The Weeds of WorryBy Trillia Newbell | January 28th, 2013 | Category: Uncategorized | 9 comments
I was six teen when the first seeds of worry were planted in my heart. My father was out of work that whole year. While the rest of my friends planned parties to celebrate their special year, I hid away in my bedroom, lost in a sea of uncertainty, worry, and fear. Those seeds of worry quickly sprouted and grew like weeds, entangling itself all around my heart. Worry continued to thrive and grow during my college years where I stressed over every test, project, and of course, the wedding plans.
Worry then continued its growth into my early marriage, graduate school years, and into my career. But it was when I became a mother that worry grew into full bloom in my heart. Motherhood became rich fertile soil for worry to thrive. It wrapped itself tightly around my heart, choking out joy and peace. The reasons to worry were many: my son’s chronic illness, sleep problems, parenting uncertainties, my husband’s hectic work schedule, money concerns, and so much more.
What mother doesn’t worry? In our world, it’s an expected response to life’s challenges and uncertainties. Television comedies make fun of that worrisome mother who frets over every little thing. When we get together with other mothers, we share our worries and sometimes even try to out worry one another.
The truth is, worry is an acceptable sin. It’s considered natural and normal to worry. How could anyone expect otherwise? As mothers, we love our children and only want the best for them. We hate to see them sick, wounded, or struggling. How could any loving mother not worry over unexpected or unwanted circumstances in our children’s lives?
In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6, he told his listeners “do not worry.”
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:25-27)
This little command, tucked away between seeking treasures in heaven and not judging others, was one I had always read, memorized even. But it was when my own worries had suffocated me to the point of expiration that I began to wonder, what would my life be like if I didn’t worry? And how could I even stop?
It was my pastor who pointed out to me the cure for my worries. In the midst of a dark and dreary time in my life, I sat down with him to share the burdens of my life. I felt overwhelmed and simply could not bear the thought of my life continuing down the same path for years to come. Fearing the future, I told him I just was not strong enough to handle everything that life had thrown at me.
I proceeded to tell him all the things I had already tried to do in order to help alleviate my stress and worries– reading my bible, praying, talking with friends, taking time to myself, etc. He responded by saying, “I hear you telling me about everything you are doing but what about what Christ has already done? How are you resting in the work Christ has already done for you at the cross?” He went on to remind me of the gospel of grace and its power to free me from my sin, not just at my initial salvation, but each and every day. He pointed out that I was already holy and perfect in God’s eyes because of Christ’s work for me. I left the church office that day realizing that instead of worrying about what I couldn’t do, I needed to rest in what Christ already did and continues to do for me.
Since that conversation with my pastor, I’ve looked at worry differently. I’ve come to see that it is a matter of trust. Just as oil and water do not mix, neither does worry and trust. During that difficult time in my life, I had not been trusting in Christ and what he did for me. Instead, I tried to handle life on my own. I tried to bear my burdens and worries in my own strength. I even tried to anticipate what would happen in the future so that I could be prepared for whatever trials were on the horizon.
Trusting God is like a poison to worry, causing it shrivel up and die. Saturating my heart in the truths of the gospel drowns the roots of worry and they lose their grip on my heart. Remembering and dwelling on what Christ has already done by making me a child of God, gives me greater trust in what he is doing in me now and what he will do in the future.
As Jesus pointed out in Matthew 6, our heavenly Father knows all that we need. Because of Christ’s sacrifice for us, we have become children of God. And as his children, we are more valuable than the birds of the air and flowers of the field which he feeds and dresses each day. There is nothing that happens in our lives outside of his control. He is never surprised or caught off guard by the unexpected events in our lives. He is never tired or weary from the burdens and cares of this life.
Because he is a faithful God, we can trust him to take care of our every need. Because He is our loving Father, we can trust him to handle the worrisome crises and circumstances in our lives. And because Jesus took on the worst event and circumstance of our entire life—the curse of sin—we can expect and trust him to carry all our daily worries, burdens and cares.
“He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” Psalm 112:7
Christina Fox is a homeschooling mom, licensed mental health counselor, writer, and coffee drinker, not necessarily in that order. She lives in sunny S. Florida with her husband of sixteen years and their two boys. You can find her sharing her faith journey at www.toshowthemjesus.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ToShowThemJesus.
photo credit: by africa on freedigitaldownload.com