Lately I have found myself picking up an old habit that I was once so enslaved to for a season that I would make myself sick and the only treatment was a pill and being rocked by Mrs. D in the school office.
Worry will do that.
We freely talk about worry with a grown up word called anxiety. It’s a loaded topic and means different things to different people. But I am wondering something. Can we do this? As in, do Christ followers have freedom to worry? Worry has served as both my comfy couch at times and my jail cell at others, so I don’t ask this question lightly.
Philippians 4:6 starts out with this directive, “Do not be anxious about anything.” Thankfully with that directive we also have a an “instead.” Next we read, “but in everything by prayer and supplication (the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly) with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” And then, in the following verse, we learn of an exchange. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Don’t do THAT, instead do THIS, and in return, you’ll experience the Better Thing.
I remember sitting at that women’s conference several years ago and the main speaker told us that worrying tells God we don’t trust Him.
To be honest, that kinda makes me mad. I certainly don’t want to communicate a distrust OF God TO God. And, maybe it’s excused in my case. I have lived a life that warrants a lot of worry, if you ask me. Can I be excused from this command? Or, at least bend the rules a little? Worry deceives with this edgy comfort that makes me feel like I’m in some kind of control. If I can just think about it enough, then I still have a say.
I read a statement this week in regards to Philippians 4:6 that shook me out of this mental trap I’ve been in for a few weeks.
The author* wrote, “There will never be a circumstance in which you are obligated to worry.”
I can care about people and circumstances, but I don’t have to be a slave to mentally manifesting the outcomes for all. Now THIS is what I want to be free to do.
Also, that word “guard” as part of the exchange of worry for peace?
Guard: to guard, protect by a military guard, either to prevent hostile invasion, or to keep the inhabitants of a besieged city from flight
I will never have a circumstance in which I’m obligated to worry, but instead will pray over my concerns. And along the journey, the peace of God, albeit a thing I don’t understand but gladly accept, will protect my heart and mind from the hostile invasion of What If and What Will and What Now and What Next. Amen?
*Rest and War by Ben Stewart