I am the queen of worry. Not a crown I want to wear, but it’s a familiar one.
When my kids were young I worried about what they ate, who their friends were, or how to keep them healthy. It really wasn’t something I enjoyed, but I comforted myself with the reassurance that I had some control over their lives. Still, I anticipated the time they were grown and worrying would become a thing of the past. What a lovely illusion that turned out to be!
Now that they are older I still struggle with worry. Since my kids have flown the nest I can no longer gather them close to count heads, or check their faces for signs of fatigue, illness, or turmoil. I can no longer walk through the house at night to listen to them breathe, or to pray over them. The difference now is that I realize that I never really had control over their lives, and I don’t want it. I want them to recognize Jesus, and give Him control.
He is the one who is a perfect parent (1 John 3:1), not me. He is the one who loves them without conditions and without fail (Psalm 13:5), not me. He is the giver of wisdom (James 1:5) and the one who completes the good work He has begun in them (Philippians 1:6), not me. I know these things. I trust Him with my kids, because He loves them far more and far more perfectly than I ever could. But what do I do with my tendency towards worry?
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.
Ahh…so the antidote to worry is to pray with thanksgiving. Granted, that doesn’t come easy to me. Worry? I’ve had lots of experience, and I’m pretty good at it. Yet the illusion of control that it brings is just that, an illusion. When I consciously decide to obey the Lord and gratefully pray, it allows me to identify exactly what I am feeling, and then release it.
I have this mental picture that I combine with actual physical movement. I cup my hands, and picture them full of all those chaotic, unsettling emotions. Raising them to the Lord as an offering, I turn my hands upside down and consciously release all the stress and worry to Him. Finally, I raise my hands to Him, again cupping them, but this time it is so He can fill them with what He has for me instead.
Sweet tendrils of peace slowly wrap around themselves around my anxious spirit. Heart rate slowing, my burdens for my kids transfer to Him and my mind refocuses on His faithfulness.
I give up worry and gain trust. I trade my anxiousness for His peace. It pleases God, and allows me to sleep at night.
Praise God, the queen has been dethroned.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29
1. Think of a time when worry seemed a constant companion. What did that feel like?
2. When you feel that worry, use the mental picture of offering it as a sacrifice to the Lord. Thank God for His presence, His goodness, and His sovereignty in the midst of it.
Father, in my head I know that worry is pointless. Beyond that, it reveals a desire for control and a lack of trust. Help this truth to be deeply internalized. I love You, and am grateful that when I come to You, sharing my burdens and choosing to release them to You, I not only gain Your peace but also the joy of pleasing You.