25 Worry weighs a person down;
an encouraging word cheers a person up. (Proverbs 12:25 NLT)
A lot of people’s lives have been uncertain recently, and I want to talk about being uncertain as a Christian. As I’ve mentioned, I have been an anxious guy for a lot of my life, but when I cast my worries to God and remember how He has brought me through tough seasons of life, it removes some of the weight. I hope that these verses will bring you some peace, and maybe some clarity as well.
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. (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)
We are not supposed to worry, but instead to have faith. Actually, God expects us to have faith.
6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. (Hebrews 11:6 NLT)
As Christians, anxiety is not something that we should make a consistent part of our life. Instead, we are told to pray about everything. For me, that means taking a moment during the day to ask God for strength, or for courage, or for energy. Or for whatever I feel I need. When we pass off this worry to God in the form of a prayer, we can feel more free to let go of that thought and focus on the current task.
Sometimes I feel frustrated that things aren’t moving fast enough for my timeline, but patience is such a valuable trait in a Christian. It’s hard sometimes to wait, but I think that the waiting sometimes is the most important part. For example, a lot of Christians are caught up in finding their spouse in their early twenties, and I think that some Christians can get very disappointed when they don’t have a husband or wife, or fiance, early on. But being single is a gift. It gives Christians time to grow and to mature in their relationships with God. I don’t think that people should generally get married before they’re at a place that they’re comfortable in. Sheesh, I know I’m not ready. But maybe that’s a topic for another article. Anyways, patience… yeah it’s a good thing.
7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” (John 13:7 NLT)
Obviously there is context to this passage. Jesus isn’t necessarily speaking to a crowd when he says this. But, I think there is a lesson to be learned from it nonetheless. We don’t always know why things are happening in our lives, but we can be filled with peace when we think about who is in control. I think that perfect patience, in the context of Christianity, means letting God have the wheel, and accept what lessons we are given. It feels like each day, I expect myself to be perfect and want to be perfectly efficient with my time, and want to stop doing things, and start doing other things. But growing in maturity as a Christian takes time. And I think that God’s lessons are more gentle than a lot of people might think. Sometimes I expect lessons to be much harder or severe, because I feel so short of perfection. But God is gentle, and I think that His lessons are ones that we are able to soak up easily much of the time. Even though growing takes time, this isn’t to say that we shouldn’t work hard – I believe that we are supposed to work very hard at what we do, but I don’t think that we need to beat ourselves up too hard when we fall short of our own self-expectations. There are lessons to be learned from failure, and exhaustion, and defeat.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)
When we make God our number one priority, I think that we become way more effective Christians, and better people in general. We should pray for His will to be done, just like Jesus teaches in the Lord’s Prayer. When we try to do what God wants us to do, we will most likely feel less anxious, at least on the front of “am I doing the right thing?” For me, one of my most constant anxieties has to do with using my time the right way. This one was particularly nagging in college I think, which is probably the case for a lot of people. But when we try to use our time is a way that is meant to glorify God, we can be almost certain we are using our time correctly.
31 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. (Luke 22:31 NLT)
What does using our time correctly mean? Well, when we use our time to benefit others, feed others, become closer with God, pray for others, pray for ourselves, better ourselves to become more effective, minister to others, feed our families, or soak in God’s glory, it’s at least a pretty good start.