I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but I think it would be easy in this season to identify the things that are unknown.
We’ve seen reports of what is happening in other places in the world and those questions explode into our mind. Will the same happen to us? Is our situation going to end up better, worse, or the same? In my mind the questions just roll.
Plus, those concerns are the big-time world-wide type. Things can get even more uncertain when we focus on our daily lives. How long can I stretch my families groceries? When do my kids get to go back to school? Will anyone in my family get sick? Why won’t Walmart let me set a grocery pickup time before the end of April?
But even when things seem dark and uncertain, it’s important to remember that it’s ok if we don’t have the answers.
Being unable to get an instant answer is unsettling to us. After all, it’s 2020! Anything we want to find out is readily available and if it doesn’t exist there’s probably going to be a Wikipedia entry within the next couple of weeks!
So it’s uncomfortable when we don’t know what’s to come and when we feel like we’re not in control of what’s next. Yet, God asks us to be good stewards (see Luke 16:10, Gen 2:15, Rom 12:1) of the things he trusts us with, BUT he also asks us to rely on him for what’s next.
Worry happens when we get overwhelmed with uncertainty. And it doesn’t take much for worry to evolve and grow into anxiety. Anxiety is often described as when you have your mind focused on two, or more, separate things. It often comes with feelings of uneasiness, lack of control, and nervousness.
When worry or anxiety creep in it’s actually not a surprise to God. He’s well aware of where we’re at and what we’re going through. When we feel anxious, He’s not surprised or disappointed. But He doesn’t want us to stay there. It’s what we do in those moments that counts.
In Philippians 4:6-7 God tells us:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
When anxiousness overcomes us, we have a choice to make. We can continue to be anxious or we can choose to fill that anxiousness with something else. God offers a way out, by handing it all to Him.
He says if you’re anxious, replace that with thanksgiving. Make the swap!
Pray to God, dump all your worries out to Him, and continue to do that over and over again until your anxious moments are removed and instead are filled with peace – even a peace that doesn’t make sense. I think that’s a pretty sweet trade, don’t you?!
But let’s be honest, if you spend time looking for something to be anxious about, even subconsciously, you’ll certainly find it. There’s always something you can’t control or something that you can fill your time with by worrying about.
In those times you have to choose thanksgiving. It won’t be easy and it might not even be satisfying in the moment, but you have to choose peace and thanksgiving. Preach to your heart, sometimes even moment by moment, and remind yourself of what good things there are to be thankful for. Let God meet you there and give you his peace that will guard you from all unknowns.
In our house, a practice that we’re trying to adopt even more is when either my wife, Kristin, or I start to feel overwhelmed with uncertainty and anxiety, the other will simply say, “Ok, what are we thankful for?” Then we make a list. Sometimes it’s short and other times its long, but we keep going until we can discover something we’re truly thankful for. Then we offer up those things in pray to the Lord.
So let me ask you, right now, why don’t you pause for just a moment? Take time to be still and ask God’s Spirit to help write thanksgiving on your heart. Write those things down and give them back to God in prayer. Then claim the peace that is yours in Christ Jesus!
- Andy Hodges
Lakeland Kids Elementary Director