As a little girl, I would sit on my bed feeling completely helpless against the stream of worries that would flow through my mind. I worried about being kidnapped, about my parents dying, about catching some horrible disease, and about tornadoes and hurricanes and alligators and sharks (I lived in Florida).
I remember crying one night and my mom trying to console me.
She told me God was with me and that I needed to trust him.
She told me I didn’t need to worry about anything because God promised to be with me.
I vaguely remember her telling me the Bible said not to worry, quoting from Matthew 6. I clung tightly to that idea and promise that I didn’t need to worry because God had my back.
I’ve come back to Matthew 6:19-34 many times throughout my life, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that it really boils down to our focus. Jesus starts this passage by telling us to not “store up treasures here on earth” (verse 19). Jesus gets to the core of the matter when He says that “wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be” (verse 21).
This forces me to ask myself, “Where is my focus? What do I spend my days thinking about?”
If I dwell on my desires, my comfort, my security, my future, I get trapped in a cycle of worry and despair because I’m relying on myself.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “Don’t worry; be happy.” Not only is it a song, but I’ve seen it printed on t-shirts and posters. We get the idea that we can just push away the worry and choose happiness. From a worldly standpoint, our go-to method is mind over matter and willpower to “make” myself happy instead of worrying. However, if we’re honest, the only way we can stop worrying is through the power of the Holy Spirit and a complete reliance on God.
Jesus sums up this whole discourse on worry in the last two verses: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
The way to stop worrying is to seek after God.
Honestly, isn’t that the secret weapon for all of our problems in life?
Worry is a natural result of us focusing on this messed up world and all that bombards us.
As we grasp for control, we sink deeper into the pit of worry.
The antidote is to focus on heaven and the power of God at work in our lives. He promises to give us everything we need, from monetary provisions to strength to face the challenges ahead of us. In addition, I think that keeping our eyes fixed on the kingdom of God is loving and serving those around us.
It’s harder to worry and focus on self when we’re actively reaching out to others.
I want to leave you with two questions today:
- What are you worried about? Write it down and then take the time to pray and turn it over to God.
- Who can you serve? Write down ways you can advance God’s kingdom in your home, at church, at work, or in your community.
In the process of living intentionally with heaven in mind, “He will give you everything you need.”