Another reminder…and I need a lot of them lately…

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6:34

To be honest, this is a tough verse for me to live out.  I tend to be a “tomorrow worrier” more than not.  When I became a mom, it became quickly apparent that planning ahead was the only way to get through some days–and sometimes the only way to get out the door.  With a newborn, it took planning around feeding and nap times to organize events like grocery shopping, errand running, and church going.

Although planning and organization don’t always automatically extend into worry, either because of my personality or other factors, I think my desire to have things in place and done causes me to worry about whether they will be in place or will be done.   And from that attempt to control my environment (even the circumstances that I have absolutely no control over), worry is born.

There are always things we can worry about:  finances, children, family, jobs, health.  Within any given day, worry could quite possibly consume us if we let it and fall into its trap.  Am I failing my kids? Are they getting the education they need? Are they growing closer to God and a relationship with Jesus?  What will happen in the future?   Will we have the money we need for the bills, both expected?

These questions could make anyone crazy if their mind is stayed on them.  It’s not in my nature to relax, or to be at peace about the tomorrows in my life.  That’s where certain verses come in to remind me that there is a way to escape the worry that is so prevalent in our frail human state.  There is a weapon against worry, and it is, in the words of a wise friend, to “keep speaking the truth.”   When worry starts to creep in (or launches a modern-day blitzkrieg), my first response should not be to entertain the fear, but to speak truth into the situation:

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you.”  Isaiah 26:3

What am I thinking of? My “troubles” or the One who is sovereign over all? A mind constantly mulling over the situation (either real or imagined) cannot be trusting in Him.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deut 31:6-8

This is a verse that should be in the front of my mind all the time, and the first things out of my mouth when my heart starts to worry.  How differently would I react to problems and circumstances if I was constantly reminded of Who is always with me and Who goes before and with me?  That spins my thinking into a completely different direction.  What a tremendous promise to know that even though we may feel alone or struggling to see the purpose and plan in what is happening, we can know that we know that we know that God has promised never to leave us or forsake us.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”  2 Tim 1:7

Lastly, I think fear and worry go hand in hand, and although many a dissertation has most likely been written about the similarities and differences, I’m not trying to split hairs in definitions.  Regardless of how they’re related, they weren’t given to us from God.  The verse plainly says that the real gifts we’ve been given are power, love, and self-discipline.  Learning to replace worry with those qualities takes a constant choice–most likely many times a day.  When the worry wants to wedge in, we have to choose to replace it with power, love, and self-discipline.  This is still a lesson I’m learning, and some days are better than others.

I’m so thankful that we’ve been given the gift of grace, which “means that God offers us his love and forgiveness as a gift, and not because we have earned it or deserve it.” (thank you, Junior Bible Quiz)  I don’t deserve the do-overs I constantly get, and don’t understand how His mercies could be new every morning.  But they are, and I believe it.   And I’m so thankful for that.

“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Ps. 16:8

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