Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. And God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.
(Corrie Ten Boom)
I don't want to brag or anything, but I haven't worried about anything in the last ten minutes! Yes, I am making light of a much bigger problem, but it is good to laugh once in a while, isn't it? Worry indeed robs us of our strength - the strength we need in order to face whatever we are going through today. I used to worry a great deal about what tomorrow would bring - especially when I was working. Every new day meant new challenges - some I didn't want to face, others I actually enjoyed. As a kid, I had a terrible problem of nail biting. It was a nervous habit - done unconsciously, without real effort, and was quite difficult to stop.
Mom bought me one of those flat, smooth stones with the divot in the middle called a 'worry stone' to keep in my pocket. I was supposed to fetch it from my pocket, place it in my hand and run my thumb over it repeatedly every time I felt the urge to bite my nails. Let me just tell you right now - it didn't work. I used this foul-tasting iodine-based stuff you painted on your nails and cuticles - it didn't work. Mom would give my hands a gentle slap when she saw me gnawing the nails - it didn't work. Do you know what worked? Being in microbiology class one day, doing a culture from the stuff under my nails, and seeing just how many of those gross, scary looking microbes actually took up residence there! If I wasn't going to break the habit for any other reason, the 'fear' of ingesting one of those ugly things under the microscope actually helped me break the habit.
Was I biting my nails because I worried a bit? Maybe so, because I really was quite insecure as a child and teenager - even well into my adulthood. Was this insecurity based in anything real? Not at all - I just didn't like myself very well, didn't believe others would ever like me, and didn't know how to 'fix' that. If you looked at me today, you would never believe I grew up with all these insecurities. It is amazing what we can make our minds 'worry over' in our lifetime. Some of the silliest stuff comes to mind as I think back, as I am sure you have a few tales to tell, as well. Worry is very seldom based in fact. Even when I looked at the bank account as a single mom in nursing school, wondering how I was going to make each payment that was coming due, that worry was never based in fact. It was based in a lack of trust in the one who held the future squarely in HIS hands.
Sometimes our worries are legit - we have done something we shouldn't have done and now the consequences are coming back on us like a tornado about to suck the very life out of us. Even when they are 'reality-based', we don't have to settle into worry or anxiety over them - we can take them to Jesus, ask for his forgiveness, then listen carefully as he guides us through what to do next. We have all probably allowed way too many 'todays' to be taken from us because we were overly concerned with all those 'tomorrows' instead. It is time to break that cycle of letting tomorrow rob us of our peace today. Put your worries on HIS shoulders - test him with the burden you are carrying right now. I bet you will see that he makes your load lighter, the path you are to take a little clearer, and the 'way out' a bit easier than if you were to continue to follow that path of worry any further. Just sayin!
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