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Stop Worrying and Start Receiving

Running ragged, chasing countless priorities, and exhausting ourselves with worry and anxiety isn't God's plan for our lives. That's actually what it looks like when you're relying on your own works rather than God's grace.

Do you lay in bed late at night, wishing you could fall asleep but you’re struggling to put your mind at ease? You worrying about life so much that you can’t stop to get the sleep your body and soul so desperately need.

And it’s not because you’re wrestling with these questions:

  • How’s my soul?
  • How’s my Christian witness at work?
  • How’s my prayer life?
  • How’s my church life?
  • How are my relationships with family, friends and God?

Instead, you’re worried about finding time for all the little things that must get done tomorrow: schoolwork, grocery shopping, work projects, household chores, etc.

If you’re worn out, exhausted and tired all the time, you’re not alone.  Sweating the small stuff and being anxious about the busyness of life is something we’re all prone to. Jesus knows this about us. That’s why He gave us these comforting words:

Don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

So much to do and so little time to do it.

A few weeks ago, I had a busy Saturday planned. I had neglected several projects around the house, and the weather was finally nice enough to get outside and work on them.

I needed to get some things at the hardware store, rake the last bit of leaves from last fall, mow the lawn, fertilize, weed, prune dead branches and tidy up the flower garden. And to create some additional anxiety, I set a deadline for early afternoon to have it all done.

I was busy and working hard, checking projects off my to-do list left and right.

But my arbitrary deadline was quickly approaching, and I had some ways to go. I was stressed about yard work (pathetic) and missing a deadline I made up out of thin air (even more pathetic). I didn’t realize how stressed I was at the time, but when I got a phone call from my wife my foolhardy anxiety hit a brick wall.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

“Hey, what’s up?” I asked nonchalantly. I wasn’t happy to take a break from my yardwork to answer the phone, but I tried to hide my frustration underneath my voice.

“I’ve just been in a really bad car accident,” my wife said, struggling to speak on the other side of the line.

Now, you’d think those words would be an instant wake-up call, returning me to reality like a princess magically freed from a witch’s spell. I’m ashamed to admit, however, that’s not what happened.

Rather than worrying about my wife and her well-being, I was still worrying about all the loose ends I wasn’t going to complete that Saturday. I got in my car to head her way and thought about what an inconvenience her car accident was. When was I going to have time to finish all my yardwork now?

I consciously chose to prioritize a lot of little things over my precious wife. The negligence and sinfulness of it is so blatant to me now, but I was too busy to recognize it at the time.

I was in work-until-you-drop mode and my priorities were misaligned. It’s not a good mode to be in. The name of the mode itself highlights the danger. You’ll continue working frantically until you drop or God drops something on you — whatever it takes to realign your divided and misguided attention.

That Saturday, I thought there was no stopping me. I was determined to be busy and check all the little things off my to-do list. But God had a different plan, and the thing about God’s plan is that it supersedes all others.

Seek the kingdom of God above all else.

There’s never enough time in the day to complete everything. We know this, so we make priorities and focus our efforts on certain activities. We make work, exercise, family, community service, dating and daily doses of entertainment priorities in our lives. But what Jesus recognizes — and what we often fail to recognize — is that we tend to make priorities out of the wrong things:

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life. (Matthew 6:24-25)

In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us not to worry about everyday life because you can’t serve God and be a slave to ________. Whether it’s money, clothes, food, your boss, your boyfriend or girlfriend, your church, your family, your sports team or your schoolwork, don’t worry about it. Instead, seek the kingdom of God above all else and He will give you everything you need (v. 33) … no worry necessary.

Are you choosing to prioritize a lot of little things over God? Look at your daily schedule. How much room do you leave in it for God’s gracious provision?

Running ragged, chasing countless priorities, and exhausting ourselves with worry and anxiety isn’t God’s plan for our lives. That’s actually what it looks like when you’re relying on your own works rather than God’s grace. You’re so busy working because you believe that your work is needed more than God’s gracious provision.

So, if you’re exhausted, worn out and worrying about life, stop working frantically and start resting in God’s grace. You can only do so much, but there’s no limit to what God can do. Trust and focus on Him above all else and He will give you everything you need.

Stop worrying and start receiving.

Copyright 2018 Marc Aker. All rights reserved.

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