Sunday, November 6, 2011

Worrier or Warrior??

"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done." 
 (Phil. 4:6, NLT)

I'm a natural-born worrier.  I'm really good at worrying.  And I've had a lot to worry about lately: How are we going to make ends meet financially when things are getting so expensive?  Am I doing a good enough job raising my children?  When will I find time to really get my house clean?  Is all of this Halloween candy going straight to my waistline?  Do I let my kids watch too much television?  Do they eat enough fruits and vegetables?  Am I following God's plan for my life?  My worries range from utterly insignificant to life altering.

My husband and I have a friend who is going through some pretty tough times in his life lately, and so many circumstances seem beyond his control.  He was joining us for dinner one night when I quoted Philippians 4:6 to him: "Be anxious about nothing; pray about everything."  Since then, that verse has just been rolling around in my head.  I don't know why it took so long, but FINALLY, after a week or so, it occurred to me that the verse is still in my mind because I need to apply it just as much as my friend does!  Sure, my circumstances aren't as tumultuous as his right now, but I've still been worrying about everything!  I've lost sleep, I've been crabby and short-tempered, I've missed out on too many sweet moments, all because I was too busy worrying.  Yep, I'm a really good worrier.

What I'd rather be is a warrior.  A prayer warrior, that is.  Philippians 4:6 tells us not to worry about anything, but pray about everything.  Before my day even begins, I should be praying for God's guidance and help to accomplish all that He puts before me.  I should pray for wisdom in my parenting, for self-control when it comes to the Halloween stash.  If it warrants anxiety, it warrants a moment of prayer.  I checked four or five different translations of Phil. 4:6 and they all use the word "everything" when it comes to prayer.  Not "some things" or "the really important things."  EVERYTHING.  I love how The Message paraphrases the verse: "Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns."  God wants us to tell Him what's bothering us.  If nothing else, when we turn our worries into prayers, we're relinquishing control of those things.  Sure, they're not always going to be extremely significant issues, but by praying about them we're confessing that God is in ultimate control of our lives, even the minute details.

The very best part of relinquishing our worries and offering them up instead as prayers is the freedom that results.  Verse 7 of Philippians 4 says, "Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." The Message says it like this: "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."  Wow.  That kind of peace is definitely something I want -- and desperately need -- in my life.  The stress, the mood swings, the sleepless nights that come with a life of worry will all be replaced with calmness and peace when we consistently surrender our worries to God.  How much richer and fuller would life be if we would allow Christ to consume us instead of our worries.

So, I'm ready to stop wasting my time and energy being a worrier, and instead become a prayer warrior.  I plan to work harder at turning my worries into prayers, allowing God to turn my anxiety into peace.  After all, "Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?...Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." (Matthew 6:27, 33. NLT)

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