My mother takes a month-long trip to England each year to visit friends, family, and country. My father doesn’t go, but he always seems to manage–every year–to give her some cause for concern at his running the house in her absence. It’s usually something small, like the time of day the animals are fed or what day the trash bins go out or something like that, but it seems to make my mother worry, if only a bit.
One year I finally asked him why on Earth he makes her worry so over things he could assure her would be well in hand. And his answer surprised me.
“She’s going to worry about something. Might as well make it something small.”
I guess that makes sense. It’s almost a sweet act of love, if you think about it, I guess…
But I was suddenly reminded of it this week as I headed out to do a craft session at a conference. I had prepared as well as I could, done a trial run with a group of girlfriends, gathered and prepared ample supplies, and set out in plenty of time.
I’d had an anxiety dream a few days before in which I was ill-prepared and forgot supplies and disappointed the conference host, etc. And it was then that I had to drive a stake down declaring [once again] that worry is not what I am made for.
As a Christ-follower, the choice for me is not between a greater or lesser worry. No, the choice is to cast my anxieties on Him… Or to carry them myself.
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
So as I turned my car onto the main road leading to the event venue and heard a pop, I was well-prepared.
It sounded like a nail puncturing my tire, which I knew could quickly result in a flat tire.
“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22).
But rather than any shot of panic or even remote concern course through me, I just had to laugh. Not a “ha, typical” sarcastic laugh of I knew something would go wrong, but a happy chuckle, reminded of the love my Father has for me.
You see by showing me something small (that I could have worried about), He reminded me of the futility of worrying at all: that no matter how well-prepared a person is, the outcome of a situation is ultimately in His capable and loving hands. And He is faithful.
Luke offers a good word of advice about worry in Philippians 4:6 (NLT):
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”
So instead of attempting to replace one worry with a supposedly lesser one (which doesn’t really work to eliminate stress, actually, after all), replace that worry with something productive; replace it with prayer. Tell God what you need (P.S. He already knows, but He loves to hear it from the hearts and mouths of his children). And remember all the times He has “come through” for you before!
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But 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” (Matthew 6:25-34).
Not only does God not want us worrying, just for practical reasons (you know, like because it’s futile), but He also doesn’t want us to be burdened with worry because it’s not His heart for His children.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him” (Matthew 7:9-11).
So what worry might God want you replace today with prayer and thanksgiving?
[P.S. My tire didn’t go flat and the conference went great. Go fig!]