A little bit of anxiety has always seemed godly to me. Incorrect, I know, but I think that in many ways, I confuse worry with prayer. Allow me to explain:
If find myself faced with something difficult, like a financial burden and I’m not in tune with the Lord, I will immediately default to anxiety. I’ll try to figure it out on my own, vent to those who are close to me, and then tell God how worried I am.
There’s no real conversation going on in those moments–with God or others . In fact, the last thing I’m doing is actually conversing.
As it turns out, muttering anxiety to the wind is not the same thing as talking with Abba Father… as much as our sinful hearts like to tell us that it is.
After all, then we can tell people, “Well yes, I’ve prayed about it.”
That’s where I found myself a few weeks ago when God gave me a wake up call. I had just told a friend that, “of course” I’d prayed about the dilemma I was facing. To which she lovingly responded, “What has God told you when you’ve prayed about it?“
Dang. I felt like she’d called my bluff; and I was forced to admit–to my friend and myself–that I hadn’t really prayed at all. Rather, I’d pretended to pray, all the while attempting to fix things by exerting my own control over the situation through worry.
And, can I be honest? That cycle of worry feels intoxicatingly good! My mind takes off and before I know it, I’m flying through time and space, hunting for all the little ways life is (or will be) falling apart. Strangely enough, it feels like I’m actually moving forward as I taste that alluring promise of control.
But friends, our finite brains can’t do in a lifetime what God can do in a millisecond. Our brains do not hold the power that God alone has.
Worriers, see if this describes you: You think that if you freak out about something with an air of godly fervency you’ll accomplish two things: (1) You’ll somehow prepare yourself for any possible scenario and (2) You’ll earn God’s favor or attention by showing Him how much you care about said-problem. And then, in the blink of an eye, He will fix everything and you’ll evade the nightmarish command to trust.
Am I right?
When we really think about it though, that idea is bizarre. Under the guise of being godly and concerned about our problems, we use anxiety to tell God: “Look at me! Pay attention! This is important! Fix it!“
It’s an effort to manipulate God.
And friends, the Lord God Almighty won’t be manipulated. What’s more, He doesn’t need to be! For those who walk according to His ways, the Lord is for us. We don’t need to drag our worry-ridden selves around, hoping that our lowly state will attract the attention of an ambivalent dictator.
Matthew 7:11 is a good reminder, as it says, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!“
See that? He wants to give us good gifts! Good, exciting, gifts that draw us near to Him and fulfill our ultimate longing to be loved and known by our Maker.
I pray that this is a good reminder for your anxious heart. It is for mine. In the most simplest terms: God’s got this.
And that truth opens up the door to trust, to greater confidence in Him, to joy.
So whatever you’re worrying avidly about today: Would you lay it down? Remind yourself that no amount of worry is better than simply saying, “Lord, this scares me. But I’m done trying to fix it myself. I refuse to worry. I give it to you because I love and trust you.“
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