Scripture

Philippians 4:6-9

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Reflection

How do we decide if worry is a problem for us?  A little, short-term concern can be good. It can help us focus on a problem, motivate us to get something done or encourage us to do something about a situation we need to change.

But worry over the long term can also be a serious issue; robbing us of joy, interfering with relationships, even damaging our souls. Jesus simply said, “Do not be anxious.” (Matthew 6:25) 

How do we know when a little concern has crossed over into unhealthy worry? It is a problem when it goes on for weeks, keeps us from being able to concentrate or focus, causes us to act or react poorly, or negatively impacts our relationships, sleep, or health.

Pastor Mike Ramsdell taught me that when people say they are seeking happiness, what they really want is peace. We long for security, safety, assurance and to know that we are “on the right path.” But in God’s kingdom, we usually only know the “right path” one step at a time. So when we cannot assure or control the future, uncertainty drives us to worry, and we find ourselves living in anxiety instead of peace. 

Be anxious for nothing: pray, give thanks, offering your concerns to God, and God’s peace, the peace that comes only in the Creator who made you, will come to you, even in the midst of uncertainty and struggle. God loves you, God wants good for you, And God will give you daily peace as you turn your life over to his care. These verses are a constant reminder of the immediate connection with God available to us, and the peace only God can give if we choose to grab hold of it. Anxiety reminds us that we are not God. Dwelling in that anxiety destroys peace. Remembering who God is, and that God loves us, leads to peace.

Prayer

Creator God, I give you thanks for the very breath of life your grace gives me today. I know I have no control over what will happen in it. I choose not to remain in fear, or dwell in uncertainty or anxiety about the possibilities. I chose to embrace this day without complaint, gratitude instead. I give this day, this life back to you. May you use me to bless others. In Jesus’ name,  Amen.