"I'm tired of worrying about how we're going to pay for this!!"
"I'm worried about when my kids will come home... it makes me tired!"
"All this anxiety and worry about the government burns me out!"
Have you ever felt like this? If you're a human being with any level of responsibility the chances are really good that you would say yes. The Great Recession has cast us with mounting debt and too few resources to pay for things. We have put off repair work, upgrades and regular maintenance. We've down sized, budget battled and gone without. In some cases we've given up on dreams or at least postponed them until... well I'm not sure when, but some other time that has to do with "not now". Being the kind of person that likes to plan ahead and know what's going down the line, I tend to worry more than I would like to admit. Because I'm often not patient enough, I feel the lack of control when things don't happen on my timeline and it leads me to worry about when and if something will ever happen. Worry, makes me tired in my heart and can often lead me to inaction. Almost like it talks me out of attempting to do things because the attempt would make me worry, and I'm tired of worrying.
Worry is defined by some this way: as a verb "give way to anxiety or unease; allow one's mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles." or a noun "a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems." I've been a Christian all my life. I know the passages that the Bible has to say about worry. In fact Solomon captures the heart of it quite well when he says "For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless." Perhaps, with some guilt, we read these passages in frustration wondering how we can in fact let go.
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
“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 than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
"Doubt is momentary Atheism" I've heard this quote before and I have been thinking about it quite a bit in this context. The most quoted command in the bible is "Do not be afraid", which can also be said - "Do not fear" or "do not be anxious" or "do not worry", yet why is it so hard to do this. I don't know about you, but for me it likely has to do with my inability to live in a way that gives up control to God fully. It is evidence that God is still building my faith, burning away the impurities of my own desires and my own time frame so that he can give to me something that is my hearts best and most intimate desire. Perhaps too, it's his promise that this life is hard and difficult (John 16:33) and I am afraid to go through the trials and pains in life that I really would rather not deal with, loss, hurt, death.
But all of this worry leads me to a tiredness in my body, a numbness in my mind and a distress in my heart. So much so that recently I found myself praying quietly, but loudly - I DON'T WANT TO WORRY ABOUT THIS ANYMORE!!! GOD ARE YOU LISTENING, I'M TIRED OF WORRYING??? To which I perhaps heard God more clearly in these passages. Do you know what he said?
IT'S ABOUT TIME! Mike, I never asked you to worry about these things. Mike, I appreciate what you want to "do" for me, but if it leads you to a place of worry, don't go there, I didn't ask you to do that. I have dealt with your worry, I have assigned a time and a place for things to work for your best and to my glory. I have met every need for you and for your family. Am I not God? Am I not the one who called you? Am I not the one who has loved you, walked and danced with you? Am I not the God that has wept with you, sat in the dark with you, rejoiced with you? Are you not my son who I have adopted for Jesus sake? Are you not beautiful to me, because I made you? Mike, I really would like you to give up worrying, because I never asked you to do it, in fact I want quite the opposite for you, to live free of worry. So be at peace, do not fear the future, you have only to live for me today and not tomorrow. Tomorrow will be "today" soon enough and that is where I will meet your need and you will have opportunity to live for me and for my name."
OK, so God didn't actually come and say that to me, but the aha moment and all the passages came flooding in that reminds me of the heart that God has for me and where my life fits into his plan. I have only to live in it. An author once said "Where there's not hope for the future, there's no power in the present". Worry causes us to lose hope as we take our eyes off Jesus and his promises. For us, the result is that we often lose power in the present moment to deal with life around us, a vicous cycle that leaves us spent and often feeling defeated. I don't want to worry about these things anymore... so with God's help, I'm going to do my best to give up this unhealthy hobby... it makes me tired and I have too much to live for today!
Climb the Mountain!