Emily Nelson – CLI Student Ministries Intern
Have you ever had one of “those” weeks? You know the kind of week I’m talking about, where every single thing that could possibly mess up your routine not only happens, but happens in such a catastrophic way that you feel like you’re drowning. It’s overwhelming, you’re stressed out, and if you’re like me, you’re constantly on the verge of exploding in either screaming, or tears.
A few months ago, I had that kind of week. I had been given a new role, and with it new responsibilities, new deadlines, and new people to care for. In that particular week, it seemed to all fall on me at once. As soon as I completed one task, I would learn of five more that needed to be completed. It felt like I couldn’t catch my breath as my brain whirled a million miles a minute to try to keep up. My response to being stressed out was to accomplish more of what I thought needed to get done. But that only led to more stress. I was drowning, I felt helpless. And I spent every spare second worrying about everything that was still on my to-do list. When a co-worker asked me to do a five-minute task, it nearly sent me into hysterical tears. It was awful.
Philippians 4:6-7 says,
“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.”
I think it’s easy to read this verse, feel some momentary warm fuzzies, and then go right back to worrying. Or maybe when reading these words, we do exactly what they say: Pray. We tell God all about our struggles, all about our anxieties, all about the things we can’t control. But instead of trusting Him, we say “Amen” and immediately snatch the weight of our burdens back from our Heavenly Father.
Can I share with you something I have to tell myself when I’m in the midst of troubling times? You and I were made for more than a perpetually stressed out, stretched thin, weight-of-the-world-on-our-shoulders existence. We were never intended to bear the full weight of our burdens alone.
Worrying points to one thing: a lack of trust in God. Worrying shows that we don’t believe He can handle whatever it is that’s stressing us out. Worrying shows that we don’t think He’s big enough, powerful enough, or even good enough to trust with our situation. Worrying shows that we believe, whether consciously or not, that we have some part to play in things turning out the way we want them to. If we don’t worry, it won’t get better. This is a lie.
I’d like to encourage you (and me) to try something different.
Friends, instead of being a worrier, I encourage you to be a warrior.
Be a Prayer Warrior.
Philippians 4:6-7 offers a glimpse of how we can best respond to worrisome situations. It doesn’t just say to not be anxious, it gives us an alternative, “In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Isn’t this awesome? Instead of holding onto our anxieties, our fears, the situations too big for us to carry, we can surrender our burdens to God. We can entrust Him with everything. We can choose to trust that He is big enough, powerful enough, and even good enough to handle whatever it is that we’re facing, and then walk in the peace of God.
We all have a choice when it comes to how we respond to the things that threaten to overwhelm us. Too often, I choose worry. The reality is this: I can either be a worrier or I can be a warrior.
Which will you choose to be today?