Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:5-7).
Worry is a joy-stealer. This week in our study, Lorraine Hill has been talking about how anxiety interferes with our relationship with God. In order to release our anxiety, we must trust God, believe in His power and bathe ourselves in prayer. Today’s lesson focuses on the importance of prayer. Through prayer we bring our concerns to God. There is relief when God alleviates our problems; but more importantly, with prayer, there can be relief when He does not. When we pray God can change our circumstances or He can change our hearts. Either way, we are in a better place afterward.
Lorraine Hill says that when we are not in a better emotional place after prayer, it is because we are not truly trusting all of our concerns to God. Yes, often we give something to God in prayer…and then take it back. This is one of those upside-down logic things that just fascinates me: we hate to be anxious, yet some part of us feels that we are supposed to worry. Worry is a cultural norm. There is a contingent of people who truly live by the words to the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!”. But for the rest of us, somewhere along the road we learned that if you truly care about something, you will worry about it. In fact, not worrying equals not caring. Now what kind of wife would not worry about her husband? What kind of mother would not worry about her children? When there is a big event on the horizon, good or bad, maybe it is an oversight on our part, not to worry? Maybe if I worry about something, if I diligently pay the price of dread, I have paid my dues? Maybe to have good things in our lives, the price we must pay is a little healthy worry? Okay, now some of you are saying, “You are just plain crazy, lady!” And some of you are saying, “Doesn’t everyone, whether they admit it or not, think that way?”. For the first group, maybe a little crazy, but in a good way usually ;). For the second group, no, not everyone feels that way, and you don’t have to either.
So here I am going to introduce an idea I have been kicking around for a few years now. One day I would love to write a book about it…but for now I will just start with an introduction. Don’t believe everything you hear (not groundbreaking, but stay with me). Many, many things that we take for “normal” or even “healthy” are spiritually unsound. The World teaches one view, and we get it from so many different angles it starts to sound like the truth. But what the World teaches is a lie. The real Truth usually tells us a different story. As I said, this topic is big enough for a book so we will stick with a bit about anxiety for now. The World says,”Worry is an adaptive survival function: we use our imaginations to anticipate potential dangers, then develop ways to avoid them. Worry helps keep our loved ones and ourselves alive” – Dr. Martin Rossman, M.D. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27). The World says, “Problems never solve themselves: You need to worry in a healthy way and you will find a solution. Just as we have to focus on our happiness and our family and our health, we also need to focus on our problems” – RelaxFocusSucceed.com. Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:25, 27, 33-34) AND “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt 11:28-30 AND “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Christian living is illogical. It turns what the World teaches upside down. But that is a good thing. “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Is 55:8-9). So…cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7) – just don’t try to hold on to any little bit of it, or to take it back…rather do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:6-7).
JustaGirl…just like you