July 13, 2011
When Worry Makes Me Wonder
"She came to him and asked, 'Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!'" Luke 10:40b (NIV)
When life gets overwhelming, do you ever wonder if God notices everything you have going on — like how you're trying so hard to take care of everyone and everything? Staying up late to pay the bills, and feeling stretched between relationships at home and in ministry while caring for aging parents, commuting to work and carpooling kids?
Several years ago, I couldn't keep up with all of the commitments I'd made. I felt like I was suffocating under everything I needed to do. Slowly, I let worry weave it's way into my thoughts, making me wonder how I was going to do it all. I knew I should trust God more, but I was concerned that if I stopped worrying about everything and everybody He would too.
Eventually, I came to a point where I was exhausted and ready to resign from just about everything. I ran out of fuel. I didn't have enough energy to handle all of my roles, relationships and responsibilities.
I also ran out of faith. I started doubting my ability to manage my life, to hear God clearly and to do all I assumed He wanted me to do.
And all those worries that made me weary, also made me wonder. I wondered why God wasn't doing something to make life easier. I wondered if God noticed and cared about all I was doing for Him, and others.
One day I was reading my Bible and noticed how Martha's worries were making her weary, and making her wonder if Jesus cared that her sister left her in the kitchen to do all that work, all by herself.
And listen to how He responded: "'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'" (NIV)
So, how do we choose what is better? How do we let go of our worries and take hold of confident peace that assures us God notices and God cares?
First Peter 5:7 tells us: "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." (NLT)
The apostle Paul tells us the same and he tells us how: "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT)
It sounds so doable, but why is it so hard? I think it's because Satan whispers the opposite. He tells us, "Don't be calm about anything; instead worry about everything. Tell God what He should do. Then take control if He doesn't listen. And concerns that consume you will become like acid in your heart, eroding your confidence with worry and doubt!"
Instead of giving into the whispers of worry, spoken by the enemy, let's listen to God's promise for peace. When we feel overwhelmed by life this week, let's commit to ...
• Stop worrying — Press the pause button on our consuming concerns.
• Start praying — Talk to God about all we're doing. Ask if there's anything we need to cut back so we can seek Him as much as we serve Him, and others.
• Keep thanking God — Thank God for what He's done in the past and will do in the future. This helps us remember how good He is at being God.
Lord, when my concerns consume me, help me remember that You are with me, holding me by the hand and guiding me. I want to seek You as much as I serve You and others. Help me balance my life and give my worries to You, knowing with confidence that You care about me and are good at taking care of me! In Jesus' Name, Amen.
This devotion is taken in part from chapter 9 of Renee Swope's upcoming book: A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God's Promises. To order your copy, click here.
"Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you," 1 Peter 5:7.
Write your concerns on an index card and physically give them to Jesus. I have a table-top cross by my bedside where I lay my "concerns card." Maybe you could get one, too. Then, when you start worrying, go back and write more on your card and commit once again to cast your cares upon the Lord.
Are there concerns that are consuming me? Have my worries made me wonder if God notices and cares about the details in my life?
Psalm 138:7. "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me." (NIV)
© 2011 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.
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