“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.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
I come from a long line of worriers. It seems something in our DNA causes our minds to jump to the scariest and most irrational of conclusions.
The first night at home after dropping my elementary-age daughters at summer camp for a week brought an onslaught of irrational possibilities and worst-case scenarios to mind, especially regarding my youngest as a first-time camper.
What if the emoji string lights we plugged in over her bed cause a fire and burn the whole cabin down? What if she has to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, forgets she’s on a top bunk and falls to the floor, breaking both legs? What if she starts sleepwalking — right into the lake?
The what-ifs of life give us the opportunity to react in a number of ways. When I was living alone in my early 20s, I’d call my mom in the middle of the night if there was too much weighing on my mind. In the beginning years of marriage, my deeply sleeping husband would get a nudge if fear or doubt prevented sleep.
And while they would both do their best to listen and help me in those wee hours of the morning, it was not until my faith deepened a few years later that I began seeking conversations with Jesus in the middle of those sleepless nights.
Scripture says that if we present our requests to God (even if they include irrational fears about string lights), He will provide us with peace. We find this in Philippians 4:6-7, "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."
And this is not just any peace, but heavenly peace that goes beyond anything we can comprehend. What a blessing it is that we can call out to God in the middle of the night, and He’ll greet us with open arms. Never will there be a time when He brushes us off or is too sleepy to listen to our pleas. God will never belittle or trivialize fears. He will simply listen and ask us to lay our problems of the day at His feet, bathing us in a soothing balm of comfort and rest.
You might not be able to curb irrational thoughts as they creep into your mind. You are human, after all. But you can control how you react to them. And the beauty of it is that God is always awake and ready to hear your deepest concerns, fears and doubts, no matter the hour, and no matter how silly they seem.
The next time you find yourself staring at the ceiling, tempted to pick up the phone or nudge your spouse awake, proactively seek Jesus, and become a warrior against worry.
Dear Lord, forgive me for letting worry get in the way of a joyful life and restful sleep. Please help me come to You with any burdens that creep into my mind. Help me lay my fears at Your feet and rest in the knowledge that You are greater than any fears I may have and hold me in the palm of Your hand. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Matthew 6:25-27, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (NIV)
John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (NIV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND
Do you find yourself worrying about the same things repeatedly? Select an area of your life that’s causing ongoing distress, and commit to praying daily for God to loosen the grip of worry on this specific issue.
Join the conversation, and share your thoughts in our comments section about overcoming worry.
© 2019 by Kelly Barbrey. All rights reserved.