I have struggled with fear and anxiety for the majority of my life. It stems from a lie that I believed at a young age that said “You have to figure it all out by yourself.” I was alone and on my own, so if there was an issue or a problem, I felt the profound weight of fixing it. It was all up to me. Or at least that is how I perceived it. I have spent the past sixteen plus years of my life worrying, and I’m going to tell you what Jesus finally told me. Or at least what I was finally open to hearing from Him:
“Stop worrying!” He said, although he said it much gentler than that. He said it by providing the exact amount I needed to pay my taxes this year, He said it by working out that my car payment would finish the month right before I needed extra income to cover extra expenses, He said it by giving me borrowed tap shoes I didn’t want to have to buy for the production of Mary Poppins I was in, He said it by a friend loaning me a snowboard so that I didn’t have to rent one, He said it by LITERALLY providing all of the furniture in my room for a grand total of $30 when I was moving out, He said it by giving me a house to live in at just the right time, He said it when he dropped my current job in my lap without warning, He said it when I ended up reading a book that spoke to the exact issue I was dealing with, He said it when I found a plane ticket to visit my family for half the amount I was anticipating having to pay, He said it when He provided generously free housing with a couple I now consider the dearest of friends, He said it by putting me at the church I am at and giving me amazing community and amazing mentors, He has said it over and over and over again “Amy, beloved, stop worrying. I am with you, I will provide for you, I will protect you, there is no need to worry… trust me.”
That’s it. That’s my whole blog, there is nothing else I need to say…
Oh, and yet how untrue that is. I am talking to myself here mostly, but I hope you will hear it too. We as humans are worriers. There are so many unpredictable, uncertain, seemingly unsurmountable things that come at us that the act of worrying has become second nature. “How can I NOT worry about this?” you might ask, “this is a big problem and someone has to figure it out!” Well here is the short of it my friend, Jesus commands us not to worry. Did you catch that- COMMANDS US. It’s not a nice suggestion, or a “well, if you feel like it.”NO. STOP IT. STOP WORRYING.
Sorry, I was yelling. Let’s take a quick look at scripture… Matthew 6:25-34 mentions being anxious six different times mostly in the form of the phrase “do not be anxious” or “why are you anxious?” Why do we not take that seriously? Why do we allow our own fear and anxiety creep in when Jesus clearly tells us to not be anxious? Well, I think the end of verse 30 speaks to the heart of the issue. “Oh you of little faith…” It’s not just that we need to stop worrying. If we are to put off worry, we need to put on something else. When Jesus says, “Do not be anxious” in Matthew 6, what He is really saying, I believe is, “Trust Me!” We must put on trust in our kind and loving Shepherd who cares for us, and put off the lie of worry that says “You are alone, you must figure it out yourself.”
We as believers in Jesus Christ have no reason and no excuse to worry. No reason because we can have the utmost faith in our Savior, who is our Good Shepherd, Our Provider, our rescue and Our Father and we can rest securely in His care. And no excuse because Scripture clearly states that “Do not worry” or “Do not fear” or other derivatives of that phrase are a command to us. A command to put off the age-old desire for control and the even older age-old belief that we know better that God. Suddenly the tables turn here. No longer is the lie telling us “I have to figure it all out myself” the lie shifts to “I know better [than God] how to figure this out” and suddenly it is no longer our fear and worry that is controlling us, it is our pride. But that is a blog for another time.
Worry is a corrosive element that turns our eyes away from the loving, tender care of Christ and onto the uncertainty of the flesh. The temptation is certainly great, the things that we can and do worry about are extensive, and the fact remains that as long as we live on this side of eternity we will always be prone to worry. But Jesus says, “STOP IT.” Stop worrying, oh you of little faith (oh me of little faith!), because Jesus cares for you on the deepest most intimate level and he knows what you need… and has promised that He will provide. Lean into that truth today, ask Him to help you in your worry, ask Him to provide, and I believe he will! I’ve seen it, I’ve experienced it, and for me it is high time that I stop worrying. Will you join me?