Worry: From 'What If?' to Carefree
- 2007 13 Jun
Our Worry Lives
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you;
not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your hearts be troubled,
neither let them be afraid."
Personal problems worry us. Surrounded by decisions and pressures, we often approach a point of desperation. “What if?” is the focus of our worries. What if the job ends? What if my marriage folds? What if violence strikes our family? What if a nervous breakdown…?
Feelings of inadequacy worry us. These take their toll in our “worry lives.” Anxieties about what other people think of us, self-accusation for our mistakes, unwelcome memories, shameful impulses, uncertainties and confusions — all these make us worry. Disgust and despair plague us much too frequently.
Some seek escape from their worries in excitement — keep going at a breakneck pace so no time remains to worry. Some follow the route of alcohol — dull the senses so worry can’t break through. Still others turn to sedatives to tide them over until things take a turn for the better.
What is the answer to people’s worry fixation? Often we forget that God cares for us. The Apostle John tells us Christ’s answer: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Heavenly Father, help me not to worry, but realize that you care for my problems as well as for my blessings. Fill me with your promised peace today. Amen.
In the Center
And a great storm of wind arose,
and the waves beat into the boat,
so that the boat was already filling.
But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion;
and they woke him and said to him,
"Teacher, do you not care if we perish?"
Mark 4:37, 38
The storm arose without warning, as it often does on the Sea of Galilee. The disciples in their small boat felt the waves and the wind and feared for their lives. They found themselves in the center of the storm and unable to do anything.
We’re often like that. We find ourselves held captive in the center of our problems. And like the disciples, we worry. For us, the clutter of confusion makes us problem centered and we see only gloom, storms, and certain failure ahead of us.
The lesson for us is the same lesson as for the disciples in the boat: turn to the Person in the center.
Like those early followers, we’re not alone in the midst of the storm. Christ is in the center. He’s with us to work out ways to overcome our problems instead of sitting and crying out, “God, don’t you care that I perish from worry and problems?”
With Christ we have the potential power to cope with our worries. We hold the key to the biggest storms that lash against us. We do it the same way those disciples did: calling on Jesus Christ. He’s the One who can deliver us from worries and threatening doom.
Cast all your cares on God; that anchor holds.
Is He not yonder in those uttermost
Parts of the morning? If I flee to these,
Can I go from Him? And the sea is His,
The sea is His; He made it.
--Alfred, Lord Tennyson (from Enoch Arden)
Let’s remember and then quietly say thanks to him for past deliverances. As we thank him for past help, we can also ask for help in our present situation.
Holy Lord, remain the center of my life today and push aside every storm that threatens me because I am yours. Amen.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.
Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.”
“What am I going to do when…?” We can each finish the question with our own current worry about the future. This job or that one? Live in this city or that one? Finance the kids’ education or make them work? “What will I do when these future problems arise?”
Jesus said to put off worrying about tomorrow until tomorrow (and the adage says, “Tomorrow never comes”). We need to stop and think: how often do we worry about the things happening today? Usually the daily problems are worked out as we go along. Tomorrow’s catastrophes create our greatest trials.
Day-by-day living by asking Christ’s help can give carefree days. The more we rely on the Lord for the little daily problems, the less we’ll have to worry about tomorrow.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said it this way:
Some of your hurts you have cured,
And the sharpest you still have survived,
But what torments of grief you endured
From evils that never arrived!
There are two days in the week about which and upon which I never worry.
Two carefree days, kept sacredly free from fear and apprehension.
One of these days is Yesterday…
And the other day I do not worry about is Tomorrow.
Robert Jones Burdette (from The Golden Day)
With the Lord’s help, we keep those two sacred days always carefree.
Heavenly Father, free me from the burden of yesterday and don’t let me take on tomorrow’s task. Keep me carefree as I seek to make my life your life. Amen.
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Cecil Murphey has written more than one hundred books on a variety of topics with an emphasis on Spiritual Growth, Christian Living, Caregiving, and Heaven. He enjoys preaching in churches and speaking and teaching at conferences around the world. To book Cecil for your next event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Material from Mr. Murphey's Devotions for Worriers used by permission of the author.