I read a meme once that said that a worried mother can do more research and find more answers than the FBI. And I have to admit, it feels true in my life. I'm sure the FBI do a fabulous job of researching and finding answers. My job is to take care of my two children who both have special needs, and so I am constantly consulting Google to learn more about what could help my children, and it's also easy for me to find hundreds of things to worry about regarding them and their future.
No matter your worry or your anxiety, I'm sure you can relate to the desperate search for answers and solutions to whatever you are worried about.
Jesus told a parable about a sower spreading seed in Mark 4. The sower represents God, and the seed is the word of God, His promises and truths.
There was a group of people who never really received the word.
There were others who heard the word, but didn't really rely on the word and they died.
And finally, there were those who are the ideal seed, who "hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop-thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times what was sown," Mark 4:20.
But the group we're talking about today is the third type of seed, those who "like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful," (Mark 4:18-19).
The word worry is derived from a word that means to "strangle or choke," just like the worries of the world choked the seed and prevented its growth. Worry doesn't help us get anywhere, but it sure can stop us from being productive and trusting God. It can be paralyzing.
Oh, how often I find myself that third type of seed. I love God, I raise my hands to Him in praise and surrender on Sundays and during Bible studies, but when I come across a circumstance that seems overwhelming, well then cue the thorns.
There's a passage I'm sure you've read before. You may even have it memorized. But we're going to look at it with fresh eyes. Take it piece by piece. And make it applicable to our lives.
"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say, rejoice." Philippians 4:4
Well, if Paul had to say it twice, it must be important but also something we need to be reminded of often because it's challenging to do. If we are rejoicing in the Lord, we are focused on the good things, the blessings in our lives, and God, rather than the challenging circumstances in our lives. Like Peter, who was able to walk on water until he took his eyes off of Jesus and became fearful of the waves and began to sink, so we too must be focused on God, His blessings and His will for our lives.
"Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." Philippians 4:5
I've found that when we get anxious and fearful, we get irritable and demanding toward God. The disciples were terrified they would drown in the storm and demanded that He care about the situation. But Jesus was near the entire time. And He was disappointed that they didn't trust that He would help them through the storm. When we are fearful and anxious, that is all the more reason to seek God, and we are oh so likely to find His peace and comfort and protection then.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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 minds in Christ Jesus."
I love how this passage is worded in the Message version.
"Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life."
Ah, beautiful, isn't it? Letting praise and thanksgiving "shape your worries into prayers." God wants us to share our burdens with Him and He wants to remove the worry that is in our life.
Psalm 55:22 "Cast your cares on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never let you fall."
1 Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
To cast means "To throw forcefully in a specified direction." It means we no longer have control of it. It now belongs to whoever is nearest it, or catches it, in this case, God.
How do you cast your anxieties and worries to God? The secret is actually contained in the verse before what we just read.
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time," 1 Peter 5:6
To be humble means to think of yourself as less important than someone else. It means to view God as bigger than your own will, desires, plans. To relinquish control of your life and that of your children, and to trust Him. To recognize when we're not trusting him and releasing our worry. By entrusting it to God. And praying with thanksgiving, because we know our God is faithful.
There are a lot of verses throughout Scripture that we could read about not worrying, because there are so many assurances throughout Scripture that God is for us, that He wants to hear from us, that He wants us to experience peace and victory from our fears and our worries. Cling to that truth.
If you are struggling with worry and anxiety, I HIGHLY recommend the book Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman's Guide to Finding Contentment by Linda Dillow. It is awesome and changed my life, my perspective, and my anxious heart. 🙂
I also encourage you to subscribe to the blog and you'll receive a printable of 15 Scriptures to Pray When You're Struggling with Fear, as well as 30 Scriptures You Can Pray For Your Children.