“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Matthew 6:31-34 (ESV)
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We all know the verse. It’s that one that says “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.” But that’s all very well and good. After all, Jesus is up in heaven with God and all of the angels. What do they know about stress at work, pressure to pay bills, dealing with errant children or living under the threat of eviction when we fail to pay our rent? Indeed, our Heavenly Father is very good at providing for as well as looking after His children 24/7 and we know He never sleeps, but how can he honestly expect us in this day and age “not to be anxious”? Like, seriously?
Being a student of the Word, I will admit that I am somewhat familiar with Jesus’ teachings and advice. I will also admit however that no matter how hard I try it’s sometimes very difficult not to “live in fear of the great unknown” aka to be anxious. I fear losing my job, my home, my friends, my relatives. Sometimes I fear losing my mind and my self-control as I go about my day-to-day interactions. Most of my fears however involve Nathan. I fear he will not do well in school or win his next judo tournament; that he may be hurt and not come home from school at all; that I may not have the time to teach him everything he needs to know to adequately prepare him for life.
I remember for example, a form level meeting with Nathan’s school. Based on previous meetings I was a nervous wreck trying to prepare for the worst i.e. more comments of “he can do so much better!” or “Nathan does way too much talking in class!” I sweated as I drove to the school and sweated more as I parked my car. I was quietly having a mental melt-down and hadn’t even talked to a single teacher yet. But guess what? The meeting turned out to be a pleasant surprise for his dad and I. Yes, Nathan could do better; we all agreed. However he was sitting at the front of the class, taking copious notes and fully participating in discussions. His History teacher remarked that if a student could get 100% for simply taking and organizing one’s notes she would have awarded him this mark. His weak areas were identified and we as his parents committed to helping as much as we could. The entire exercise was completed in just less than an hour (vs. two hours in 2011 and more than three in 2010). And what did Nate say as we drove home? “See now? That wasn’t so bad was it?” I guess that’s why they say a little child will lead us because he was absolutely right. The short experience wasn’t anywhere near half as bad as how I had (incorrectly) envisioned it. What a waste of worry and mental anguish!
I may never be totally successful in not being anxious especially since worrying is second nature to me. My goal however is to try and trust God more. Stressing myself out about something that is yet to happen is probably not the best use of my time, so I will learn to relax and let Him look after me and my family, to lead us where He needs us to go and to accept that He will adequately provide us all with new mercies – every single morning.
- What are you most anxious about?
- Have you talked to God about it?
- How are you actively trying to be less anxious about your life?
Dear God, I love you and praise you for your never ending goodness to me. I know you know exactly how hard it is for me sometimes to have faith in you, but I ask you to help me believe that this situation that I am going through right now will not last forever. Help me to be strong and help me to believe – in spite of my unbelief. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV)