“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Philippians 4:6 (The Message)
My husband and I often refer to our fat lab, Molly, as “Nervous Nelly”. She is always fidgety and anxious, and if she even thinks she’s missing out on something, she starts to bark and squirm in a nervous tapping dance. Every morning, when I put on my walking shoes, Nervous Nelly’s anxiety kicks in and the “talking back” and fretful dance begins…
I wonder, how many times do I act like a Nervous Nelly? How many times do I dance around in a nervous tizzy because I think I know what’s coming? Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being excited, but there is a problem with being anxious.
Anxiety is defined as distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune. How many times have I felt distress or uneasiness of mind? Unfortunately, more times than I care to admit. Just last night, I found myself struggling to fall asleep because of the worry running through my head – worry about things I had no control over, but things that affected me and the ones I love. I tossed and turned in my own little worry dance, “barking” internally over the turmoil in my mind.
Then, I thought of this verse, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
I realized at that moment there was nothing I could do to change the things that were keeping me awake. There was nothing I could do or say that would instantly “fix” the problems that twirled in my head and troubled my heart. The only peace I could find would be found in Christ.
I had a choice to make at that point. I could continue to focus on my circumstances and lose myself in fear and doubt, or I could turn to prayer. I could acknowledge the One greater than myself, the One who sees more than I can envision, knows more than I can imagine, and loves deeper than I can fathom. I could find rest – if I wanted it – I just had to let go of the counterfeit apprehensions trying to steal my peace.
It’s when we focus on Christ, that we truly begin to see with opened eyes what is in our own capacity to influence and what is not. I love the way The Message captures this verse, “Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Phil 4:6, emphasis mine)
When we truly turn our eyes on Jesus, and allow pure admiration and awe of God to consume our thoughts, the weight of our troubles begins to diminish. Our problems, situations, and circumstances don’t change or disappear… but our worry is replaced by Peace. Trusting Him to hear our prayers is the only way to find rest for our uneasy mind and broken heart.
Sometimes it’s difficult for me to trust that You have everything under control, even when I know You do. Please help me to keep my eyes fixed on You, even when nothing else seems to make sense. Thank You for hearing the cries of my heart, and listening to prayers. Please cover me with Your peace so I may find rest for my mind and wellness for my soul.
In Your Precious Name,