Most of us have either gone on vacation, are planning on going, or are on some kind of break-whether at home or away. We just had a week off and it was awesome to just take some time off to enjoy the beach with our family and our dogs. It was really relaxing! We came back refreshed, tanned and ready for the year ahead.
Some of us, before we leave on a trip plan ahead. We have things to prepare before we go. But I find no matter how organized you are sometimes the worry still kicks in! We think about the safety of our homes, our pets, a loved one in the hospital, thunderstorms. We worry about anything that could go wrong while we’re gone. If we’re flying, chances are we’re already stressed about the packing, and how it doesn’t fit into our carryon! It's our vacation! Why do we worry so much?
So just about now I’m wondering if our worried minds ever get a summer vacation too? Hopefully they do, but unfortunately sometimes they don’t! Seems like we pack our sunscreen along with our worry into the same suitcase! I believe worrying is something we all do, even more than we’ll admit to. Unfortunately, the constant anxiety and worry make our communities sick.
In the New Testament during the Sermon on the Mount, two thousand years ago, Jesus was already teaching people not to worry! -Huh? How does he have our number? He said:
Matthew 6:25-34: “Do Not Worry. Do not worry about your life what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Verse 27: Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Verse 34: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
I love that Jesus said that. It must have been as relevant back then as it is today. He knew humans would worry about everything! Of course He’s not implying to go ahead and not take care of our lives and be officially irresponsible! I believe what He’s mostly getting to, is that He wants us to live free from the mental prison of worry! He knows how devastatingly pernicious the scenario is, when we worry about all the worst things that could happen and then we almost anticipate them playing out in our life!
I’ve found that when we’re worried we don’t make good decisions. We don’t get along with others. We can’t think straight. Worry affects our health negatively. It also makes us anxious and angry. It paralyzes us. Worrying takes up so much mental and emotional energy, no wonder we’re exhausted! It’s a no brainer that worry has no real benefits, yet we still worry!
Last year, the Senior Pastor at our Church said something that stuck with me. He said: “Worry doesn’t remove tomorrow’s challenges. It only removes today’s joy.” I think this is so true. We’ve been so worried that we’ve lost our joy. Joy keeps us strong. When we lose our joy we also lose our strength. That's not a good place to be.
I know most of us work very hard and take care of our lives and families impressively. It’s not that we’re getting a free hall-pass here when Jesus asks us not to worry. Many of you work extra long hours and have a lot to deal with. But that’s exactly why we don’t need to worry because we’re doing our part extremely well. If we trust God completely to take care of us, He will. He’s our Father. He knows what’s going on and what we need.
In Philippians 4:6-7 the Apostle Paul writes: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” This is an open invitation to come to God in prayer when we feel anxious and tell him what’s going on and what we need. He longs to have a relationship with us and to care for us as our Father. After we pray, the Apostle Paul says we’ll have God’s peace in our heart and minds. -That sounds good to me!
I want to encourage you to trust more and worry less. To believe more, and doubt less. To hope more, and fear less. I know you will benefit from less anxiety in your life. Hopefully we can live purposeful and enjoyable lives and share them with the ones we love.
So, get outside and enjoy yourself, without the worry weighing you down! You deserve a break! A summer vacation and a mental break, one that’s free from worrying! Enjoy the rest of your summer!