Worry is one of those things that can distract us from focusing upon the Lord and His will for our lives. Worry is a feeling of uneasiness, apprehension, or dread usually related to negative thoughts of something that may happen in the future. Worry can consume people like a man-eating shark imbedding its sharp teeth into soft flesh. It can rip and tear away hunks of faith and inner peace from the body of life. When such fear strikes, atheists suddenly seek the comfort of the Creator and saints begin to confess their sins.
Worry and fear are no respecter of persons. Have you ever wrestled with them? They creep into our lives without regard to our position, power, or authority. There are all kinds of worries and fears we can focus on. Maybe you are a worrier. Maybe too much of your time is consumed with worrying about things that might not happen or ultimately have little real impact. Mark Twain once said this about worry, “Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.”
What Worry Can Do
Worry is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.
― Arthur Roche
Worry takes our focus off God’s faithfulness and promises and can grip us in ways that often seem merciless. If we allow it to consume us, worry can turn into fear that can rob us of our effectiveness, peace, and joy. Our spiritual might can be turned into quivering flesh once worry, fear, and doubt close their tight jaws on our lives. Worry can quench our hope, creativity, and aspirations.
Worry can isolate us and insulate us from experiencing the blessings and joy God intended for us in the abundant life He offers us. Christ reminds us, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10 emphasis added) How can you enjoy an abundant life when worry is your constant companion?
When our focus is on worry instead of God and His promises, we become distracted, confused and even depressed. The mind can only truly focus on one thing at a time. The tyranny of the immediate (worry) consumes our thoughts and robs us of the ability to concentrate on more important matters. Time and resources are squandered — productivity lost. Relationships suffer because we become consumed with self.
Let’s look at a classic example from Scripture that helps us put worry into the proper perspective:
Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore, tell her to help me.”
And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
We tend to get so caught-up in the daily routine of our lives that, like Martha, we can miss the blessings God has for us and the joy of His presence in our journey. We can become absorbed with trying to be so perfect, totally organized, efficient, effective, and professional that we miss the truly good things God provides for us. Martha tried to turn a simple visit into a mild frenzy and then almost had an anxiety attack when her sister wouldn’t help her.
In simple terms, Jesus endeavored to put everything into proper prospective. He admonished Martha by simply reminding her that “only a few things are necessary, really only one.” Simple faith is just enjoying the victories, accomplishments, moments, blessings, and occasions that are relational and meaningful. I believe Jesus admonished Martha because she was being distracted in her ability to distinguish the incidental from the essential, the urgent from the important. She could have missed the blessings our Lord intended her to have. The divine presence of Jesus was initially missed because she was consumed with her passions to make everything perfect. God intends the relationship to be more important than the task or event.
Jesus selected Mary and Martha’s house because He and His disciples needed a break away from the rigors of a very full ministry. They needed a place of refuge, comfort, peace, and quiet. It was here He resided in a safe place away from the expectations of others, the requests for miracles, the constant strain of public ministry. It is wonderful when you can be surrounded by trusting, loving friends who accept you with your weaknesses, aren’t overly critical, and will forgive you for letting off some steam.
When I think about Mary and Martha I wonder if my home is that refuge where Christ or others would pick to just relax and feel comforted. I know my loving wife with her gift of hospitality does her best to make it all that and more. Is your home that type of place?
- How can you apply these verses to your life? “The Lord has determined our path; how then can anyone understand the direction his own life is taking.” (Proverbs 20:24) “Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.” (Psalm 37:3)
- Satan loves to attack us when we are weak, frustrated, tired, or become over-sensitive to personal attacks, human events, and horrific disasters. The nature of being in a weakened condition and feeling without hope is that it helps direct us to do those things that I already believe. When we seek to get more rest, good nutrition, exercise, and enjoy a good laugh, worry flies out the door. By reducing the noise and distractions in my life I’m better able to focus on God’s promises.
How can you better maintain the physiological and chemical structure of your body that needs to be in balance with God’s plan?
Jim Grassi, D. Min.