“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.” Philippians 4:6-7, The Message
When I’m unsettled by what is going on in my life or the world, I tend to spiral deep into a pit of worry and anxiety. I let my mind travel down rabbit holes of worst-case scenarios and look up hours later realizing that I just spent so much time living out of fear for something that hasn’t even happened (and honestly probably won’t even happen!). Reading The Message version of some of my favorite scriptures always settles my heart again because it allows me to pause and hear God’s truth in a language that sounds like it’s coming from a good friend.
The truth is that worry robs us of so much joy. When we let worry and anxiety rule our hearts, we miss out on the gift of our lives, of the present moment, because we are too busy imagining bad things that could happen to us. Worry is a good signal to remind us that we are putting our trust in something other than God: whether it be a resource or relationship or even our own strength. It’s so easy to stay here in the fear, but over and over again, the Bible commands us not to. “Do not worry,” “Do not be anxious,” and “Do not be afraid” are peppered throughout scripture because God knows our hearts are naturally inclined to go there, but He promises us a better way.
God displaces our worry and replaces it with peace. We can rest assured that He is using every situation in our lives for our good, and He has His hand on us no matter what comes our way. Paul commands us to replace our worry with prayer, and promises that when we do so, God’s presence will rest on us and remind us of His goodness in our lives.
So when our hearts are heavy with worry of fear this week, we have a choice: we can continue down the path of anxiety, or we can stop and pray, trusting that God will meet us in our worries and fill us with His peace. In my human weakness, I very rarely pray one time and never struggle with the same anxiety again, but the more and more I turn to God instead of my fear, the more I learn to trust Him and receive His goodness in my life. Let’s continue to press into Him and pray; I’m confident that as we do so we will find peace for every situation that comes our way!