So, I’m just going to come right out and say it: I worry a lot. A whole stinking lot. I mostly refer to it as stress, but stress isn’t always a bad thing. Stress can be a motivator to get things done or make necessary changes in life or situations; stress caused from worry, however, is always a bad thing. It can seriously ruin your life! I won’t go into too many details about the ways it affects us, because I’m sure most of us know: the sick feeling in your stomach, the sleepless nights, the lessened (or sometimes greatly increased) appetite, the way it distracts us or prevents us from going on with our life and doing what we need to do…
Well, Sunday at church, the pastor made this statement: Worrying is just meditating on the wrong things. Those words might as well have been on a sign with flashing lights! It was like getting the answer I needed before I’d gotten around to figuring out what questions I needed to ask. I’ve been thinking about that statement all week, and here’s what I’ve realized so far:
The first thing is this: We all have worries and concerns. It’s natural. There are things we legitimately need to be concerned about! But being concerned, and worrying are two different things. Being concerned is saying, “Okay, so this week I’m short $200 for bills.” That is clearly a problem. It creates an issue. Concern evolves into worry when we meditate on the problem to the point that it hinders us from seeking a rational solution.
That leads me to the second thing. In the pastor’s statement, he says,” Worrying is just meditating on the wrong things.” The Bible talks a lot about meditating (and praying). Psalmists talk about meditating on God’s Word and His Law, as well as the very nature of God. Philippians 4:8 also gives us a list of things to think about: “What ever 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.”
This week I’ve really been trying to get my thoughts under control. I know that at least I have been going about this not worrying thing all wrong. Yes, I read my Bible and pray, but it’s really hard to find time, right? I’m soooo busy. But the pastor’s words convicted me! ” Worrying is just meditating on the wrong things. Some of us are really good meditators, huh!” Of course, that statement got a good laugh from the congregation, but it was so eye opening and convicting to me! I realized that I’d have a whole lot of free time to meditate God’s promises if I’d replace my meditation on worries with the things in Phil. 4:8. It’s that simple, and that difficult. It’s a matter of breaking a habit.
The third thing this whole subject has brought me to came from a song lyric this morning. I don’t know the artist or the song, but the lyric is, “You are God, You are God, of all else I’m letting go.” Sometimes we need to give God elbow room. We don’t need to look for Him to come in and save the day in a certain way–how limiting is that? Our imagination is soooo much less than God’s. Worrying about the future or really anything out of our control is like worrying about how you’re going to land the plane when you’re not the pilot. It’s like wondering how you’re going to perform surgery on your cat when you’re not the veterinarian. Or how to build your house when you’re not the carpenter. It’s not our job. Not our responsibility. Don’t look for God to help in the way you expect Him to, just look for Him in general. I wonder if we’d see Him working sooner if we simply looked for Him at all instead of looking for Him in our expectations?
You are God, You are God, of all else I’m letting go.
I think this mindset will change our prayers and our lives.
Dear God, thank You so much for the blessings You give. I know you are my provider and I have faith that I will be able to pay all of my bills with the things that you provide.
Dear God, You are the Great Physician. I’m trusting You for healing of myself or for someone I love. I believe You can use the doctors as healing tools, as well as miracles. Let Your will be done.
Dear God, You are Alpha and Omega. You never change. You were there in the past, are here in the present, and You hold my future. I give it to You and believe that You have plans for me to prosper me and not hurt me. Your plans give hope and a future. Use me according to Your will and give me a willing and steadfast heart.
These prayers differ from my usual, “GODDDDDDD!!!! What is going onnnnn?!?!?! I’m so confused and frustrated and worried that everything is completely falling aparrrrtttt!!!!!” Although many times we are confused and get frustrated and maybe even are hurting during the times we should be seeking God the most, we must try to keep our focus on the One who has the power to do something about it. Everytime I try to fix my own problems, they get way, way, worse. I usually end up feeling embarrassed and silly and even more upset.
So. My challenge to myself and to the readers of this blog is this: “…take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5) Be aware of what you’re thinking about most. It’s true, we have busy schedules in life and may not have hours to sit and study God’s word. But take a verse or two or a passage, and meditate on it. Fill up the space in your mind that is usually occupied by worry with noble, pure, truthful, excellent thoughts. See what miracles and breakthroughs happen then! I can’t wait. 🙂