25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry"about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them."Are you not much more valuable than they?"27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor" was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?"31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them." 33 But seek first his kingdom"and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:25-33
As we continue on in our series on Thanks Giving I invite you to consider those things which rob you of thankfulness. One of the big gratitude busters is worry. Worry is a sneaky sin which creeps in to interrupt our trust in God. Almost all of us struggle with worried thoughts and behaviors. To worry is to spent time thinking about "what will happen if... we run out of money, I don't find a new job, my rent goes up, our child gets in trouble, the test comes back positive..." To worry is a natural response to things which scare us or threaten us. That doesn't mean it is good for us. My grandmother called worrying "stirring the pot". She said you can stir and stir and stir and unless you put something new into it the only thing that will happen is that what's in there will get thicker. When we worry about things in our life they tend to get "thicker". As we worry our thoughts transition from rational and functional to emotional and dysfunctional. As we worry the problem gets exasperated by our endless lists of "what ifs" until our body experiences the chemical reactions of stress and dis health. Wow... just writing about worrying is making me exhausted.
Jesus invites us to STOP worrying and he provides the means for that worry to melt away. Re-read the passage on worry and see if you can find these three ways to replace worry with faith:
1. Remember God's provision! Consider all the ways God has provided for you in the past. Look around at the natural world to reinforce the feeling of God's protection and care.
2. Remember God knows all your needs and God invites you to ask Him for whatever you want. Prayer is a powerful way to invite the presence of God into your moments of need and fear. Determining what you actually need, and asking God for that thing will give clarity to your situation.
3. Refocus on the Kingdom. Place your worry in the context of God's mission in the world. He cares about every hair on your head, but that doesn't mean you need to worry about going bald (easy for me to say right!). Your baldness will not impact God's eternal purposes. In the Kingdom of Heaven we will all have great hair, or we won't, and we won't care!
Consider carefully today what you are worried about. Discuss this with your family, or make a list that you can revisit a few times today. Really think deeply, "what am I worrying about?" Apply the three ideas above to the worries on your list. Jesus came to set us free from everything which prevents us from living in full surrender to God. Invite God's power to help you overcome the worries which defeat or distort your relationship with God and others.