Thursday, April 10, 2014

Worry Much?

It's one of those rare moments where I have the house entirely to myself and nothing pressing that I have to be doing. Oh, of course there's an ongoing list of things I COULD be doing. But you know how that goes. So, I thought I'd take a few moments to write a new post:

Are you a worrier? Apparently, I am. I say apparently because it really does come as a shock to me that I'm a worrier. I would never have described myself that way. I'm pretty laid back. A bit of a planner. But definitely not a Type A personality or anything. I feel like a glass half full kind of girl. I just wouldn't say I'm a worrier. But God is changing my mind on that one.

You see, as the kids grow and life's demands increase (or just change) - it seems that I always have something that is nagging on my mind. Something I'm "mulling over" or "processing." I've also noticed that - along with my mulling and processing - there seems to be this constant nervousness in the pit of my stomach. Well - guess what, ladies and gentlemen, that is also known as worry. Or anxiety. Or maybe even: fear. Or (worse yet): lack of faith.

Ouch. That one hurts. But...it's true.

God has tugged at my heart about this idea before. And, it's usually been when I'm walking through one of the more obviously stressful periods of time. But this time, it's not that there's some big thing triggering these feelings. It's just life. Normal, everyday life stressors: homeschooling Mom guilt (you other homeschoolers out there know EXACTLY what I'm talking about), financial worries, homeowner stuff, parent stuff, normal adult stuff. You know - life.

I can't keep "surviving" until the next thing. That doesn't work anymore. The next thing is just another new thing to have anxiety about. I mean, come on. This is 2014. We're Christian homeschoolers trying to raise three kids in this big, scary world. It's not a job for wimps! After all, Jesus did warn us: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

As Christians, we're not guaranteed any kind of easier life. The difference is - we're not in it alone.

This week, God has reminded me once again of the power of prayer. In fact, it's our prayer life that determines how well we do on the worry front. I'm certain of it. Not just the praying of the prayers - but the trusting in advance that God's got it all under control.

Earlier this week Dave sent me an e-mail from work (he can't call me during the day, but he can e-mail me) saying that it was an uncomfortable & chaotic day. I knew right away what he meant. He's got a couple challenging employees. One of them must have been up to something. So I immediately prayed that God would turn Dave's uncomfortable & chaotic day into one of peace & productivity. Less than two hours later, Dave e-mailed me back "I just had a 20-minute very pleasant conversation with (     ) at the copy machine. It was so out of the ordinary!". I smiled. Thank you, Lord.

I asked. I believed He'd answer. And He did. Almost instantaneously. See, that's our Lord. He loves even the most insignificant parts of our lives. He cares for every detail. We just have to believe that He does.

Here's what I know about worry: it comes from the enemy. And if it comes from the enemy, we know it's full of lies. And if we know it's full of lies, we just need to believe God's Truths. And trust Him to handle even the most minute little stressor of our days.

I love this promise from God's Word: (from the Message) “Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do." John 14:11-14

Here's part of what I hear when I read that: if we are asking God to do something in our lives that makes us more like who He wants us to be - He'll always say yes.

Does God want us to be less of a worrier and more of a truster in Him? Yep. Done.

I mean - it really can be that easy! Does it mean we ask once and we never worry again? No. There is effort on our part.

Remember this verse: 2 Corinthians 10:5 ~ We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

WE take every thought captive. What kind of verb is take? An action verb. Who's doing the action? We are. That's our job in all this. Catch ourselves in the act of worrying. Keep tabs on what we're thinking about. If any of it hints at any amount of worry or anxiety - we call it for what it is: Satan's lie. We right then ask God to help us to lay that worry down at His feet and to trust that He's got it all under control. We believe Him. We move on.

I don't want my thought life to be in a constant state of worry. As we all know - there's no limit to the things we could worry about!

Did you ever consider that "being IN this world but not OF this world" is telling us something of our thought life too? And particularly our level of worry? The world doesn't have our Father God in control of their lives. I mean, as much as we might fail at turning our worries over to Him - at least we Christians know that this life isn't all up to us. So, I imagine that if our level of worry ever mirrors that of a non-believer - that's a big fail on our ends. We're not any different than the world? That's not what God had in mind.

While Dave and I were scanning slides onto our computer, we kept passing the little slide tray (for lack of a better name) back and forth. I would put new slides in it. He'd scan them. I'd fill up the other one. We'd switch off. He'd hand me a scanned one, I'd take that and hand him a new one. (You get the idea.) Well, this visual struck me this morning as I was contemplating the whole worry concept. Hanging onto our worries after we've prayed about them is like me handing Dave the new tray of slides but not letting go of it once he had it in his hand. I mean, I can offer him that new tray all I want. But if I'm not going to take my hand off it, he's never going to get it to scan into the computer. We'll never move onto a new set of slides. The slideshow will never get done. The finished project will never happen.

Our lives are a slideshow in the making. I imagine that our ability to live the full life God has in store for us is nearly 100% dependent upon our ability to let go of our worries. This life is sure not going to stop throwing them our way. There's an abundant life out there just waiting for us. We can never fully receive it if we've got a handful of worries. How much better instead if we spend our days excited about how God's going to reveal Himself to us that day. Search for Him in the middle of our daily mess. He's there. And He'll show up every time we ask.

This is definitely not a "one and done" kind of choice. Every morning we're faced with a new day and a new set of stressors. We can choose to strengthen our trust muscles - or be knocked down by the weaknesses of our faith. If stress, worry, anxiety (or whatever name you want to give it) are a regular part of your life - I pray you'll be encouraged to listen to God's leading in this area. Spend some time searching God's Word for verses that speak to your heart on this issue. Write them on notecards. Post them all over your house. Fill your mind with God's Truth - and tell the enemy to take his worries and hit the road (Jack). :-)