Philippians 4:6. The verse really popped as I read it while sifting through Instagram stories. Surprisingly, God still uses a time-suck like Instagram to call me back to Himself. He really is extremely gracious.
The Insta Story read: “Do not be anxious about anything. Keyword: ANYTHING.”
Don’t be worried about anything? If God says so, I want to believe it’s possible to choose to no longer worry. But wow, that’s hard.
Have I been worrying while I’ve been in Santa Barbara? Yep. But not about being forgotten, left out, and all the other fears and junk that I had thought would plague me. When God allowed me to deal with my insecurities, they did get dealt with. Thankfully by His grace those fears and insecurities have been shut down. But there’s always the next thing – work woes. Work has been concerning me, because my numbers haven’t been stellar, and ad writing topics have been difficult to drum up. It’s the little things like that take my attention and cause me to worry. But if I’m worrying it means I’m failing to trust God, and that makes me even more frustrated.
I don’t want to worry. I hate worrying because it isn’t okay – when I know God, I don’t want worrying to be something I do at all. I know we all worry, you could say it’s in our nature to do so, but human nature isn’t an excuse to let worrying be my crutch in life. Yes I’m only human, but the Spirit of God is just as alive in me. He’s just as real as my flesh. Worrying does not need to be something I choose to do any longer. I have to actively choose against it.
Worrying is an act of trying to pull back control. I worry because I want to take control over circumstances I cannot control. In response, God throws Philippians 4:5-7 at me – when you want to worry, when you want this false sense of control, give it all back to Me through thanksgiving and prayer. Gratitude is humbly recognizing who it is who has brought you this far, to this place, and has given everything in your life a purpose. Prayer is an act of submission. Prayer is me acknowledging my place in this world before God – I am powerless, and you, God, have always had control and have always taken care of me, regardless of my “ability” or inability.
Do not worry about anything, Leah. Just don’t. Don’t worry when you have God right there with you (Isaiah 41:13). Don’t worry when God has always taken care of you, and He actually chose you, placed you here and thus even favors you. He is taking care of you. Worry is not a relationship strengthener between God and I. Worry is not a tool that is ever useful for making me like Christ, unless I use it as a signal to run straight to Him with all my worries or concerns and leave them with Him.
God is in the business of taking incapable, unsuspecting, lowly individuals and magnifying His glory through them, you see it all throughout the Bible. The requirement for God to favor, and to use us is not anything that we bring to the table, nothing of our own merit, but it is the righteousness of Jesus, a heart that is contrite, and a spirit that is ready to submit to Him. We have God’s favor. We have God’s grace lavished on us through Christ, with all wisdom and understanding (Ephesians 1:8) – God knew what He was doing when He told us He was pouring out His favor on us. And His promises are good. When you know God favors you, then you know your worries have no legs to stand on.
God favors you. God favors me. I see this by the grace He showers on me on the days I open my eyes to Him by giving Him thanks. I know this grace by the words of those He uses to encourage me when I fall into the temptation to worry. I know His favor by His pursuit of me. A friend said to me: if I am able to love God, if I am drawn to Him at all, it is because He is right there loving me first, drawing me to Himself. Turning our concerns to God should and can be our first response, not worry. Worry is a choice, and possibly a deep rooted nature in us, something that doesn’t change overnight. Prayer and giving thanks are choices – and practices of the new nature of Christ in us. Prayer and thanks are disciplines, things we need to work out into our lives as God works in us – drawing us to Himself to do these things, and these things take time, patience and practice.
Praying through every concern while giving thanks builds us up in Christ, that builds real solid relationship with God, and God promises peace in Christ. Do not worry about anything, but with thanksgiving, pray about everything.