Monday, September 13, 2010

Pack Up Your Troubles

Worry is a misuse of imagination.
- Tommy Tenney

As it has often been said in one way or another by several people – Do what you're good at. Well I'm good at worrying, so does it not follow that is what I should do? At least that's is what I've told my husband on more than one occasion when he has told me not to worry about something. (Matthew 6:27 is true, otherwise I would be as tall as my 6' 3” husband . . .) Yet, Christian or not, there is an inherent flaw to that logic for anyone who thinks they should worry because he or she is good at it. And that would be this:

It accomplishes nothing good or productive.

Think about it. Does it make the situation you're worried about less scary? Do you feel better prepared for a test when you go into it with worry nipping at your heels? Does it give you confidence? Peace? Hope?

Oh, be honest now – you know it doesn't do any of those things. In fact, worry only serves to amplify the scariness of the unknown; it muddles your memory and can leave you uncertain, unsure, agitated, and bordering on hopeless if it's not properly checked and reigned in. But looking at what you're worried about and why can lead to some positive actions if dealt with properly. Worried about an upcoming test? You can choose to study more for it. A new situation have you on edge, uncertain? Research it as best you can, prepare for what you can prepare for and leave what you can't do anything about with God.

Yes, God – Christians are instructed in Proverbs 3: 5-6 to trust in the Lord with all their heart, mind, and soul and to not lean on their own understanding. And the best thing Christians can do is take their worries to God in prayer. He knows all the things people have need of, all the longings in every heart. And He know the way in which those needs and wants can best be met for the benefit of the individual and all those around him or her. Eugene H. Peterson expresses it succinctly in The Message, his popular paraphrase of the Bible:
Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.
- 1 Peter 5:7
So we have a choice. Do we pack up our worries and leave them with God? Or carry them with us, day in and day out, weighing us down with every step?

And if you need some help, some hope, here is an excerpt from a letter sent to the Jewish leaders in the midst of their Babylonian captivity:
For I know the thoughts that I think
toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of
peace and not of evil, to give you
a future and a hope.
- Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJ)

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