Tuesday, February 28, 2012

All this worry, worry, worry

I read a blog post the other day by a woman who gave up worrying for Lent. She tells of her experience dealing with the sin of worry. I haven't been able to quit thinking about it. The "sin" of worry. Worrying is a sin. Ouch. I have struggled with worry and anxiety for a long time. I accepted it as my normal and have tried different tricks to overcome it or ignore it. Though some have worked in varying degrees, they don't get to the root of the problem, the root of my sin. The problem is that I don't trust God. The problem is that my view of who God is and what he does isn't the same as who God says he is and what he says he does. I think my life should be easy. I think nothing bad should ever happen to me, that God should protect me. I think that hard things aren't fair and that other people have life easier than I do. But none of that is true. More bluntly put, they are lies straight from Satan himself and undermine my relationship with Christ.

You see, I've gotten into this habit of thinking I deserve the things I want and thinking that Christ owes me something. It all started innocently enough, I'm sure, since I have not consciously said "God, you owe me." It has been more subtle than that. I start looking at people around me and the lives they lead. I want what they have- happiness, money, no worries, a nice home, a good job, etc. They give glory to God for all they have and it makes me ask, "Where are you God? Why don't you answer my prayers the way you answer theirs?"

And you see, that is my problem. As someone said, "Comparison is the thief of joy." I took my eyes off Jesus and began looking at everyone else around me. I began to falter. Then I fell into sin. I envied, I coveted, I worried. I stopped trusting God and instead looked to other things for my security- Micah, money, a job. Then it expanded to other things. I began thinking that if I looked better or talked better (no Southern accent) then things would be different and I would be happy. If only I had this or that or could travel here or there I would enjoy life so much more. If only I knew how to shoot a gun or had an alarm or lived behind a gate then I would be safe. If I had money then I could pay off our student loans, buy a house or rent a nice one, not have to worry about rising gas prices. But...BUT...NONE of that matters. Luke 17:33 says, "If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it" (NLT). And I get it now. It's not that I will die (though eventually we all will unless Jesus comes back before then). It's that I will be miserable and miss out in life as I do everything in my power to save my life and attain all these things and compare myself to other people (I can't take credit for this idea. I read it somewhere recently as someone explained Luke 17:33, but I can't remember where/who). John 10:10 says that Christ came so we could have abundant life. That life is exactly what I lose when I take my eyes off Christ.

So by now you may be wondering how we got here from the title of this post. Simply put: worry is a sin. Sin and a misunderstanding of who God is and what he does lead me to doubt God's goodness. That leads me to worry. If I get rid of the sin, I can get rid of the worry. It sounds simple, but I am struggling. As I type this I am trying not think about the storms forecast for tomorrow (and Friday, for that matter). Most people who know me know how scared I am of severe storms and tornadoes. It is a battle for me. I have learned that there is healthy concern and having a watchful eye, but for me that often turns to plain worry about something bad happening. I have lived through bad storms and even a tornado. It was terrifying. But ya know what? Even if a bad storm hits my town or my home, God still holds me in the palm of his hand. Even if I lose all material possessions, God is still good and he is still faithful. Even if I lose my life- glory to God! Satan can never, ever take me from God's hand. As the song says: "No power of hell, no scheme of man could ever pluck me from his hand. Til he returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I stand." That is my life song and I sing at the top of my lungs any time we sing it in church. It is what I want for my life- a heart so tuned to Jesus that I don't fear hard times or even death. I simply trust God and who he is. Please be praying for me. I know many others fight this battle of worry and I pray in Christ's name that he would break the chains of worry on all of us. This may be a lifelong long battle for me (I hope not), but I claim victory in the name of Jesus!

I will leave you with the lyrics of "In Christ Alone." I pray you will be blessed and when you hear it maybe you will think of me and pray for me. And when I hear it, I will praise God for who is he and pray for all of you who are in this battle against worry with me.

"In Christ Alone"

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh

Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay

Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,

This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

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