by Nancy Howell
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray.
Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.
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.
Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG)
Hmmm….read that again, sisters. That passage, so beautifully translated by The Message, gives very simple directions. “Don’t fret or worry…”
Hello. My name is Nancy. I am a worrier.
Let me rephrase that–I am a recovering worrier. Much like other addicting habits of indulgence, worrying is hard to wrestle free from.
I should know, I’ve struggled with the addiction of worry the majority of my life.
Worry nags at you, whispering quietly, “You’re not good enough…” “you’ll never finish this project on time” “you’re unprepared, per usual!”
My spouse was not a worrier. In fact, he remains the most laid-back, easy going, put together person I have ever known.
Whenever he would sense (or hear) my angst, he had one response: “Sweetie, worrying doesn’t do you any good. Nothing productive comes from worry. Do your best, let it go, and always remember ‘EGBAR’….Everything’s Going to Be Alright!” And with that, he’d go on his merry way.
Sometimes I swear I could hear him whistling a happy tune as our conversation concluded. Throughout our years together, during particular situations he simply would look into my eyes, smile and say, “EGBAR.” He knew I needed reminding. And it helped.
After his death, I didn’t worry about anything. Call me crazy (and you wouldn’t be the first!), but for months I was on auto-pilot.
Looking back, I realize I didn’t worry because I was bathed in God’s light. I felt as if my boys and I were being carried around on the most comfortable mattresses possible, with nothing around nearby to touch or harm us. We were completely surrounded by prayers, protected from the world.
Unfortunately, that total feeling of comfort and protection did not last. I began to relapse back into old habits, worrying about our sons, finances, major life decisions, future goals, life in general. I no longer had Mark alongside me, whispering “EGBAR”.
I struggled to leave the worrying at God’s feet, praying for answers to questions nagging at my soul. As I cleaned up my kitchen late one night, I glanced at the plaque prominently displayed by my sink. Given to me by Mark’s special angel, his ICU nurse who lovingly cared for him during his last days here on earth, it quotes Philippians 4:13.
God makes it so simple.
Why do we have to make it so hard?
“Instead of worrying, pray…”
Give your petitions and worries to God, fashioning them into prayers. Your concerns matter to Him.
“Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down…”
I’ve often read that the absence of fear is faith. Faith is believing that God will bring you through whatever situation you are in.
As widows, we come to God’s throne in many different circumstances. Some of us struggle with loneliness, while others may be financially strapped.
Some have to uproot and move to strange new surroundings, soon after losing our significant others. Others are left alone with child rearing responsibilities. And believe me, it takes both a mother and a father when possible to raise a child in the way that God wants.
Whatever our personal situation, our spiritual circumstances can be the same. Have faith, not fear. Allow your Heavenly Father to tote your heavy load. His shoulders are strong and He can handle whatever you put at His feet. “everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down…”
If the absence of fear is faith, I want to proclaim that the absence of worry is trust.
The absence of worry is TRUST. As my sweet husband told me countless times, worry doesn’t do anyone any good–except the devil. He is behind your worries. He is the one whispering you aren’t capable. He is the one causing you to lose sleep as a dozen different issues run through your mind. Don’t give him the satisfaction. There’s only One that can silence him–God.
God is beside you. Regardless. He is simply waiting for you to TRUST Him to take your worries.
Remember, there’s nothing that our God cannot do. Surrendering, trusting, giving your burdens to Him, even in the midst of enormous grief and shifting sand, can free you. Free you to be what God wants you to be.
He has a plan. It may not be the plan you wanted, but it’s a plan, nonetheless. Leave your worries at His feet.
“It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life..”
In worry’s place? Trust. Pure, loving, simple, and soothing.
EGBAR, dear sisters. If God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are for us, who can be against us?
I praise Your name for the ability to take all of our worries. Help us let go of them. It’s hard to let go, walk away, and not try to pick them back up. That’s where trust comes in. We trust You to handle the worrying part. Transform us so that worry is no longer the center of our existence. We want You to be the center. Continue to bless each and every sister that struggles with turning worry into trust. It’s an ongoing process. Thank You most of all for Your patience as we give You our all. In Jesus’ name I ask it all, Amen.