A Culture of Worry

I recently found myself nervous about several situations all at once. Despite Bible study, prayer, worship, and a little too much talking things over with my husband, I was still, dare I say, worried. In the end all three of the circumstances worked out for the best. As they usually due. Sigh. Cue the guilt for lack of faith. Double sigh.

 I began to ponder, “Why did I go through this cycle…again?!?” Then I started thinking about all the folks I know who have expressed to me their own struggle with worry, and I started wondering why we all seem to worry so much. It came to mind that there are a number of possible reasons:

1)    We live in a culture of negativity.  We have 24/7 access to the news telling us what’s happening around the world. Most of the news isn’t so great. It can easily lead us to questions that cause fear and worry. What if something like that happened where I live? What could possibly happen next? Why is this happening?!? We stand around the water cooler (ok, does anyone actually do that?) fretting and complaining about all that bad news, but we also waste time on the mundane things in our own lives that don’t even matter. I’m calling myself out on this one too. Yes, bad things are happening all around us, and that will keep happening. We can’t do something about everything, nor should we sit around worrying about it all. Instead, we need to recognize what we do have control over, what we can help with, and we should spend more time focusing on all of the positive around us.

2)    We live our lives too publicly. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest. Blogs. I’m on them all too. We live our lives so much more publicly than in the past, and it seems to me that we set ourselves up. We can’t possibly live up to the expectations we set for ourselves. I remember reading this article in college about how we are often so much harder on ourselves than anyone else is on us. I think it’s true. So what if someone doesn’t think you look thin enough or if someone doesn’t like your hair cut or if someone doesn’t agree with your post? We worry too much about what others think, and part of it is because we expose ourselves too much to too many people…many of them who aren’t even really friends. Maybe we can learn to be open, even transparent, without worrying about what others think.

3)    We are nurtured to worry and we nurture others to worry. When others around you, especially children, hear and see you worrying (yes, it is palpable!) they are more likely to begin to worry as well. In a way, it can be contagious. And it can become a habit. A go-to emotion. We all know the expression “misery loves company” and we sure do want others to join us in our worry. We want others to agree with us and tell us we are right to be upset. But, why? Do we really want others to experience that negative emotion? What if we just ask for support without dragging others down? And what if we tried not to “go there” when others want us to? Boundaries are tough, but important.

4)    We actually don’t rely on our faith enough.  While I refuse to feel guilty when I am forgiven, I do believe there are times when I worry because I am not focusing enough on my faith. I can do all the “right things” such as praying and Bible study, but am I really, really, really focusing on the truth of God’s word and His will? Not when I spend my time ruminating over things that aren’t going perfectly. What about you?

Friends, there are lots of reasons why we worry. I know the last point above is true for me. Maybe the others are true too. But, the bottom line is that knowing this information won’t actually stop me from worrying. I have to completely redirect my focus and attention. I have to stop focusing on the negative. I have to stop being concerned about what others think about me, and focus on what God says about me. I have to stop bringing others to this place of worry with me, and stop allowing them to lead me to worry. And I must Trust. In. God.

Join me?

 

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It’s So Simple.

Just like last Saturday evening, I have found this one spent with the conclusion of another amazing book. It’s the true story of a woman named Katie, in her early 20s, from Tennessee who moved to Uganda at age 18, started a non-profit that sends over 400 children to school (which includes clothing, food, and supplies), and, oh, she is in the process of adopting 13 little girls. Yes, you read that right. Thirteen.

WHY?!? Why in the world would she do any of this? It sounds, well, crazy. One reason: Love. An overwhelming, undeniable, overflowing love that comes from Jesus.

In addition to caring for her own 13, and the hundreds of sponsored children that can often be found spread all over her property on Saturdays being fed meals they would otherwise miss, Katie also goes into the most destitute of places and provides food, medical supplies, clothing…and, most of all, hope. Did I mention that most of the time there are other children and adults in her home being taken care of? She and the girls nurse them back to health after they’ve acquired preventable illnesses and diseases. How about the countless trips to hospitals where she personally agrees to pay the bills these impoverished folks could never repay? Giving away her own meals and her own blankets and her own meager comforts for others. She does this and so much more…

I am in awe of this young woman. Yet, she says…”it’s so simple.” Not easy, mind you. But, simple. She is just following Jesus. Wherever He asks her to go. Whatever He asks her to do. Easy? No. Simple? Yes. I long for that kind of faith. Faith that leads to no more doubt or worry or uncertainty. Faith that leads to loving with the relentless love Katie demonstrates in a tangible way to countless of others. She shares that it is in her lack of head knowledge about where anything is going to come from that leads to utter and total dependence on God. And a deep, abiding faith in Him. I may not be called to a third world country. I may not even be called to leave America. But I am called. All followers of Christ are. What are we going to do about it? I pray we will all simply trust and obey.

Note: Katie’s heart for adoption is so evident, and helped spark an even further excitement in my own about our own adoption. Would you pray about joining us in our journey? You can read more HERE. You can also read more about Katie’s adventures in faith at www.kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com or her ministry at http://www.amazima.org/katiesbook.html.)

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God Is Able

I have this stack of books next to my bedside table. It started last fall when I went to some conferences and started collecting books. (Most were free!) Tonight, I decided I wanted to read one of the books in this stack. So, I naturally pulled the one off the top. And can I tell you how perfect it was for me at this very moment? It had been waiting there since October, but came at exactly the right time.

The book is God is Able by Priscilla Shirer. It is a powerful book about the real meaning behind one single verse in the Bible:

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. ~Ephesians 3:20-21

This entertaining and easy to read book was a reminder to me that God cares. About everything. And that He is way more equipped to handle anything that comes up in my life than I am. After all, He has already been there, done that. He goes before me. And you. He even gave us the Holy Spirit to pray for us when we can’t manage to utter a single word (Romans 8:26). Thank God for all he has done and all He will do. God can satisfy, strengthen, and sustains us. And HE deserves all our praise, honor, and glory.

I don’t know about you, but I really needed that reminder. Yes, God. Is. Able. Thank God He is.

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