“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
It starts as a concern: “This test coming up is going to be really hard.” Being concerned about something is both natural and normal. It shows that we are aware and in tune with ourselves. It is what we do with our concern that matters.
We could handle this concern in two ways. Either: “Lord, show me how to prepare and be diligent in studying for this test.” Or: “Oh no, there is so much material to study and I don’t understand any of it!!”
Which usually leads to: “I have volleyball practice everyday this week and that other project-when am I going to find the time to study?? Great, I’m going to fail and then I won’t be able to hang out with my friends on Friday. They’re going to have fun without me. Are all of the tests going to be this hard? What if I fail each one? I’m not going to get into the college I want to go to! What will people think of me??” The result is the spiraling “what if” effect.
Honestly, I think we all probably have long track records reflecting the latter way of handling concern. We allow our concern to turn into worry. Jesus tells us multiple times in the Bible that we are not to worry though, not even a little bit.
In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus questions in great length what reasons we would even have to worry. He says, “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? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” When we worry, it is because we put faith in ourselves and realize that we come up short.
That’s where we take the first wrong step: putting all of our faith in ourselves; the flawed, the broken, the imperfect. Of course we worry! Jesus gives us a remedy when He commands us that, “in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.” That is all we have to do. In return He promises that, “The peace which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I think we as humans are so prone to worry that we either take pride in how much we worry as a reflection of the amount we have on our plate, or we bond with others over worry. It’s like our culture glorifies worry!
If you think about it through the eyes of our culture, it totally makes sense. We live in a culture that prides itself on independence. Dependence is seen as a sign of weakness. Guess who that scoots out of the picture though? Jesus!! The perfect Almighty who loves you and me so much that He died for us to save us. Him. When we worry, we say to Him, “I don’t need you. I can do this on my own.” But can we?
If we put complete faith in ourselves, we are guaranteed to come up short. But when we put faith in Jesus, we are guaranteed peace.