If you have a smartphone, you’re probably familiar with the Reminder app. I am known to work that app on the hour like a rented mule. As a general rule, if I’m not taking a task on right now, I better make a note in my phone or it may not get done. While I can still easily rattle off my childhood home phone number, these days I commit very little to memory. I have unfortunately come to rely upon that handy device that is close by 24/7.
It may not be required these days to commit many things to memory. However, there’s a vital resource we cannot afford to pawn off to another medium of input. The living Word of God is of greater significance to us with each passing day. As if on a perpetual repeat cycle of the soul’s playlist, Philippians 4:6-9 has been working its way through the daily collection of Spirit-led reminders of my heart, my mouth, my family, my conversations.
Let’s work our way through this series of verses together, beginning with Paul’s simple, to-the-point directive in verse 6.
Don’t worry about anything. Pray about everything.
Now, I grew up on the King James Version of Scripture and certainly give it my utmost respect. But the New Living Translation breaks the meaning of these verses down to an embarrassingly easy, yet challenging, formula.
- Don’t worry about anything.
- Pray about everything.
Anything. Everything. Those are rather exclusive and demanding extremes. No asterisks that make room for addendums or exclusions.
”Don’t worry about ANYTHING.” Is that even possible? Paul challenged us to work toward that, yes. Sometimes I think we don’t intend to worry but allow ourselves the privilege of thinking over situations we can do nothing about. Or perhaps we don’t require ourselves to name the things that are draining our trust that God can handle them. I’ve come to realize that the days that I am battling worry the most is when I am attempting to manage situations without allowing God in on the process. I’m trying to just take care of business on my own.
On the days you struggle most with worry, require yourself to write the worries down. Actually name them. Take the time to ask yourself the hard questions and answer honestly. What is really causing the drama in my heart and mind today? It’s likely that once you start breaking down the source of the distress, you might find you’ve given it too much power or you just might realize, this isn’t really worth the emotional trauma I’m causing myself.
There’s coming a day, or a series of days, however, in each of our lives where worry will consume us. The situation is heavy. The bank account is dangerously low. The daughter is too far beyond reach. The marriage has been tested mercilessly. The doctor’s report is terrifying. How do you not worry about anything? By praying about EVERYTHING.
How do you not worry about anything? By praying about EVERYTHING.
That’s far too simple, you might be thinking. Not if we trust God’s Word is true.
The truth is, when we worry, we are essentially telling God He needs our help. That He can’t handle the situation without the wringing of our hands, the gnawing in our stomachs, or endless conversations with friends, family, even strangers about the dire status of the dilemma.
He’s God. He can handle it.
Right about now you’ll find this verse plastered on my kitchen’s chalkboard. It’s written on index cards and tucked into my daughters’ lunchboxes. It’s lacing most conversations I am having, internally and with others–because I am tempted to worry. I love to improve things. I’m a recovering perfectionist! But at the end of the day, my efforts fail every time, especially when they’re embellished with disobedience to the apostle Paul’s reminder: don’t worry.
Could it be that Paul, while reminding the Philippians, was reminding himself?
”Don’t worry about those who are trying to kill you as you journey to your next stop.”
”Forget about the backbiting saints who hate you for blowing their cover.”
”Let go of who you once were before God intervened.”
”Quit trying to be all things to all people. Stay in your lane with the Gentiles.”
”Maybe the ship won’t crash this time.”
We could all use a fresh reminder of this timeless truth right about now. Maybe today’s a good time to find that Reminder app after all and load it up with two new entries:
- Don’t worry.
- Just pray.
Waging war on worry,