The worry free life
Have ever had one of those days where your mind is on overdrive? One more thought added to the ones already in your head would literally make it explode. Between the mistakes of the past to the confusion of the present and the uncertainty of the future, it feels like you are on a NASCAR circuit, just circling round and round, everything else is put on pause, even things that you should be doing this very moment. Your energy is drained, can’t focus on anything else but these thoughts. What is going to happen to me, how do I get out of this, why did I do this or that, I don’t think I can make it, not sure what the end is going to be, how do I get this done or that done? I have been there and some days I still find myself there, where everything that was supposed to be achieved in a day gets suspended and I become a prisoner of these thoughts and before I know it the day is wasted, nothing achieved, been in the same spot. I think this is what is called “WORRY’, this constant pondering over stuff to the point where you are paralyzed and can’t function in your daily routine.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear”…Matthew 6:25
These are Jesus’ words but what do they mean exactly? What is that point where planning and being proactive crosses over to worry? Surely Jesus is not saying that we should not plan our lives or think about life, he categorically points out an aspect of life, and we have to even be careful not to take it too literal in the sense that eating and drinking and clothes is not all we worry about but they embody a type of focus, pursuit and passion that Jesus wants to open our eyes to with this instruction. So we can actually just parse off the what you eat or drink and just say “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life”. This I think is worth spending some time on and meditating on, so let’s do just that.
Anytime a statement starts with “therefore” as in the case of Jesus’ statement, I am very interested in the thought that precedes it. Here is what comes before the do not worry statement; “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money, therefore I tell you do not worry about your life…”. I think what Jesus is saying is that when we worry, we put ourselves under the lordship and authority of whatever it is we worry about and that thing now begins to control us and direct us. It affects our moods, alters our actions, it captures our attention and we lose focus of what the true value of our life really is. Think about this, if we had the power to change the things we worry about, then we wouldn’t really be worrying about it, we would just get up and go deal with whatever it is. This is the point that Jesus is stressing, If I already know where tomorrow’s breakfast is coming from, I wouldn’t be thinking about it, it’s when there is uncertainty as to how something will happen that worry takes the opportunity to attempt to rule over our minds and it is impossible to worry and be full of faith at the same time because ultimately it is what dominates the mind that ends up forging an action and the action taken will either point to a life of faith or of worry and fear.
So how do we avoid this pitfall, this trap that worry sets, lying in wait for a mind to capture and dominate? Let us look at the Message translation of Philippians 4:6-7
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life….MSG
I’d also like to use the NIV translation as well, put these two translations together to make the final point.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus…NIV
So, here is the truth we need to learn; this situation is clearly out of your control, the time you are spending worrying about it, how about you pray to God, the one who has power over any situation, it is much better when you hand that situation over to him. The moment you do, the first thing that he does for you is to release your mind from the captivity of worry and replace worry with peace, you will be able to see and think clearer so you can understand that God is working things for you, this is the thought that should hold and overwhelm your mind. This I believe is the key to living a worry free life.