Matthew 6:31-34 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Worry never helps me. Anxiety keeps my wheels spinning but never moves me to a place of deeper faith or hope or trust. Instead, I find myself in a rut so deep it could become my grave if I stay there. Worry has dogged my steps for a long, long time. Anxiety. Fear. What if…
In the previous verses, Jesus comments on the impossibility of serving two masters. Implied in the term "master" is the idea of the one in charge. One. A person trying to serve two opposing masters illustrates the conundrum of a divided mind. It's not a way to live life. These verses are the soil in which the entire "therefore, do not worry" passage is rooted. He cautions, Do not, do not, do not attempt to live with a divided mind.
Recently, Hickory Lane has been host to a lot of chaos. Who am I kidding? It's been daunting. Our sewage system needed to be upgraded, the front porch replacement project that we'd planned to have done last fall suddenly got underway about the same time Max underwent major back surgery. Bees were swarming and a wind storm took out a grape arbor. Pick a reason for some anxiety, some worry, a divided mind...
And Jesus gently reminds me – do not be anxious. If I've started, he urges me to stop. And when time passes, and the noise begins again, He reminds me, "Don't go there." I know I don't want to chose that path for I am learning worry is not my friend. Worry steals what bit of energy I might have used to cope had the "what if" occurred. So, "do not be anxious," I tell myself.
But how does it happen? What will fill the yawning gaps in a life pocked with anxious, worried, troubled, fearful thoughts? As I understand it, the antidote for anxiety and worry, the remedy that neutralizes fear is not a heaping dose of "try-harder," or "think positive" or "put on a brave face and suck it up..." All those options depend too much on me. My effort, my plans, my control.
Generally, when I'm in this state of mind, deep thoughts escape me like so many uncaged lab mice. I don't have access to the sermon I heard last week; I can't even remember the verses I read so thoughtfully during my morning devotions.
Thankfully, Jesus doesn't suggest I read another chapter, although it probably wouldn't hurt. He doesn't get really deep about long legged theological words.
Rather, He gives me some simple directives which I have already described:
"Look at the birds."
Notice how God feeds them and cares for them.
"Consider the lilies."
Notice how God clothes them and cares for them.
Okay, I can't do much, but maybe I can look. I can consider.
And in fact, this simple practice of pausing and listening, looking, considering, being present in this moment…and then the next one… has helped me more than I can say. (But I keep trying!) Seeing the glorious detail in the creation around me has helped me gain perspective on my life. My sense of trust in God's care, my awareness of his focused, unfailing love for me, my reliance on His direction and provision has increased as I've seen His attentive care for the seemingly insignificant elements of bird life and flower glory.
For me, this has become an important piece of seeking God's kingdom as I discover what He is doing not only in His great big kingdom out there, but also the work He is doing right here, in my little anxiety riddled world. Here, in me.
I welcome you to join me in this trust-growing, adventurous journey. When worry threatens to trip you up like a piece of nearly invisible fishing line wrapping tight, then tighter around your ankle, take a moment to look.
Pause, and consider.
And grow your trust, strong and deep rooted like…a lily.