Lately, for some reason I’ve notice lots of people who are worrying… a lot. Worry is one of those things I have personally taken a ‘stand against’, so I guess I have a tendency to notice it around me. 10 or 12 years ago, I started to have some pretty major surgeries; gut, back, heart, ankle, hips… kinda went on & on about one a year, and it was then that I made a choice to stop letting worry fill me & consume me, because although it ‘felt good’ to worry about stuff, especially important stuff – it turned out to be counter productive…. and worry just led to even worse stuff; like fearfulness & anxiety, which can consume me if I let them.
One of the greatest Teachers & Spiritual leaders who every walked the Earth, Jesus, had some good stuff to say about worry. Regardless of what you might think of Him as a person -or a Person- there’s no denying that the power of his influence was amazing & deep. In less that 4 yrs of public service & Ministry, He changed the world forever & so fundamentally, that after 2000 yrs we still base our calendars on His life & death; everyone does, throughout the whole earth…. and He did it without popular political support, or even without writing down (let alone publishing) one word of His Teachings.
So, even though He only taught publicly for a very short time, worry was an important topic He spoke to… & I think that’s significant. He didn’t talk about too many different topics in His speaking… but worry was one of them. He mentioned several important points about it, & then He said…
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. “Matt 6:31-34 NIV
So clearly, His advise is for us to spend our ‘energy’ on seeking God’s Kingdom & living rightly (His righteousness) & if we do, all will be cared for. If we don’t, apparently the very things we are ‘worrying over’ won’t be helped anyway.
In fact, my experience is that it’s quite the opposite; that worry robs me & my life of energy, creativity, and the most important thing of all; hope. And therefore it just makes things worse; worrying today about tomorrow actually ruins both today & tomorrow. Thoughts of worry & doubt give birth to fear; & fear is the dark version of what we all truly need to excel & be fruitful in life; faith.
Hope gives birth to faith; & wonderful things grow out of real faith.
Worry & doubt give birth to fear; & only dark, negative things grow out of fear.
The tree of Faith, sends its roots down into the ground of Hope.
The tree of Fear, sends its roots down into the ground of Doubt & Worry.
But there is good news, GREAT news… if we choose to cultivate the ground of Hope in our lives, our conversations & our self-talk; the tree of Fear can not take root in the ground of Hope… and without ever even focusing on ‘not being fearful’ about a thing, we can cause by our choice to hope, to force the tree of Fear to wither & die away…
And of course, conversely, if we insist on focusing on the glass being ‘half-empty’ & not ‘half-full, the tree of Faith will wither…. Faith will not grow in Doubt and Worry; it can not grow in Doubt & worry. So, even at the toughest, darkest times of our lives; perhaps even especially then, we should be carefull to ‘watch how we think’… Again, that’s what the Teacher said…
“They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 This will result in your being witnesses to them. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. “Luke 21:12-16 NIV
Good advise for tough times… May He help us to ‘make up our minds’ once & for all… to Hope & Trust in Him, & to not worry.