I have been wrestling with worry this week! This past weekend I was able to speak with numerous friends who were asking about the book I am writing. The question “So what’s next?” kept coming up in every conversation. Every time I heard that question I responded with, “I don’t know, God has me right here in this moment and I am going to enjoy it.” “I can’t worry about what is ahead of me, but all I can do is enjoy today and take steps of trust in to what God has for me next.” I was walking in total peace this weekend and through the beginning of the week…until about Wednesday.
I began working on the last chapter of my book! Woo-Hoo!!! I was filled with so much joy and excitement to finally get to this point! I was worshiping God and rejoicing in what God has done in my life and the victory He has given me! It was wonderful! So when I read my “Jesus Calling” on Wednesday it began with using Matthew 6:34 “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.” The author Sarah Young then pointed out that Matthew 6:34 is a commandment not a suggestion! I was blown away by her insight. I have always read this verse and treated it like it was a suggestion. Yet Jesus does not say, “It would be beneficial if you didn’t worry too much,” or “Oh go ahead and worry, you’ll figure it out.” Thank goodness this is not Jesus response! Instead Jesus commands us not to worry.
I loved the new insight I learned and resolved that the next time I was tempted to worry I would think of the Matthew 6:34 command! By mid morning on Wednesday the new insight I had learned was put to the test. To make a long story short, I began to read articles and listen to words that shook my confidence about getting my book published. I am sure there was probably good advice in the midst of the articles and interviews but the enemy magnified my weaknesses and that is all I could see. I began to worry and stress about things like, “What if my book title is horrible?” “What if I make a bad selection on a book cover design?” “What if nobody reads my book?” “What if I botch the marketing of my book?” Each of these worries are coming off of the greatest worry of mine, “What if I fail?”
I feel like each of you can relate with me on this. At some point in your life you have stressed and worried over the question “What if I fail?” Although your worry may be camouflaged and sound something like, “What if I get laid off?” Or “What if I don’t pass this exam?” Or “What if the biopsy comes back positive for cancer?” Or “What if I can’t provide enough for my family?” etc. The truth is these are all just possibilities. Yes- they could happen but don’t forget they also could not happen. When we worry we are trying to look into the future and predict what is going to happen. When really we have no power to see the future. Predicting the future is not our job. Regardless, with each question we are tempted to walk in worry. Worry paralyzes us, it gives us tunnel vision, limiting our perspectives. When we worry the only thing we can see is the negative outcome. When the reality is there are numerous outcomes!
In Psalm 62 David expresses his unshakable faith in God. David has men who are trying to kill him, he has every opportunity to worry and a good reason to worry. Yet, this is his response, “I stand silently to listen for the One I love, waiting as long as it takes for the Lord to rescue me… For He alone is my Safe Place, His wrap-around presence always protects me, As my Champion Defender; There’s no risk of failure with God! So why would I let worry paralyze me..” (The Passion Translation)
There is no risk of failure with God! How could David say those words? At that- how could David stand silently waiting? Because God has proven to David that He can be trusted! God is Davids rock. David clings to God with everything he has. You don’t see David trying to manipulate and control the outcome. Time and time again God has come to David’s rescue. There was no need for David to sink into a pit of despair. He know’s God’s got His back. Even if the outcome was not what he expected David knew God was going to take care of him. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” David just took God at His word!
God desires for you and me to live an abundant life. A life filled with peace even in the midst of chaos. A life filled with joy not worry. A life with a hope and a future. A life of confident trust in Him, regardless of how shaky life seems. Not a life that is drained and controlled by worry.
Even so, the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy. The enemy works best using smoke and mirrors. The enemy works to rob us of our peace and joy using distorted images. You can also come to expect that when you are walking intimately with God that then enemy is going to try even harder to rob you of your joy and peace. The question is, “Will you let him?” That is why “Do not worry about tomorrow,” is a command not a suggestion. I know it is hard to do, but walking in peace requires us to put all of our trust in God. We cannot try to control the future, but what we can control is our response to the future! Fix your eyes on God today. Make the resolve in your heart that you are going to stand up and kick worry in the face and trust God’s plan for the future. God is the only one that can see the future, so why not trust His plans!
David later says in verse 8 of Psalm 62, “…Trust only in God every moment! Tell Him all your troubles and pour out your heart-longings to Him. Believe me when I tell you- He will help you!” (The Passion Translation)
When worry comes along cling to God our rock who is unshakable. God is not going to let go of you and me. He has got a firm grasp on us that cannot be pried open! Tell God your worries and then put all of your trust to God and His plans. Worship Him and magnify His faithfulness so that you can begin to walk in peace! That’s what I am doing today, and I feel so much better!