Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NET)
What worries you? The impact of the pandemic? The safety of your family? Employment? Finances? Physical and mental health? Growing old? Life and Death? Relationships? The state of the US? The state of the church? Crime? What will happen in the future?
Many of us experience periods of worry in our lives without incident. Sometimes worrying has positive effects, prompting us to take safety measures (e.g., going to the doctor, buying health and life insurance, and avoiding unhealthy activities). However, there is a difference between a concern that motivates us and the anxiety that consumes us. Writer Erma Bombeck says, “Worry is like a rocking chair; it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.” While it seems productive, excessive worry causes restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and sleep disturbance. Idioms such as “worried sick” or “worried out of my mind” accurately describe extreme anxiousness.
The last time I felt this extreme anxiousness was when my daughter was in college. She lived on campus, and three young ladies bullied her for six months. As the situation escalated, I allowed my maternal feelings to intensify. Unable to sleep, I had difficulty concentrating at work or on my seminary studies. I wanted my daughter to move out of the dormitory and come home. Remarkably, it was my daughter who reminded me of the power of God, a lesson I had taught her! I will never forget her words: “Mom, if I leave now, I’m saying that prayer does not work, and God does not have the power to help me.” Her response reminded me that depending on human efforts is never the answer.
The book of Philippians reminds us that when we cannot rejoice in our circumstances, we can always rejoice in the Lord. And in Philippians 4:6-7, Paul provides specific help for worry and anxiety. So, make prayer a lifestyle. Pray about everything. When my prayer life changed, my thoughts and attitudes changed, and I have peace. Talk to God about your situation, and remember to give thanks. When we practice the discipline of prayer, the peace of God will control our hearts and our minds. He provides a calming reassurance that offers peace beyond our finite understanding!
What worries you at this moment as we approach the holiday season?
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
Talulah Ruger, RN, MSN (MACE, 2006) serves on the leadership team for the DTS-Houston Alumni Association. A retired oncology nurse, she is a Bible teacher, motivational speaker, and writer. Talulah is the CEO and founder of Talulah Ruger Ministries, a teaching ministry that inspires and motivates people 50 and over to use their faith experience and life stories to positively influence this generation and the next through intergenerational mentoring.
Photo by Tj Holowaychuk on Unsplash