“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)
Isn’t that amazing?! God tells us NOT to worry: to graciously pray and let go of those concerns to receive God’s peace. How crazy of an idea, right?? In this fast-paced modern day of people trying to be robots it seems like the list of worries is never-ending. Worrying about the future; retirement and savings; the goals that you’ve set; whether those are the right goals; and whether you’re on the fast track path to get there and show just how awesome you are. It could be as menial as worrying about what to wear a given day, if you have enough food or money to eat, remembering whether you walked your dog in the morning or not… Not that that’s ever happened before… (My dog was fine, I walked him again just in case!)
The smaller worries have never really bothered me, thankfully. Although I am very close to some who do struggle terribly with being anxious about things that may seem small to others. When I talk about anxiety or being anxious I am not talking about the serious form that is diagnosed by a professional. That is a different matter altogether. I’m referring to the ‘anxiety’ that is so commonly used almost as a flag to show: “Hey this is my life so I need to be in control of everything!” But the minute that control begins to slide away from them, the anxiety flies through the roof. So I’m going to give away a little secret… No one has complete control of their life!! Only God has the control and knowledge of all of the things moving and happening in your life at any given moment. Isn’t that wonderful?!
I’m sure that some of you hate this, but it happens! My heart breaks when someone dear to me struggles with truly giving control over to God, even on the little things in our lives.
Even though I’ve never dealt with worry about smaller things in my life, I have a Type-A personality and, thus, like to plan. This has gotten me in trouble on more than one occasion though. There was a time when I had the next 5 years of my life planned out. And guess what? When one of the steps in my 5-year plan fell through, I fell apart. I mean literally felt like my life had crumbled to pieces and that it was a complete failure that had no purpose anymore… It was a dark place, and to be shamelessly honest it was not a one-time occurrence.
But God doesn’t leave us. He has plans laid out for us that we could not even comprehend. Most of them we completely skip over without a second glance. I don’t know how many times I’m sure God tried to send me this message, but one day a few years ago I came across a verse. It wasn’t a verse that was new to me, but it knocked the wind out of my chest and brought tears to my eyes reading it and realizing the heavy truth…
“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”” Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
With the words “… Be still, and know that I am God…” I saw all of my sinful pride and control as clear as writing on a wall. I asked for forgiveness through Jesus and cast my plans and control onto God. It felt as though a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
Since then, I work (yes, it takes me some effort) to reign in my life planning urges. I had a coworker ask me what I was thinking about doing with my career in the next 5 years. When I said I didn’t know, it was like I said that the aliens were attacking. They just didn’t get it. It was astonishing to watch as they actually started to stress and worry for me! I’m sure it was coming from nice intentions but it was so different watching that worry from the outside looking in.
It looked so stressful!! How awful it must be to be so centered around plans and control that even the lack of those things for another person in their own life causes anxiety. I ended up being the one to reassure them that I was fine and happy and there was nothing to worry about. I had made the decision to choose God’s peace and continue to actively make that decision day in and day out.
It occurred to me, what if we all choose peace? What if we all gave our lives to God’s will and followed His plans that He plants in our hearts? What miracles could come! God gave us free will and has made it each of our decisions to choose Him over this world. None of us are perfect so when I start to feel anxious or catch myself worrying about things in my life, I remind myself to “Be still” and praise God. Because when I remember that He’s the one in the driver’s seat, I am comforted and know that everything will be alright.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NKJV)