Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"Worry...is it choking the life out of you?" Part Two...Sleepless nights no more.

Do you spend nights on end...sleepless nights…worrying?  I think that most of us at one point or another experience the burden of seemingly unending anxiety, apprehension, worry, and sleepless nights.

We tend to lose sleep over things such as the following:
  • Our finances...not enough money at the end of the paycheck. "...okay, all the bills are paid but now there is no money for groceries! What are we going to eat?"
  • Our health...my husband's blood pressure; my son's disability and trying to prevent another migraine because, for him, any migraine could lead to another stroke or worse; my daughter's pregnancy and constant nausea now with gall bladder troubles thrown into the mix; my own neck and back woes.
  • Family troubles...our children's future; extended family woes such as aging and health concerns, and more.
  • Job...will I ever be able to bring in any income with my writing; will the next paycheck come on time; God has moved us many times through the years...how long will we be in our present ministry?
  • ___________Fill in the blank...ad nauseum...we could just about make any issue we face in life an issue to worry over couldn't we?
Why do we worry so?  I blame the FALL...you know...back in the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve took that first bite off the forbidden fruit.  I basically blame all of our woes, all of mankind's woes on the Fall.  That's where mankind tried to put self before God.  Where he didn't just take God at His word but thought he knew better and took things into his own hands.   We continue to do that today don't we?  We think by worrying that we can add something to our lives.  We think that if we worry  we are doing something about the problem.

If you look at a list of synonyms, which contains the word 'worry', this is what you get:
 tease, harry, hector, badger, disquiet. Worry, annoy, harass all mean to disturb or              interfere with someone's comfort or peace of mind.
...and there it is...
Worry disturbs our peace of mind, interferes with our comfort,  and precipitates endless nights of little to no sleep.  It eats away at us but it does not actually accomplish anything!

In part one of this series on worry I shared with you many ways in which God showed up and supplied for my many needs. One would think after just a few such miraculous shows of provision that I would just leave worry behind. But as I moved into the next stage of my life...young and married with kids ...I began to worry again. In fact I worried so much that I would take at least two to three hours each night as I lay my head on my pillow to quiet my anxious thoughts enough to finally nod off to sleep. This went on for years. It's a wonder I did not develop an ulcer as my mother had throughout her years of worrying over our family.

Then one day it happened... I don't remember the exact day or hour...I just realized that God was enough. He loved me, knew my needs, and promised in His word that if I put 'first things' first...to seek first the kingdom, then I wouldn't have to be overwhelmed by the pressures of life. So I made a decision to trust God and not worry and from that day forward I was able to lay my concerns at the feet of Jesus in my prayers and lay my head down at night...and simply sleep.

It's true...sounds  a bit Pollyannaish I know, but I can promise you that it is possible to stop losing sleep from worrying.

 I would love it if you could come back and read my next post. I've realized this worry issue is so universal that it can't just be handled in only two posts. I shared a very real and personal list at the beginning of this post. A list of things that I could let get between myself and my trust in God's provision...things that could begin again the endless nights of worry if I let them.   I would like to share with you how you can replace the word 'worry' with the word 'trust'...but that will have to wait for the next part in this series. ;-)

So how are you doing?  What thoughts run through your head in those wee hours of the night just before you drift off to sleep?








Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

Friday, June 15, 2012

Worry...is it choking the life out of you?

My life verse is Matthew 6:33.  "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well."   I just keep coming back to this promise in scripture time and time again.

And just what are  "all these things"  this verse talks about?  To find that out we need to go back and read the verse in context of the chapter in which it is written. The chapter begins by telling us not to worry about our life, the simple necessities...food, clothing, and shelter. These are  real needs in our lives not just desires and wants. And yet, we are told simply...do not worry.  After all, look at the birds of the air and the lilies of the field...God takes care of them...how much more will he take care of you, His beloved child?!

When we learn to not worry over how God will provide for us and just trust that he will, it becomes so much easier to pursue living an obedient life that will glorify God.

So...don't worry!  Now...please believe that I do not say this lightly!  God has graciously shown me that I can rely on His promise that He cares about my needs.  I have seen it play out in my life time and time again.  I also know that this is a hard thing...this not worrying. Because, even though God has shown Himself good on His promises, there have been times, even seasons in my life, where I did not live out my belief on those promises. I have learned the hard way, not what worry can do for me, but what it can do to me.

 
Did you know that the word worry derives its meaning from an Anglo Saxon word which means...to choke?  I think that is such an accurate description of the word.  In fox hunting the word worry is used to mean "the action of the hounds in tearing to pieces the carcass of a fox". Worrying tears us apart and chokes the life out of us...the very life that we were worried about in the first place.  A bit ironic, don't you think?

Let me share some examples of how this verse has had such an impact on my life and how it has played out...

As a young college student, with a limited music/voice scholarship and no other financial resources, I needed to figure out how I was going to make up the rest of the money that I would need to attend college.  My parents in no way were able to help me out because of their own limited funds.  I did, under the advice of an older and supposedly wise person, apply for and receive a student loan. I attended Berry College for two years. I then transferred to a Christian College in Michigan...many miles away from my home state of Georgia.  I began to realize this was indeed God's will for my life  because after attending the Christian College for three years and graduating with a bachelors degree I found that the only money I owed for my education was from  Berry College.  Now I'm not saying I was not supposed to go to Berry...perhaps I was just to trust that God would provide....just as He did for my last three years of college. 

There were many times in those years I just trusted God for my needs (food and clothing) and He did provide.  Here is a small sampling of the many ways He provided:
  • when a mysterious bag of food, and much needed toiletries appeared in my dorm room...I had not told anyone of my needs!
  • a woman, whom I did not even know, heard me sing as I was traveling with one of the professors (he preached and I would provide the special music), wrote out a check to the college  and handed it to my professor instructing him to put it towards my school account.
  • many times grants and scholarships were provided when I didn't even know where they came from
  • a check for twenty dollars would arrive in the mail at the time I was in true need...this happened many times. 

One would think that after having experienced God's provision over and over through those  years that I would have learned what a faithful and trustworthy God we have, but no!  The next season of my life proved to be just as challenging. . 

I'm wondering...how are you on this journey with worry?  Is it tearing you to pieces, are you losing sleep?


I hope you stay with me as I continue to share this worry journey in my next post.  Those sleepless nights don't have to be a recurring event in your life!  
Click here to read Part two: Worry…Part Two






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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Strong Enough?

"God has not placed you where you are now in this journey because you are a 'strong enough’ woman.



NO, He has you here because in the journey 

you will become strong.


You have only to trust that

 His grace is sufficient." 

~ Gay Idle



Sometimes a simple thought speaks volumes. This particular thought (see above quote) came to me this morning. 

I am learning that sometimes the journey I am on  looks like the winter picture of my garden (or of my discontent)...


...but God already sees the outcome of His will for my life...the culmination of the path I am traversing, even perhaps, the reason for the journey.  Springtime is a beautiful reminder of this to me!
How are you doing on the journey? 
 Please...share in the comment section for this post. I would love to hear how God is making His Word and will made known to you through your own journey!