave society - such as we live in, we can be impatient especially with ourselves. Our impatience can expand our worries like someone blowing up a balloon. Think about it... The worry is a tiny little balloon, but as we put more worry and thought and energy into it, as we get anxious that little flat balloon gathers air in it and gets bigger and bigger and BIGGER and BIGGER! Until it fills every corner of our life - pushing out all the good things that are there. There becomes no more room for anything other than that "worry."
I don't want to live like that - do you? I don't want to look back on my life and think, "yep - I lived from worry to worry..." Because guess what??? Problems ARE a part of life. But they SHOULDN'T BE the main dish! When I woke up this morning, I realized I've been living worry to worry! Crossing off worries from my list and moving on to the next one! Are you doing the same? It's time to stop. It's time to take the power back from your worries. And contrary to popular belief a person who is an optimist CAN still be a worrier!
I got to thinking about Jesus' life. He is suppose to be our example, right? So maybe His life is a good thing to examine. Here is someone who was born with a calling like NO OTHER. From day ONE. If anyone had caused to worry - Jesus did. People were trying to kill Him from the day He was born! Yet from what my Bible tells me - He was filled with peace. He is referred to in the Bible as the ""Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6) If anyone had cause to worry - Jesus did! But time and time again He would look at people (with wonder it seems) and ask them:
"Why do you worry? Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life. What you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food? And the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable then they? Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" (Matthew 6:25-34)
What did Jesus do when He was concerned? His concerns were unselfish - they were about others and not about Himself. Yet, when He came to the garden of Gethsemane and the worry of the cross weighed Him down - He didn't "sit there worrying." HE PRAYED. Jesus knew that regardless of what He faced, His Father's will would be done. He was born for a reason. WE were BORN for a reason. As I thought about Jesus, I thought about how He had a purpose. His life had real concerns. But I can almost bet that Jesus took pleasure and joy in the things in His life too. He went to weddings, He ate at people's houses. He played with children. I can bet you that Jesus found enjoyment in life. He never lost focus He kept His eyes on the path before Him.
He walked in grace, mercy and love. Maybe He's telling US we need to do the same.
This day I am *choosing* not to walk my life in a thick mire of problems and worries - I'm not going to give them any more power than I already have. I will acknowledge them, and do the best I can to work through them - but I will NOT allow them to rise up like weeds, wrap their cords around me and choke the enjoyment of life out of me. I won't let them be my focus on living anymore.
How about YOU? Will you look back on your life and see it in terms of what you worried about? Or will you look back at your life and see all the sweetness of the things that made life worth living? And all the lessons that you learned because of it?
Don't sit there worrying about - give it to God. Release it. Pray about it. Realize that you are only ONE person. You are human. There is very little that we have control over in our lives. A lot of our worries are over those that we love. Recognize that as much as YOU love that person - that God loves them more. He created them! He really does! Give that child that husband that wife that situation to GOD. He is much more capable of taking care of it than YOU are. Trust Him. He has your best interest at heart (and also their's. Here is something for you to remember - you can't out love God!) Also, remember that sometimes God allows situations to come into our lives to mold us into what He wants us to become. It's not meant to destroy us. It's meant to help us grow. Sometimes our problem is that we fight Him every step of the way. Like a child dragging their feet as they go. Maybe our situation is one that He is telling us to trust more in Him. He is our Heavenly Father - remember that we only see in part - but HE sees in full. He knows SO much more than our little minds do. We need to trust Him. As those worries come to our minds we need to recognize them, acknowledge them and give them to the One who knows.
He didn't give us life to live "worry to worry." Life is suppose to be a gift - not a burden. It's time to live it as such, don't you think?