Everything's Possible - Day 31

Philippians 4:6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Don’t worry about anything. . .

Yeah, right. 

That would be great, wouldn’t it? To live a life that doesn’t have anything to worry about. I think we would all love that. However, this doesn’t seem to be the way that anyone can really live. We worry about everything; well, at least it feels like I do. We carry too many burdens, from family to finances to fellowship concerns. Our jobs create anxiety, our world seems like it is a mess and disconcerting, and even the price of eggs has us worried from one day to another. There seems to be more than enough for us to worry about every single day. 

But here we have Paul telling us that we don’t need to worry about anything. And I really wish it were that easy not to be anxious. There are a few people that I have in my life who deal with an anxiety disorder, and it seems like it is a difficult road, and I am so glad they are getting professional help. I encourage anyone who is dealing with this issue to seek the help you need. And I don’t think Paul was speaking to people who deal with inordinate amounts of anxiety. I think this message goes to all of us, as Paul understood what it was to look at your future and be concerned with what lies ahead. 

His remedy for anxiety seems to be prayer. This is not a new refrain for Paul as he encourages us to pray without ceasing in other places as well in his writings. (1 Thessalonians 16-18). Why would prayer be something that alleviates anxiety?

I have thought a lot about this. I don’t think it is just in the praying. Rather, I think it is in the release. What I mean is that one of the things that we can do when we pray is to release that which is giving us anxiety and developing worry us. We can not just ask God to take it from us, but we can give it away. Whatever ritual you need to do—opening your hands, walking to let it out, anything really—let it give you a sense of release and surrender, and then move on. 

When we were in Jr. High, a pastor did a week of prayer, and at the end, he had us write down those things that gave us anxiety, and then we burned them in the fire he had made in the parking lot. It was obviously symbolic, but I still remember it, and I still believe it was a worthwhile exercise. There was no magic, but there was a physical manifestation of what we were trying to do, and that helped. 

Verse 7 talks about the “peace” of God. That word can be translated as well-being, and that is perhaps a more appropriate word for what we are seeking. There is an actual well-being test you can take (https://www.mymentalhealth.guide/get-tested/well-being-test-who-5) to see where you are on the well-being scale. You should take it. But, you should really think about how prayer will help with what you are dealing with. 

  1. How are you doing on the well-being scale? 
  2. Do you have a sense of peace or anxiety most of the time? 
  3. What can you do, as a ritual, to allow yourself to feel a sense of surrender of those things that are causing you anxiety? 

By Pastor Timothy Gillespie

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