I’ll bet that if you and I were to sit down over coffee and I asked you if anything is worrying you or stressing you out, you’d be able to rattle off a handful of things without even thinking about it. I could too. There are a few things I’ve lost more than a little sleep over.
Maybe you can relate to this: sometimes there are extended periods of life where it feels like that’s my reality. It’s more than just a season or a phase…stress just becomes part of the routine. You’ve most likely experienced the same feeling.
We explain it away, try to ignore it or brush it under the rug, or do what we can to endure it. But worry is toxic. It’s a slow-moving poison that is deadly. And because it tends to creep in a little at a time, we usually don’t do anything about it until it’s too late.
The thing about worry is that it’s almost always not about today. Worry is about tomorrow. It’s about what is to come. It’s about the unknown. Or it’s about the known, but we fear the known is uncontrollable or unpredictable.
- How will I pay my bills?
- How will I put food on the table?
- Will I find a job?
- Will I find “the one”?
- What will the tests show?
- Will I get accepted to the school I want to go to?
To borrow words from Andy Stanley, we “smuggle trouble” from the future. So when we read what Jesus had to say about worry in Matthew 6, it seems too simple. It seems naive. It seems impossible. He said,
“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring it’s own worries.”
Yeah…I know that. You know that. That’s what we’re already worried about. How is that helpful?! The reason it’s so hard to not worry about tomorrow is because we know that whatever it is about tomorrow that we’re worried about is already waiting for us….tomorrow. But He goes on to explain:
It seems like Jesus’ command not to worry is one that would be impossible to obey. But these are the words that we can draw peace from:
“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.”
Your heavenly Father. Already. Knows.
The things I’m worried about, the things that stress me out, are waiting for me tomorrow. But God is already there. He already knows what I need. He already knows what you need. He’s outside of time, which means He’s already in tomorrow and things are already handled.
There’s an invitation in there that makes it all work. Verse 33 says,
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
Jesus is saying, “Instead of worrying about tomorrow, let me take care of that. Instead, make it your focus to join me today in what I’m doing.” The Greek word used there for “seek” can also be translated “run after.” Jesus would say, “Some people run after other things in pursuit of security in this life, but you should run after me and let me handle the details. Instead of worrying about tomorrow, let me take care of that. Instead, make it your focus to join me today in what I’m doing.”
If you’re worrying about tomorrow, the way to stop is to look for a way to move closer to Jesus today. Your trust in Him will grow and eventually you’ll begin to rely on Him to provide for your needs in the future.
Jesus made it clear that we are more meaningful to God than anything else in all of creation, living or non-living. You are loved so much that, to rescue you, Jesus lived, died, and lives again to make it possible for you to experience God and to see that He is worthy of your trust. If He provides for and cares for things like birds and flowers, you can bet He’ll take care of you.
At the end of the day, whatever is waiting for you tomorrow, you can be sure that God is already there, that He’s bigger than your worries, and that He’s got everything under control.
Jimmy, this is good! I’d like to suggest one step added to the beginning…it’s what is asked of women who want to join the women’s mentoring network at FCC. At the first meeting, we ask each woman to commit to asking God every day “Who do you want my mentoring partner to be?” There are several reasons for this…the acknowledgement that God is involved in the mentoring process, that mentoring is a spiritual friendship, and that all important humility that you mention.
The most successful mentoring partnerships in our network have been between women who both clearly heard the same answer from God. Until Tom was preparing to be placed on the liver transplant list, I didn’t know that my mentoring partner’s 1st job as a nurse was in a heart-lung transplant unit in Florida! It has been my privilege to see this woman blossom into leading a group, gain confidence as a woman of God, and take on more leadership in the network. God has been faithful to strengthen each of us in the Spirit when we’ve needed it.
When you allow God to draw you to your mentoring partner, the Spirit mentors both of you…to bring glory to God. Old-fashioned? Yes, but so true.