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How to Walk through Worry Well - Crosswalk Couples Devotional - September 11

How to Walk through Worry Well
By Jen Ferguson

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 6:33-34

I recently went through some old writings I had done when Craig was in the beginning stages of the return of his auto-immune disease. Reading through, I realized how timeless those words are, not because they are necessarily poignant, but because there always seems to be parts of life where there’s literally nothing we can do but to embrace the situation we are in and live through it. Just over a year ago, I wrote:

As I'm typing this, I'm sitting in a hard hospital chair while Craig recovers from a kidney biopsy. Medical machines beeping, nurses soft-soled shoes squeaking on the tile floor, the murmur of hushed voices. It's been a long stretch of days filled with unknowns.

One morning this week, I thought about how long we're going to continue on this roller coaster of despair. The past summer was filled with the loss of loved ones. And the start of Craig's health issues. One thing after the other and my continual question seemed to be: When will we catch a break!

I just longed for the season to be over.

When we found ourselves confronted with this round of health issues, I started to ask the same question. But mid-sentence, I stopped. In an act of somewhat pissed-off surrender, I said something like, "You know, what God? I'm just going to embrace it. Bring it all and I'm going to walk through it. Be in it. Sit in it. Wrestle with it. Help me learn whatever You want me to learn."

My conclusion is this: I am where I am and that is where Jesus is.

It seems as though wishing things away and trying to rush time is about as productive and effective as worrying about the future. All He wants me to deal with is what is right in front of me in this moment. I think about why I want so much to wish hard things away and much of it has to do with worry. Because in my heart of hearts, I know that God really does work all things for good for those who love Him. I know that He wastes nothing and that He uses everything to make us more like Him. I get the point of hard things.

But it's the unknown that gets me. I want to know what kind of strength I'm going to need, for whom I need to be strong, the plan of attack I'll take. Information is a way to protect myself and if I don't have the info, I feel out of control. And when this is all concerning my life-partner, I am even more desperate.

When something is wrong in my marriage, relationally or physically (or both), everything in me seeks to find a solution immediately because I feel off-kilter. The worry makes me slip into old behavior patterns. I get trapped in my own head-space. I start grasping at ways that make me feel some sense of security, even if it's not real or if it's only fleeting.

As part of my embracing the season, I want to delve into this affliction of worry. How do we walk it out well?

Because, it’s a human condition, isn’t it? To wonder about the unknown. To try to plan for all kinds of scenarios and results and situations.

Usually, I’d either shame myself for worrying or I’d put on the brave face. Be tough. Pretend like I was trusting God when I wasn’t really. Closet worrying.

I’ve spent time in Matthew 6 this week and particularly camped on verses 33-34. Jesus says not to worry about the future because today has enough trouble of its own. There, right there, is permission to embrace the hard circumstances of today. To continually talk to Jesus about what’s happening today. To be real and vulnerable and trusting all at the same time about the current situation.

Because you are where you are and that is where Jesus is.

Where Jesus Is

Jesus wants a relationship with us. When I hear, "Oh don't worry!" I often feel ashamed, as though my faith isn't strong enough. This makes me want to run from God because I feel I've disappointed Him with my reaction. But anything that evokes shame isn't from God. He longs for us to "in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present {our} requests" to Him.

I wonder, today, if you’re dealing with something in your marriage? You’ve tried to manipulate, rationalize, fix, or plan your way out of, and yet, you still find you’re in the same place? Your mind goes to five years down the road instead of what you can do — or how you can be — in the next five minutes.

See Jesus invites us to deal with the issues of the day with Him. "Not worrying" doesn't mean "just ignore the situation" or “just give up because nothing is going to change.” He helps us manage the amount of despair and overwhelm by showing us what's important for THIS day. He gives us peace to hold us in the waiting. He allows us to come as many times as we need (hello, persistent widow) because this forms the habit of seeking Him instead of seeking our own solutions, relying solely on our own power or perseverating on all the possible "what ifs." Daily, Jesus invites us to surrender all that is in our heart to Him.

Don't let your worry shame you. Jesus has so much compassion for you. He's confronted very hard things and needed His Daddy, too. Instead, let your worry compel you to wrestle, and then walk, with Jesus through it.

You've got lots of fellow sojourners on the same road.

Jen Ferguson is a wife, author, and speaker who is passionate about helping couples thrive in their marriages. She and her husband, Craig, have shared their own hard story in their book, Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple’s Journey to Freedom from Pornography and are also creators of the Marriage Matters Prayer Cards. They continue to help couples along in their journeys to freedom and intimacy at The {K}not Project. Jen is also a mama to two girls and three high-maintenance dogs, which is probably why she runs. A lot. Even in the Texas heat.

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