Don’t Worry About It!

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?”  Matthew 6:25

What are you worried about today?

Paying your bills?  Your health?  Your marriage?  Your children?  Your future? 

Are you constantly worried about what other people think about you?  

Are you worried about the safety of your husband at his job?

Are you constantly worried that your husband is going to leave you or cheat on you?

Are you afraid your children are falling in with the “wrong” crowd?

Are you worried about the health of your aging parents and how you are going to care for them?

Are you newly divorced and filled with anxiety for your future?

Does worry consume your life to the point that you are paralyzed with fear, stress and anxiety?  

Are you a person who takes medication for your anxiety?

A life full of worry, stress and anxiety is not God’s will for His children.

Jesus said it Himself…He does not want you to be filled with worry about the cares of this life.  He always takes care of His children!  Always!!!

A lot of times, we think that WE must be the avenue through which our problems are solved.  “God helps those who help themselves.”  Right?

No!  Do you know that quote is NOT in the Bible!  Nope, not in there.  We go around saying this and fool ourselves into thinking that we must “do” something.  “Doing” turns into worrying.  Worrying about everything and anything.

Do you realize that Jesus’ sacrifice was a complete act of grace for our lives…our lives for all eternity AND our lives NOW?

Jesus’ sacrifice was not only for the covering of our sins, the health of our bodies and our eternal salvation.  It was also for our peace!  Isaiah 53 says,

“But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,”

Jesus suffered brutal punishment and pain so that we could have peace in our lives!!!

On the night Jesus was betrayed, He left these parting words with His disciples.  Even in the midst of the ensuing chaos, His desire for those He loved was for them to be at peace.

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you;  not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  John 14:27

Peace is translated, “Shalom.”  Wellness, wholeness, completeness, as well as peace of heart and mind.  Shalom means having every part of your being (spirit, soul, and body) in complete and total peace.

Walking in the peace of God, just like Jesus did, allows us to be in perfect control of our feelings, emotions and actions, no matter what the devil throws our way.  Not once do we see Jesus wringing His hands or having an emotional meltdown.  Even when the storm literally raged around Him, He spoke and embodied peace.  Jesus was THE peace-speaker.

The peace we have been given (as a gift, like salvation, healing, grace, righteousness, etc) is not a feeling that is based on our life circumstances.  It is a state in which we live.

But, but, but you say. “You don’t know what my life is like.  I have so much stress!”   Being at peace is a decision you make inside you, in your heart.  By YOU deciding that you will NOT LET stress consume your life, you are allowing God to work on the external circumstances FOR you.

During the last few years of my first marriage and the divorce that ended it, I had a peace that I cannot explain.  As many of you know, having marriage issues and going through a divorce is one of the most stressful things a person can endure.  Did I feel stressed and worried at times?  Of course I did.  But, before I would let it consume me, I would do something that might seem kind of silly to some of you.  I would close my eyes, picture myself holding my problems in my cupped hands, and then would throw them upward, as if “casting” them up to God.  Peace would come over me!  It’s true!  I did this seemingly childish act many times over until it has now become a habit of mine.  When I begin to worry or be afraid or stressed, I toss it to God like a game of hot potato and tell Him, “It’s all yours, Lord.”  Then I get back to doing what He wants me to be doing.  This simple act has helped me through a divorce and every other stressful situation I’ve encountered since, big or small.

What should we do instead of stressing about all the worrisome issues that come up in life?

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.”            Matthew 6:33

Follow hard after God and He will work out all the details for you.  No worries.  He’s got this.

When we worry, we are telling God that we don’t need Him to help us.  We are saying that we can handle it ourselves.  If you think about it, we are nullifying Jesus’ sacrifice for our peace when we hold on to our problems.

Worrying is a sign of lack of faith in God.   Having faith in God, aka not worrying about things or getting stressed out, produces peace in your life.

Worry=little or no faith    Peace=total surrender and full of faith

Are you walking in the midst of your storm and not even noticing the waves tossing you about or the lightning and thunder roaring around you?  

Or are you consumed by stress and worry?  Is stress manifesting itself in your body through stomach ulcers, headaches, moodiness, and depression? 

The devil knows where to attack you…in those areas of your life where you feel the least secure.  Is your primary concern your finances?  Then, that’s where you won’t have peace.  Or maybe it’s your kids?  Then, that’s where your stress will originate from.

If you want peace in your life, refuse to allow worry and stress to come in.  Jesus said, “Let NOT your heart be troubled.”

“Cast your cares upon the Lord, for He cares for YOU.” I Peter 5:7

No matter how tiny or insignificant it may seem.  If it is causing you worry or distress, God wants you to give it to Him.  He knows what to do with your worries.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

Besides, what good does worrying do you?

“Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to your stature?”  Matthew 6:27

Worrying accomplishes one thing and one thing only…it gives the devil an open door into your heart to attack you and weaken your mind, spirit and body.

Find rest for your soul in the arms of Jesus.  He paid it all for you to have life everlasting and life abundantly. Embrace His grace and trust in Him with all the issues in your life.  Refuse to allow worry to consume you. God wants you to walk in peace.

Peace is part of the package of free gifts bequeathed to YOU at the moment of your born-again experience.  Walk in peace, starting NOW!

I sang this song as a little girl…I still sing it to this day when I’m feeling stressed or worried.  It goes like this..

I cast all my cares upon You,

I lay all of my burdens down at Your feet.

And any time, I don’t know, what to do,

I will cast all my cares upon You.

What are you worried about right now?  Put your hands out in front of you, picture you problem in your hands and then throw it up in the air. Cast your cares upon the Lord.  Have faith that He is working it all out for you, for your good!  Go ahead, try it.  No one’s looking…:)

In Hot Pursuit of Peace

I woke up this morning to a frightening realization. Today is December 2! That means I have only 23 days to prepare for Christmas!!! I have yet to buy one gift, bake one cookie or put up one decoration. How did this sneak up on me so fast??? Breathe, Susie, breathe. This happens to me every year. From Thanksgiving to Christmas is a flurry, no actually, a blizzard of activity. From Thanksgiving dinner to Return to Bethlehem to the girls’ dance recital to the church Christmas programs to Christmas morning with 5 kids…then add in gift shopping, baking, all the extra rehearsals and practices for said programs and all the normal day to day activities of our busy family’s life minus my husband who is out of town for work most of the month…Oh my! Our regular life is crazy to begin with..December life is like a 5 year old after drinking a whole box of 5 hour energy drinks. Seriously.

No wonder I nearly have a nervous breakdown each year! I get stressed out, in a chronic bad mood, yell at my kids, yell at my husband, and am just an angsty ball of unhappiness that progressively builds until Christmas morning when it all comes crashing down and I finally “feel” like it’s Christmas. I have even been guilty of saying that I hate the month of December and the Christmas season (gasp!) because it is so stressful for me. What a shame, don’t you think? Christmas should not be this way. It IS the most wonderful time of the year! And, I want it to be that way THIS year for me and my family. So how am I going to make this happen? My mother says to me, “It’s too much, Suze, it’s just too much. You need to cut back on all that you guys are doing. Something’s gotta give.” Easy for her to say now that her kids are out of the house! You know that commercial that was out a couple years ago about drug/tobacco use? The one where the parents find out that the kid is using drugs (or smoking, I can’t remember exactly)? The parent asks the kid how did they become hooked on the drug or whatever and the kid looks at the parent and says, “I learned it by watching you.” That would be the situation with me and my mother. I learned to be like this because my mom was the same way!!! My dad says I am like my mom on steroids…anyway…

Sure, I could cut back on the activities that we are all involved in. That would definitely help. But, which ones? Do I tell the girls they can’t sing with the children’s choir at church or do I not allow the boys to be involved with Return to Bethlehem or do I not participate in the adult choir at church this year? Or better yet, do I not bake Christmas cookies this year or decorate my house? Ummm….no. None of these is an option for me or our family. There is no way I can say no to any of these, especially at this point. And honestly, I don’t want to say no. Christmas means more to us than just one day of presents and singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Christmas is a month-long celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus, and showing His love to as many people as we can by serving in all these different areas to our community. From Lew all the way down to Emma, December and all its activities (big and small) are a big deal for us. So how do I make this year different from all the years before? How do I not get stressed out and turn into Cruella Deville this year?

I spent some time in the Word this morning, asking God to help me to be calm during this Christmas season, to be at peace and enjoy myself. Isaiah 9:6 says this, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the PRINCE OF PEACE.” He’s the PRINCE OF PEACE!!! Are you seeing this with me? The irony? Here I am, losing my cool, going bananas, fighting with my family during a time of year when we are to be celebrating the arrival of the Prince of Peace! I’m actually laughing out loud over the ridiculousness of ME!

Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” I’m just shaking my head at myself right now. When I was going through the separation and divorce of my first marriage and the subsequent trying times afterwards, God gave me this sweet peace that I can not even describe. I trusted God completely and it was a beautiful and intimate time with the Lord like no other time in my life. Now, honestly, how can the stress of the Christmas season even compare with the stress of going through a divorce with three little kids? There is no comparison.

What God has done before, He will do again. He’s the same yesterday, today and forever. That’s His word. That being said, I am going to rest in Him and cast all my cares upon Him. I will find joy in every day of this Christmas season. I will laugh instead of yell. I will take a deep breath and remember what is important when I feel overwhelmed. I will enjoy my children and share in their excitement and joy of Christmas instead of being so busy with the task at hand. We’ll take time to drink hot cocoa and watch Christmas movies and build fires in the fireplace and sing Christmas carols and actually talk about Jesus and His birth. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll let the kids help me decorate the Christmas tree this year instead of allowing the crazy OCD lady to take over. The possibilities for joy and peace are endless!

So, even though it’s only December, I am making a resolution. I resolve in the month of December to be calm, cool and collected. To not allow the stress of the season to affect how I treat others around me. I will enjoy myself and be okay with whatever gets done. I will not allow others to make me feel bad for saying “no” to extra stuff that will steal my joy and peace this Christmas season. I am going to allow the Prince of Peace to fill me with peace. And just breathe…

If you see me this month and I’m not smiling, feel free to remind me of my resolution. I have a feeling this will require daily effort. 🙂

Psalm 34:14 “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” I’ll be in hot pursuit of peace from now on!

Peace and joy to you and your family too!

Susie 🙂