Slipping Back to Pick Up Our Worries –
It’s morning and you’ve just opened your groggy eyes with thoughts of a fresh start. You see your problem of worry and you know how you should deal with it. You kneel beside your bed and empty every worry from your mind, handing it over to your heavenly Father. Then you jump up and start the day, worry free – perhaps a smile brightens your face. The day wears on and you find your mind wandering to the things you have to do, the places you have to go and the people in your life. Ever so slowly you slip back and pick up one of the worries that you handed over this morning. By the end of the day you’re back where you started – tired, stressed, and exhausted from the load that you’re carrying. Perhaps this hasn’t ever happened to you and you can’t relate, but let me tell you, it’s frustrating to say the least.
Even if we’ve learned how to deal with our worry, anxiety and fear, it doesn’t mean the battle is over. Getting ourselves into the mindset of trust – rather than worry – is a constant process that takes time and patience. Becoming frustrated or discouraged is so incredibly easy to do as we look at our struggles from day to day. We may even doubt our faith and wonder how a person with such conflict in their thoughts can be a true Christian.
“Sometimes you think that you are not a Christian when you have trouble, but I should very much doubt whether you are a Christian at all if you did not have trouble.” -Corrie ten Boom
God doesn’t expect you to be perfect in everything you do, but He does expect you to strive after perfection and that’s a fight against your own sin nature. It is not the fact that we mess up, but the fact that we realize our mistakes, learn from them and move on.
From Mistakes to Opportunities –
God has this amazing ability to take our mistakes and use them for His glory.
“We will see more and more that we are chosen not because of our ability, but because of His power that will be demonstrated in our not being able.”
Don’t get discouraged! When we are faithless, still He remains faithful and through our struggles He can teach us the lessons we need to learn. However, these lessons are much easier learned if we are looking for them. People that look for a problem in their situation and people that look for an opportunity in their situation, both find what they are looking for. Are you looking at your situation for the opportunities it contains or are you simply seeing the problems in it?
One Day at a Time –
This battle with worry may very well last our whole lives. Honestly, that’s discouraging to think about, but do not quit now as you look at this seemingly endless cycle. Life comes one day at a time – do not carry tomorrow’s burdens along with today’s. Remember that you do not face this battle alone – your strength is in the Lord.
The Change That Comes With Trust –
When we surrender our worries to the hands of God it will change the way that we see our situation. As I said before, worry distracts us from doing the work of God. When we are at peace with the problems in our lives we are less likely to miss our opportunities to share God’s love with others.
I have always marveled at the peace of missionaries that minister in dangerous places. I wonder how they can concentrate on sharing the gospel, when the people around them are mocking and threatening them. How can they see the opportunities to tell of God’s love, when their food is scarce and their money is tight? Aren’t they worried they won’t be provided for? Aren’t they fearful of the danger they’re in? I do not doubt that these people may get caught up in worrying at some point or another (we’re all human, after all), but God has laid a burden on their hearts to share His word and they know that – as Hudson Taylor said – “God’s work, done in God’s way, will never lack God’s supply.” With the knowledge that they are serving God, they have peace – even in the worst of storms – and they are able to take advantage of each opportunity to serve Him more.
Peace Comes Through Prayer –
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7
Often we underestimate the value of prayer. It is extremely important that we take time to be by ourselves and talk to God and just as important that we take time to pray with others and ask them to pray for us. However, we get the idea that God only wants us to pray about the things that matter most. This is not true; if a worry is too small to be turned into a prayer it is too small to be a worry. In other words, if you are truly worried about it, take it to God. The Lord knows us – He knows our thoughts, our words, our actions. God has been providing for and protecting people since the beginning, do you think you are any exception? When we trust God with all of our worry, anxiety and fear, that is when we find that peace that surpasses all understanding.
When God Answers “No” –
The tears slipped down my face unchecked and I begged for the Lord to take away an illness that had troubled me for several months. This hadn’t been the first time I had brought this request to my Father, but now it is months later and, honestly, I still don’t feel well. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether the Lord is simply saying, “wait” or whether He’s truly saying, “no.” However, now I’ve learned to pray a different prayer. I simply ask God to help me find an opportunity in this trouble to grow closer to Him and to be a display of His glory. I’m not sure when or if this illness will leave me. I know that the Lord is capable of taking it away, but I also know that He loves me and does what is best for me. It is astounding all of the things you can learn in the space of six months and just when I think I’ve learned enough, I realize there are so many more lessons awaiting my attention. My point of sharing this with you is that we only see our situation right at this moment and we cannot see our future. We’re anxious to be rid of the things that trouble us today, but God sees our future and He knows what we need for the road ahead. Instead of wondering why the Lord is allowing this pain, trust that He knows best and always remember to look for opportunities in this struggle.
“So often we pray and then fret anxiously, waiting for God to hurry up and do something. All the while God is waiting for us to calm down, so He can do something through us.” -Corrie ten Boom
It really is hard when God answers “no” to our prayers, but He doesn’t do it out of spite or personal pleasure. When the Lord denies our requests it is because He knows our needs and is preparing our hearts to serve Him better.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” -Proverbs 3:5-6
I Surrender All –
When we surrender our worries and begin to trust God with all of our lives, then our hearts and minds can completely focus on glorifying Him. Only the Lord is capable of transforming our fear into faith, our anxiety into adoration, and our worry into worship.