Today I wanted to share with each of you what seems to consume us at times in our lives, WORRY. There are many things we find ourselves worrying about. Are we going to meet the deadline? Are we going to have enough money at the end of the month? Am I ever going to find a job I enjoy? Will I ever get married? So many worries, and so much time lost worrying. I cannot help but recognize what Jesus teaches about worry, but more importantly asks…Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? (Matthew 6:27)
This past weekend I able to teach about this excerpt from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount(Matthew 6:25-34) to our children at Lutheran Church of Hope Ankeny. It was a focus during our weekend services as Pastor Scott Rains shared a message(listen here). I hope to continue to encourage and provide you with resources to help you consider what God is speaking to you through my writing. I believe He is alive and well in our lives, and I know that I cannot take credit for what begins to stir in your heart after you take time to read what I have shared and/or what I have resourced you with such as scripture references, message links, book recommendations or videos. So as you read today, I want you to consider what are you worrying about today?
Worries come in all shapes and sizes. In specific as of recent I have found worry hanging out in the sphere of work. Will I have enough time to do what I need to do. Hear me loud and clear, what me, myself and I need to do. Where does our need to do something come from? I am walking through a 21 day prayer devotion with my children’s ministry staff and God revealed to me something worth pondering. Much of the worry that we may face as it relates to expectations comes from ourself or others. God didn’t intend us to worry. Many of the agendas we encounter in this world are created by imperfect humans. As a result we often find ourselves trying to meet up to the expectations of others. I believe that we have responsibilities that are important to do our best to manage. This is a sweet spot for worry to hang out and if we were to be honest with ourselves and considered what it would look like to Take God Seriously in this arena of our life, we would be evaluating the expectations He has for us, learning to discern His plan! So let’s address this worry, is it imposed on you by expectations of others or self imposed?
It may not take too long to realize that the source of worry comes back to one of these realms and we are setup to fail, primarily because we encounter unrealistic expectations. Part of the process to remove worry is to evaluate many of the expectations in our lives, where do they come from, how do we manage them and what is the result of meeting up to the expectations? This process has allowed me to take on a new view when it comes to managing these expectations. God made it clear to me that I am limited in my capacity, and in many cases it is only through His power that a task is completed. I have come to know and understand that it is His plan that will be carried out, regardless of how I plan for execution. In many cases my plan and intentions, have not been carried out perfectly or as I had hoped. On the back end I trust that God will do what He needs to in His time. I just hope and pray that each day that I will do my best!
Last night as I was preparing for our first night of PowerLife, our Junior High Ministry, time ran out to do everything I had hoped before the leaders and the students and it would have been easy to let the worry creep in. I turned over some of the details to God and simply did my best! Again, I look back on last night and recognize that I might have expected to do too much in preparation and was setting myself up for failure. However what has been revealed in conversation with others and quite time this week, is that there is only one way to overcome worry. It comes from the passage referenced earlier when Jesus challenges the people when He says, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33) Are you hearing this? Jesus not only is preaching this to the people of His time, but to us today! Seek the Kingdom of God! Above everything else! First! He(God) will give us everything we need! Let that soak in. Our needs that we come up with on our own, are not His needs. Do you believe this? Do you believe that God will provide your needs?!
Much of our worry as it relates to what we need comes from our own selfish desires and expectations, we find ourselves worrying to meet our needs, that we created. Get rid of worry by asking God what He wants for us. Ask God what our true needs are! If this is new for you, please reach out to me. I would love to talk through this, because I find worry fleeing as I have put more and more trust in God. When the worry was removed last night as I turned it over to God, I was living the freedom of His presence as I delivered a message He had placed on my heart to share with the students and leaders. If you turn your worry over to God, how might you better perform at whatever it is you are doing today? What freedom will it bring you? Your worry may be coming from the expectations of the world, so be mindful to evaluate. Turn the worry over and simply do your absolute best in the time you have today! The Word comes from God through Jesus, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Give your best today…as a parent, child, friend, employee, athlete…in whatever you do! Don’t worry, just give your best! I will pray that in your best, God will carry out His plan!