I've been learning a lot over the years about the act of worrying. I can clearly recall, several years ago, sitting on the couch in my living room, feeling my heart do crazy things and worrying that I was having heart issues. It happened frequently that winter. I never went to the doctor for it, but I would worry about that on top of all the other worries we had at the time. Do you know what it was? Worry. At the time we were renting a house from a very volatile individual. Andy wasn't working because it was his winter layoff time, and I worried each and every day about meeting rent at the end of the month. And then I worried about paying the energy bill. And then I worried about paying the water bill, because if we didn't keep our utilities and water bills caught up and on time, the landlord would flip out. I constantly was in a state of worry that one day on his daily drives past the house (yes, truly, daily) that he would pull in the driveway and tell us to get out.
And then it actually did happen. He pulled in and handed me a letter which told us we had 30 days to get out. While our lives changed dramatically that day, and we entered a season of stress, I can honestly say that instantly those strange heart pains were gone. The worry that had plagued me the three years we lived there was gone. It hasn't been back, either, despite further upheaval with various things in life. Part of that is because I try really, really hard to not worry. When I find myself worrying, or focusing on a worry, I try to catch myself and recite some scripture to myself- filling my thoughts with good words from God above.
This past December I put Matthew 6:34 to the test. Let's look at it again.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:34
When Andy was laid off at the beginning of the month, I, of course, started off by looking at the calendar, looking at the empty checkbook, and dreading having to do the winter lay-off dance again. The dance where I choose what we can pay each month and try to not let anything fall too far behind. On top of that, we hadn't done a drop of Christmas shopping yet. So there I was, looking at the calendar and making a mental note of each monetary due date that was coming up- and just for good measure I added a few things for January as well. I'm looking at the calendar and all the sudden Matthew 6:34 popped right into my head. I swear I could hear someone reading it to me. I thought it over a few times, and said "Okay God" and put the calendar away.
A few days later, it was time for something to be due. I looked at the checkbook, where I did have enough to pay that one bill, but if I paid that bill, I would not have enough for the bill due at the end of the week. Matthew 6:34 popped right into my head, so I paid that one bill that was due. I told God that I trusted that the money would be there when the next bill was due. It went on like that through the entire month of December. Just as I needed to pay something, Andy would bring a check home or make a deposit. On top of that, I was able to do some Christmas shopping and not feel like I was buying stuff instead of paying bills. AND I was able to regularly grocery shop. I don't recall ever being able to grocery shop like a normal work-month in the month of December. We started January 2015 with every single bill being paid in full and caught up. We had food in the fridge and pantry, and gas in the van.
The key for me was to not worry. In the past, I would look at the bills due, look at the calendar and spend the month hoarding every penny I could, because if nothing else got paid, rent had to be paid every month on time. I would pay rent, and then if there was some left over, float a payment to the energy bill or something else- though it was seldom paid in full. On top of not worrying, I also was not plaguing my husband with daily reminders that he needed to make some money as soon as possible. That's always been a great stress to him in years past. I think that by backing off and trusting that God was also speaking to him, that God was able to do miraculous things for us, while teaching us both some valuable lessons.
Do not worry about tomorrow. Now, that's not a call to live today with abandon. With the example of our finances, that was not a permission to go out today and spend every penny we had on frivolous things. We still had to be wise, and we still gave in offerings when we could. But I could relax in God, and let Him take the worries off of my shoulders and carry it away from me. I could trust that God knew exactly what funds needed to be in our bank account at what time, and then rejoice every time I was able to pay another bill. I still remember the amazing feeling I had spending Christmas day here in our home with out little family and just feeling SO freakishly blessed and happy. It has been YEARS since we were able to really give our kids a nice Christmas, and we were able to do that this year, and I just felt like that was such a gift from Father above.
And so here we are, 19 days into the new year, and January is not working out quite like December, I'm afraid. You know how you just know that you know that the devil is totally trying to mess you up and convince you that the lessons you've just learned are lies? I've almost felt this last week like a giant translucent bubble has been placed around us and our circumstances, and if we could only break through and pierce this giant bubble, that the devil would realize that he is not going to win this round and that we are going to be diligent in our faith in Jesus in all things. I was reminded yesterday in church of the story in Daniel, where he asked for an answer from God, and Gabriel encountered war in the heavenlies on the way to deliver the message- and the answer was delayed. I feel like something is delayed and stuck. And I will not have it!
So that is what brought me to posting here today. Maybe I'll post again soon, maybe not. But I felt like I really needed to share the testimony, the word about not worrying. Verse 27 above says "who of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature". There is so much truth there! Because do you know what worrying does? It messes things up. It keeps me awake at night, because I feel if I think about something long enough a solution will present itself. It makes me short with my children and my husband. It makes me afraid to open e-mails because I'm worried someone else is going to want money from me. But do you know what I do now when I start to feel that worry coming on me? First I recite verses like Matthew 6:34 to myself. Then I start praying in tongues. I have no idea what I'm saying when I do that, but God knows, and I am sure and certain that He will help me to utter the right tongues that will help our situation.
We are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus. That is an amazing thing to dwell on and chases the worries away.