Ever worry about the future? Come on, who doesn’t? Worry is such a universal experience, that if we encounter a person who claims they never worry, we automatically assume they are either lying or crazy.
Well, I won’t lie, and I doubt you’ll think I’m crazy when when I tell you this, but I’ve spent countless hours of my life filled with worry. Loads of questions have rolled through my mind and heart about what might be next in life. Sometimes the thoughts are just pure dreaming and wonder, but other times, my thoughts are filled with anxiety and tension.
The future can be a scary thing. It sometimes seems so far away, and we wonder and worry over how will we ever find a bridge to cross to get to it. We dream and set goals to achieve the desires of our hearts, but the road to our dreams often doesn’t look like how we envisioned it to be.
Then worry begins to creep.
We think things like, “What if this dream that’s on my heart doesn’t work.”
“What if I wasted all of this time on this venture… and it’s a failure.”
“What if I’m going in the completely wrong direction?”
Ever found yourself in these thoughts?
Anxiety brings turmoil into one’s life. It’s the opposite of peace, which is a gift from God. When we walk in anxiety, we are walking separated from God. In anxiety, we declare, “I don’t trust you God to take care of this, so I am.” If we really trusted God with the matters that worry us, would anxiety accompany that trust?
I don’t think it would.
Peace can replace anxiety.
But how do we get there? How do we get to the place of peace instead of anxiety?
I read the following passage a few weeks ago in “Jesus Calling”, a devotional book by Sarah Young, and it has stuck with me.
“Your future looks uncertain and feels flimsy—even precarious. That is how it should be. Secret things belong to the Lord, and future things are secret things. When you try to figure out the future, you are grasping at things that are Mine. This, like all forms of worry, is an act of rebellion: doubting My promises to care for you.” (pg. 59)
Trust in God is the antidote to worry – trust in the One who made you and the One who is walking with you.
Our focus is another tool we need to sharpen in order to trust. Is your focus more on God, or obtaining the thing you are worried about?
Where are you focusing your worry?
Are you worried about closing on a house for you and your family?
Perhaps you are worried about your rebellious teenager or your marriage that’s being held together by a string?
Maybe it’s a promised promotion at work that hasn’t come to fruition?
Or is it your health or the health of a loved one?
All of these things are legitimate concerns in life, they all hold the weight of worry.
The bottom line is that God doesn’t promise He will save us from suffering.
God never promises that he will save our loved ones from physical death or give us our dream house. What God promises is something more profound than that.
God promises He will be with us through it all.
The Creator of the world will be with us.
It’s an amazing opportunity to have God walk with us through all of our pain, uncertainty, joy, and laughter.
God is with us.
I don’t say this lightly. I have suffered an immense amount of loss and disappointment in my life. I’ve cried out to God numerous times to step in to perform a miracle. But that’s the thing, the miracle is that God is with us.
God has not left us to figure everything out on our own.
The challenge is if we will believe that God loves us more than we love ourselves and has our best interest at hand. Will we believe that whatever we may be worrying about isn’t worth the anxiety because God is with us?
Yes, there will be pain, God doesn’t promise that we wont have pain. Jesus Christ had pain and we will face pain, but we will not face pain alone. We have the opportunity to be in the company – the companionship – of God who knows pain very well and knows that He is the only true remedy to it.
Whatever you are facing, whatever is stressing you out – no matter how big or small it is – I challenge you to bring it to God and say, “Your will be done.” This is how we move from anxiety to peace.
Are you willing to let go of whatever you are stressing out about and give it to the Redeemer of the world?
I’m not presuming that this is easy, it is an act of obedience, discipline and ultimately trust. Do you trust that God has your best interest? Is your desire to overcome the object of your stress, or to obtain closeness with God?
I know without a doubt that God’s presence in my life has overcome the darkest nights and disappointments I have faced. Will you leave the future in God’s hands, will you be able to trust that He has you in His arms.
Trust is the antidote to worry which brings peace. I urge you to work on your relationship with God.
“When you try to figure out the future, you are grasping at things that are Mine.” -Sarah Young-Be bold with Him and tell Him if you are unsure you can trust Him in this matter or your life.
God is big enough to handle your doubt. It’s true intimacy when we can be honest with God about how we really are feeling, remember He already knows.
Spiritual Exercise – Open Hands
Think about the issue in your life that is causing you anxiety. As you think about the stressor, use your hands to symbolize the frustration, allowing them to ball up into fists. Focus your anxiety to your hands and welcome God into your mind. As you do, slowly release your worries to God and slowly unclench your hands until you have to open palms. This symbolic act is a prayer that helps release our anxiety to God. End the exercise with open hands that symbolize your willingness to trust God with your problems. Repeat this exercise as many times as needed to help align your heart and mind to God.