Tuesday, August 25, 2015

From Fractured Lives to Fullness in Christ: Part 4

Scenario #2: “I’m worried about everything.”

            My friend, Jodi, is not alone. Worry is pervasive in our society. I understand. Every time I turned the TV on I become anxious. Child abducted. Police Officer shot down. ISIS. Local business closes. Racial unrest escalates. Families in crisis. Job security at all-time low.

            This is the short list.

Across the world people worry, but when it comes into our lives worry has the potential to get deep-seeded—it follows us throughout our day, dictates our mood, robs us of sleep, and lounges on our shoulders. Feeling anxious about something is unpleasant and in extreme conditions can lead to health issues and death.

            Jesus tells us that we cannot handle everything. Some things are just beyond our ability to change. “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” Therefore, worrying is a choice you make about the circumstances you find yourself in.

            My father-in-law used to say, “Worrying is as useful as sleeves in a vest.” He was right. Worry wrings us out emotionally. What’s the purpose?

Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere.
Worry is the misuse of your God-given imagination.
Worry is an old man with bended head, carrying a load of feathers which he thinks are lead.

            Matthew 6:33-34 states, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

            Each day has enough trouble of its own. Isn’t that the truth?

            Sometimes when we sit in the pit of worry, we begin drawing out all the other things in life that are seemingly going sour. Worry supersaturates itself until we are too waterlogged to see the surface of reason.

                        Think about this . . .How many times in your life have you worried about something, lost sleep, and eaten a sleeve of Tums only to have everything work out on its own? Please someone give me an AMEN over that one!!!

            Worry cripples the mind, choking out the Word of God, leaving us unfruitful and unsatisfied.

Jodi had a lot on her. No one would deny that. She felt the burden of her family’s welfare. “I’m so worried. We’re sinking, and I feel it’s all my fault.”

 “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
~Corrie ten Boom


            We all do it. But what happened during that luncheon with Jodi changed how I view worry.

            Just as Jodi finished her confession to me, a coworker of hers came by and said, “I’m concerned about John’s reaction to the sales report. Let’s get a team together and brainstorm some ideas to present to him at next week’s meeting”

            We sat silent a few minutes before Jodi asked, “Did you hear him?”

            Not knowing where she was going, I crinkled my face and nodded.

            “He used the word concern instead of worry. I don’t know about you but the word concern just lightened my load and opened up a world of possibilities.”

            I’m still in the confused zone, but her face began to glow. I could almost see her mind twirling in the field of feasibility.

            “Okay, talk. What are you thinking?”

            Her change was contagious. “I’m thinking promotion instead of getting fired!”

            Before I could answer, Jodi picked up her pocketbook, hugged my neck, and left. As I sat there, I kept pondering the words worry and concern. The difference in feel and usage was tremendous. Jodi felt empowered rather than defeated. Not all of us will rally this effectively, but even a small change of thought opens up new options.

            Never forget there is power in words. If we have a word that seems to tie us into an emotional stranglehold, then let’s replace it with a word that is more manageable. If our initial reaction isn’t desperation then it’s easier to stop and process the situation.

            Today when I begin down the “worry” road, I quickly retrieve the word and express my concern. And it’s true . . . being concerned keeps us from total ownership; so, we don’t have to beat ourselves up for everything that goes wrong. Concern distances you just enough to begin to see things more clearly. It’s easier to talk to God about what’s going on and easier to give it over in prayer. Even the waiting becomes more doable.

“It is certainly right to be concerned about things which are your responsibility and over which you exercise control. God expects us to be responsible, to be concerned that we follow through on what is ours to do. But worry is concerning yourself about things over which you have no control. Worrying is allowing care and concern to escalate beyond the realm of responsibility and into the realm in which you have no authority or control—God’s realm. And that kind of concern, which is worry, is sin.” Dr. David Jeremiah

            What’s worrying you today?
            What happens when you exchange the word worry with the word concern?
            Does it make it easier to take it to Jesus and give up control and ownership? Does it open up possibilities rather than erecting walls?

God bless you always!

1 comment:

  1. You bet on word choices! I switched from using worry to concern abt 4 yrs ago when dealing w my mother's Alzheimers. Makes a huge difference in your thinking! We can worry til the cows come home but it won't get them home! "Cast all anxiety on Him because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5-7