A Lesson in Keeping Calm

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
Matthew 6:25-27

This post took me a long time to write, because in this passage Jesus is telling his disciples to do something that seems humanly impossible. He’s telling them not to worry. And not just in a general feel-good off handed way, but literally. He is saying that even clothes and food and water – the very primitive foundations of life – are not worth fussing about because the Father knows of these needs and he will provide them.

This message is intended for you and I to take literally as well.

Looking it up in the dictionary, I found that worry means to give way to anxiety or unease; to allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles. This is a perfect definition, because when are we the most anxious? When we are focusing all our attention and energy on what’s wrong.

But what does Jesus say? In verse 33 he tells us what to do when our thoughts are weighing us down and causing us to be overwhelmed with worry:

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

This is our hope. This is what he tells us to do. He tells us to pick our eyes up off our troubles and consider the Kingdom of God.

Instead of letting our hearts grow sick with worry, let’s seek the Kingdom of God by asking ourselves the following questions:

How does God want me to respond to this?

What does obedience look like here?

Instead of dwelling on this, how can I trust God?

These questions will help us start to take a step back and give us space to think about what God sees that we don’t. There is life on the other side of this practice of seeking first the Kingdom of God.

I’ve learned that if Jesus says it, there is freedom on the other side of it. We can be certain that a calmer, more peaceful mind awaits us on the other side of our obedience.

Believe it

Sometimes in the morning, before our day gets started, we need to be reminded of a very impactful truth: God loves us.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

In Micah 6:8 we are told what is good and what the Lord requires of us. He says to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

He doesn’t plan disaster for us. He plans good things, and to give us a future and a hope. He doesn’t ask for the world from us, only to do what is right, love mercy, and walk respectfully with him.

What does that mean for today?

It means that God cares about your day today. Believe it.

It means that he desires good things for you. Stop running away.

It means that we have a choice whether or not to do the right thing. Pay attention.

It means that we are required to offer mercy. Soften your heart.

It means we need to admire the Lord and hold him in high esteem. Be a student of him.

We can get distracted and disengaged quickly. So take it a little slower today. Be in the moment. Don’t rush. Be present with the Lord. Keep your heart open to his voice. He will direct your steps.

Why?

Because he loves you.

 

 

Keep Walking

Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!” Psalm 13:4 NLT

I’m on board with what you’re doing, Lord. I am laying aside my own plans so that I can have a part in yours. Show me what you would like me to do. Help me to know your voice and to stand firm on what you’ve said.

This verse in Psalm 13 stuck out to me the other morning, and the prayer above is what I wrote in my journal. I keep going back and forth between feeling pretty confident of the things that God has called me to do, and thinking that I’m way off base and I’m trying to manufacture a calling that he never actually issued. Have you ever felt that way?

Have you ever been doing something for God and felt conflicted, wondering if it was actually God who asked you to do it or if you were mistaken? Maybe it was actually just your own idea? It’s such a hard place to be in. It paralyzes you so that you can’t do anything. You want to do what the Lord asks, but you get trapped in fear that he never asked you to do it in the first place. And so the battle rages on.

My husband had some wonderful advice when I told him about my conflicting emotions. In a nutshell, he told me not to let the enemy win by succumbing to doubt, meaning that the enemy will try to put a halt to things by making me just unsure enough to stop moving. In light of that, I need to keep walking in obedience until I know otherwise.

I don’t want to look back a year from now and realize I’m still in this place of uncertainty – waffling back and forth and back and forth. I want to be so far down the track that this is just a distant memory.

If that’s you and you’ve experienced what I have where you’re so scared to do the wrong thing that you just stop and stand still, then start again. Move forward. But do so in faith and in prayer. I believe God will show us when we need to change directions. Or, he’ll address a heart issue when it’s needed. But we’re not to stop serving him. We’re not to stop ministering to people and pointing them to Jesus.

Let’s spend time in the Word this week and dedicate time to prayer. To be honest, it all comes down to this anyway. If we ask God to show us his will for us, I know he will do so.

Move forward in faith, and trust that God is going to determine your steps.