Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
I can’t tell you how many times I have read this verse throughout my life time…over and over…situation after situation…big…little…insignificant…real genuine worries and ones I’ve created in my head and every time it is as though it is the first time I have read it.
“Oh…yeah…duh! Don’t worry.”
As the kids and I wound down for the evening we talked about this Scripture in detail and we each shared things that cause us to worry. Micah shared that he worries about our house catching on fire. Maiah worried that Kevin would get hurt in a fire at work. Mikayla worried about the baby…they all talked in great detail about their fears. Micah even mentioned,
“Sometimes when I worry I think about it over and over and then my mind makes up crazy stuff that could happen.”
Yep that’s worry alright; over-thinking to the point that your mind begins to create worst-case scenarios.
I think most people, if they are completely honest, worry a lot. And if you don’t, well kudos to you. You have mastered something that will likely keep your hair from graying prematurely or falling out altogether. As for me, I haven’t fully conquered this one yet. I have a long history of struggling with anxiety and have come quite a long way, but still have a propensity to ruminate…worry…stress…think I can control the world around me by over-thinking upwards, downwards, sideways…you name it…I’ll over-think it. As far as I know no one has ever really succeeded at this though – this whole controlling their world by over-thinking things. At least no one who isn’t using Jedi Mind tricks.
My point: we control nothing by worry. We know it and yet still do it. It’s tough to undo patterns of thinking that you have been doing your whole life. It actually takes flipping a switch in our brains to overcome these patterns.
Here is what I find to be so amazing about this verse when I really break it down though…
The verse says ‘Do not be anxious about anything’ which for the average person it’s like “Uhh! If it were that easy…I wouldn’t be worrying.” But we are given something to replace or trade the anxiety with. Look at the next part…
“but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Present…give…hand over your requests…let go of…lay down. There is an action required, and then peace comes. Peace really can’t fall upon us when we are in a tug of war in our head.
‘Here ya go God…nope give it back…here’s a little bit…nope give it back.’
But the verse when truly lived out, we consciously make the effort to release. Basically, we are doing a beautiful gift exchange with God. ‘Hey God…here is my truckload of worries for today’ and He gifts us with peace. Peace which supersedes the worry, peace that transcends the stuff we can’t fathom, understand or grapple with. In that we are guarded, protected and covered in our minds in Christ Jesus.
It’s a bit impossible to feel at peace and covered when we are heaping loads of worry on top. Peace gets buried and it needs to rise to the top of our tired heads and hearts, but can only do so when we make room for it.
Do you see the picture of that? I see a child with a heavy box of stresses, unknowns, and what if’s and handing it over only to have the Father bending down to unfold a beautiful endless and weightless gift of hope, rest, stillness, and peace. I see a child being FREE, literally.
I am worried about many things today, not even earth shattering things but enough to make my mind spin more than it should and enough to bury my peace. I am worried about everything from my daughter having respiratory issues from a cold, my other daughter having headaches everyday, to the CD project I am working on – causing me to be vulnerable and risk in a way I have never done before. Worries over some of my closest friends who are walking through really hard life stuff and frankly my ruminating mind can’t control or do enough obsessing to fix any of it.
So again I re-read that verse for the kabillionth time in my life and remind my hard head to exchange what’s not mine and receive what God wants me to have; peace. Peace of knowing that He is God. Peace of knowing I’m not in control literally sets me free as I make room.
If you are anxious today about anything, I hope you are able to remember the truth of the verse which allows us to exchange the anxiety for peace… make room for peace…make room…