As I write this, my house is empty (thank you Luke!), my to-do list has been appropriately managed, and my writing space is in order. My feet are enveloped in my coziest of slippers and my comfort blanket is draped across my lap. It has all the makings of a perfect blogging day, but I can’t seem to get started. My screen remains blank because my brain just won’t stop spiraling and I can’t quite settle on how to begin this post. Even when I have nothing that “should” be bothering me, I’m worrying—about how to write a post about worry. Oh, the irony.
So I do what I always do when I don’t know how to begin: I set my fingers on the keyboard and I let them fly, writing out whatever comes to mind and releasing all expectations for where I want my words to go. Some days this leads to a complete dumpster fire of a post that isn’t fit for public consumption. Some days it leads to something decent. Today. . . well, that remains to be seen.
Alright, Kendra, it’s time to FOCUS! On this particular post. About worry. Which is something you obviously do with great frequency. Deep breaths . . . . I’ll be right back.
Okay, are you still here? I stepped away from the computer for a few minutes to make myself some tea, and while the water was heating up I had a little chat with God. I invited Him into this writing process, something I always *intend* to do when I sit down to blog but sometimes forget. As I prayed, God called to mind a sermon I heard just a few weeks ago on this very passage. I just pulled out the notebook where I had jotted takeaways from that sermon; allow me to share a few of the highlights:
+ Most of the battles we face in this life are the result of our pursuing earthly values. Our anxiety is largely associated with getting or losing earthly treasure—those transient things that may help us enjoy life but don’t actually give life.
+ Anxiety reveals our true hearts. What we worry about is a window into what matters most to us. When we worry about earthly things, we see how we have given top priority to those things.
+ We often try to quell our anxiety by first making plans, then inviting God in to our plans. We ask God to bless OUR will rather than conceding to HIS will. Then, if God isn’t faithful to blessing the life we’ve determined we should live, we become more anxious, thinking that God isn’t there or that He doesn’t care.
It was an excellent sermon. The pastor dug into much more, but even these three points have given me a lot to ponder—and a lot to make me feel convicted! Nearly all of my worries (including worry over what to write about) stem from a pursuit of earthly things. Some of those earthly things, like food and clothing and shelter, are practical (but even those worries aren’t justifiable), but many of the earthly things giving me worry are entirely driven by fleshly desires or superficial preferences or my own ego. In this worry-prone posturing, even a post about God can quickly morph into personal concerns about what others may think of my writing or how I may come across. In a self-absorbed moment, this thing I enjoy doing ceases to be the life-giving practice it can be and becomes a spiritual drain.
My misplaced motives were exposed today as I sat down to write on my timeline and with an idea of how I thought things should go. I did not have a Kingdom mindset as I pulled out my laptop, and that quickly opened the floodgates for anxious thoughts to come pouring in. Those anxious thoughts might very well have overpowered me if I had not paused to reach out to my Divine Lifesaver to pull me up from the pools of worry and into His secure embrace. From the security of His arms, I gain a clear perspective on what matters most, what is not worth worrying about, and which paths to pursue. Today, that path is one of trust that God will use my offering of words here to reach whoever needs to read this in some small way.
Before I wrap up this rather unconventional post, I want to share one more thing from that pastor’s sermon that was especially revelatory for me. Many of us, when we read that God will provide for all of our needs as He provides for the flowers and the birds, assume that when we choose to put our trust in God we will never have a need that goes unmet. Life has shown this not to be true: children do go hungry; individuals do lose their homes; families are not always able to pay their bills; lives are cut short. So was Jesus lying when He promised to take care of us? Not at all!
Our assumption that Jesus’s promise to take care of us will translate to a charmed life relies on a false understanding of what our “needs” actually are. We know from Scripture that our PRIMARY PURPOSE on earth is to glorify God with our lives and to live out His will (Ephesians 2:10). When we reprioritize this as our solitary need, we see that God always has and always will equip us with all we need to fulfill our life’s purpose. Even when physical “needs” go unmet, God promises to empower us to glorify Him and to pursue His will. God will never fail to meet the only need that every really mattered.
The birds of the air and the flowers of the field cannot help but fulfill their God-given purposes of bringing glory to the Lord. When we set aside our worries to pursue the Lord and His Kingdom and righteousness we, too, will be given all we need to glorify God. That is one thing we really don’t need to worry about.