I want to take a minute and share with you some notes from a sermon at our church a couple weeks ago. This topic hit close to home, because it was about anxiety and worry. And with all that has been happening lately, I have been returning to my worrying habits.
Worry has been my modus operandi ever since I was a kid. Sunday nights were torture for me, because I would get so worked up about school the next day. It wasn’t the actual school work that caused the anxiety; it was the social aspect of school, the wondering what would be said or done, would my clothes be “right” in the eyes of the other girls, would the boy I had a crush on notice me or would I make a fool of myself in his eyes again the next day, etc. Life was rough back them. I have worked hard to get past the anxiety, and have made great strides. But every so often the old habits kick back in, and I have those sleepless nights again.
So if you are anything like me – I want to share these sermon notes that I am keeping handy lately. The main passage that our pastor used was Matthew 6:25-34.
Matthew 6:25-34New Living Translation (NLT)
25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God[a] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
OK, so here’s what I get from that about anxiety and worry:
- Worry is unreasonable: we worry about the wrong things, we worry about things we can’t change, and all our worrying does is exaggerate the problem.
- Worry is unnatural (OK, maybe for some people; unfortunately it feels pretty natural to me)
- Worry is unhelpful; it’s useless to worry
- Worry is unnecessary; worrying indicates that you don’t have a real good handle on who God really is, his character as a loving Father, etc.
Another thing I remember from the sermon was how our pastor talked about anxiety and faith not being able to occupy the same space in our heart. As he was describing this, I had a mental picture of two magnets. You know how when you were a kid, you used to use one magnet to push another magnet around? The two magnets would attract each other, but if you turned them around they would repel each other. When you moved one across the table the other one would move away from it. Well, I guess that’s how it is with anxiety and faith; if you allow worry to move into your hear, faith move out. But if you bring faith in, worry is the one that has to vacate.
So here are the final 3 things I have in my notes as “The Antidote to Worry:”
(1) Put God first in every are of my life, (2) live just one day at a time, and (3) trust God to care for things beyond my control.
It can be a tall order sometimes, but it’s worth it!
Oh, and one more thing: I loved the fact that our pastor used Exodus 14:14-15 with which to conclude the lesson.
14 “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.”
In other words, “What are you standing around for?! Just chill, and keep on moving forward. I got this.” 🙂
OK, maybe I have taken a few liberties with the way God talked to Moses; but I think that’s how God would have said it (and does say it) to me. I need to relax and keep putting one foot in front of the other, and God will direct my steps.