We all tend to worry a lot.
We all do it – we worry about our jobs and our kids and our relationships and our money. We worry about war, and politics, and even the weather. Whatever it is – somebody, somewhere is actively stressed and worrying about something.
It could be something global: “Man, I hate to see those poor African kids on the tv infomercials – I worry about them so much…I wish that somebody could help them!” Or it could be something personal: “I’m so worried about my career. It’s going nowhere. This is awful!”
We worry about big stuff, and we worry about little stuff. We wring our hands, and talk about it incessantly over coffee, and we stare at our ceilings while we lay in bed and just wrack our brains seeking the solution to it all.
I had just lost my job one time. I stood in my kitchen, hand on the counter, and blabbered away to a friend about how awful this was, and what was I going to do, and the bills, and damn near hyper-ventilated myself into unconsciousness. My fears and anxiety was certainly justified, in that it was certainly not going to be an easy time. I would have to find a part-time job, cancel day care, and shut down any expense deemed extraneous. I had to brush up my resume, start networking, and beat the street like none other in order to find my next gig.
That episode in my kitchen was sometime in 2006. I can’t remember exactly when it was. Want to know why? It’s because it wasn’t important. While I stood in the kitchen and blabbed with my friend, he said, “Look, take a deep breath. Tell me – what is the absolute worst thing that can happen?” I sighed and told him about how I could potentially lose my car, and struggle for food, and would have to shut down this very phone I was talking on, and begin mowing lawns to make grocery money. “Ok”, he said. “So, are you going to die?” No you dolt, I said. “Are your kids going to die? Do you think you’ll have to lose your home? Will you be living on the street in a month, and do you think you will end up drunk in a gutter somewhere? Well, DO YOU?”
After a few minutes at being irritated at his line of questioning, ultimately, I had to take a deep breath and admit that things would probably be ok. They might not be easy, but yes, they would probably work out.
Friends, how many times have you had a complete FREAK OUT moment like me? Has it been a while, or did you have one just last week? Proverbs 19:21 is a favorite of mine: “Many are the plans in the mind of man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Many are the plans in the mind of man. Yeah, that sounds about right. I’ve got plans for this week, this month, this year, and this decade. I’ve got the entire dang thing planned out. I know exactly how it’s supposed to go, and let me tell ya, there is no deviation in my plan. My plans are many, and my plans are MINE.
And then things break down and don’t go as planned. You lose your job, you get sick, your car breaks down, your home burns down. Whatever it is, it WILL happen.
I’m not here to make light of REAL issues, either. I recently lost a family member. I had this same discussion with myself upon diagnosis: “Ok, what’s the absolute worst that can happen?” And yes, my answer was, “He will die.” But it didn’t change the plans of my God. I still had to sit there and cry it out and say, “Ok, then if that is what is to happen, the only thing I can do is navigate it in a way that is honoring of you, God.” And so I’d like to say that I did. I certainly had my moments, but what would my worrying have accomplished? Would it have changed anything? Nope. Would “life” still have followed the plan of God? The one that I really, really did NOT like and did not want to happen? Absolutely.
To have the trust in God that “things will just be ok” is not an easy one. Sometimes things don’t just work out. Sometimes everything falls apart and you really do find yourself homeless. Sometimes your friends and family (or you) actually die. Sometimes the worst that can happen really happens. And it’s utterly miserable. But all you have to hold to is the last part of the verse above: The purpose of the Lord will stand. That pain, that struggle, that fear that you are engulfed in is serving a purpose. It’s changing your life. It’s moving your heart. It’s following a story that was written for you before time began, and it is God’s purpose for you.
Sure, you can worry, and you probably will because you are a regular ol’ run-of-the-mill sinner, just like everyone. What I pray for you is that, at some point, you find the peace in the moment that God can provide, trust His plan, and make it your finest moment. Face the adversity, and re-emerge knowing that you tried to honor God throughout.
Don’t worry about the circumstance.
Instead, worry that you trust enough. If you do, life will be exponentially less scary.