I've been thinking a lot lately about the topic of worry. Life is so full of opportunities to step into it, and sometimes to stay there for far too long.
It seems to come so naturally to project into the future and become concerned if we can’t see where things are going.
What will happen in our finances?
What if I can’t close that business deal?
What if the car breaks down?
What if my kid goes off the rails?
What if my kid is off the rails and never comes back?
What if my marriage doesn’t get better?
The things that we wake up thinking about at 3am. The things that make going to sleep in the first place difficult.
This past week I had a moment of choosing. There were two meetings on the books that I had the opportunity to be anxious about. There was stuff riding on those meetings. Future opportunity in one. Current challenge in the second. I chose well and laid them at the feet of Jesus before ever going to work. I didn’t worry. It was a small victory.
The kicker was that both meetings ended up being canceled! What a waste of energy it would have been to worry about them. I found myself extra grateful for having chosen well that morning. There are many mornings I have not.
We all only have so much energy for any given day, and to use it up worrying about the future and things we cannot control is sad. We've all done it. We all do it.
Ever had that moment when all you can do is look back at lost sleep or the hours you spent with a knot in your stomach and you realize "I can never get that time back."
We live in Chico, California, 20 minutes from Paradise. I wonder what the people in our county were worried about on November 7, 2018. And how irrelevant those worries became on November 8th as the Camp Fire roared through the town of Paradise, changing everything and refocusing all of our attention. Circumstances in life are like that. We simply do not know what tomorrow brings.
And so we are instructed by the One who does know.
Don’t worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will care for itself Jesus says in Matthew.
Be anxious for nothing Paul says in Philippians.
Oh ye of little faith, Jesus says to his disciples after they wake him up from a good sound nap he was taking in the back of a boat in a ridiculous storm. Don’t you care that we will drown? Peace, be still.
Life is challenging and full of storms. How do we navigate without anxiety?
My sixth grade teacher, Chris Peterson, definitely wanted her class of kids to begin to grasp this reality at an early age. On her wall she had large letters, hung vertically:
It. Will. All. Work. Out.
Right. Easier said than done. Sounds like a cute, trite saying, but what if things don't work out? What if the season I am in seems to go on forever and I can't see things getting any better? What if the pain never goes away?
How do I stop worrying? I can hear you asking.
I have two simple thoughts. They aren’t new or original. Just reminders.
1. Jesus has you.
FIrst, Jesus has you. The creator of all, master of the universe, calmer of the storms, provider of every need.
Jesus has you. He knows your thoughts, your challenges, your concerns. He invites you to trade your burdens for His light, easy yoke.
Jesus has you.
Second, Remember. Have you ever looked back on your life and seen seasons where you think “I have no idea how we got through that, but we did?” Moments you were certain you would drown, either from grief, or from a relationship gone wrong, or from a financial challenge you couldn’t see a way through?
You have come through really hard things and Jesus has been faithful. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He never promised it would be easy, but He did promise He would walk with you every step of the way.
Jesus is with you.
Or in the words of my sixth grade teacher. IWAWO. It. Will. All. Work. Out.