Not a Worry-Wart

As we continue to look at the life of Christ, one thing has stood out to me – in other words, slammed me on the forehead with a 2-by-4 – about His life in contrast to my life.

Christ’s life had a lot of stressful things but zero worry. My life has relatively small stressful things but A LOT of worry.

I’ve always been a worry-wart. I hate anything dangerous – roller-coasters, roller-skating, rolling down a hill, basically anything that involves rolling (or really anything that involves moving quickly). Basically, I’m super boring (ask my wife). Why? Because I am so easily stressed and worry about everything.

Recently, I had one of my “freak out” moments when I realized how many projects I have going on, how fast some are coming up, and how crazy my life will be from now until Christmas Day. I immediately sent gifs to my wife expressing my exhaustion and stress (this is actually a very good response to stress – look up funny “tired” gifs. You will not be disappointed!).

But when I look at the life of Christ, I am amazed at how calm, cool, and collected He always was.

Mark 4:35 – 5:43

Take this one passage for instance. Christ has so many potentially stressful moments…and yet He did not freak out! He did not worry!

  • On a small boat in a crazy storm with water pouring in, the disciples are running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Meanwhile, Christ is sleeping. When He wakes up, He calmly calms the whole storm.
  • He gets off the boat and is met with a crazy deranged demoniac who runs up to Him – this guy couldn’t be bound with chains and is seriously freaky. But Jesus calmly addresses him and casts out a whole LEGION of demons from him! In fact, Jesus was so powerfully calm, that He FREAKS OUT the townspeople who ask Him to leave.
  • When He gets back to the other side, He goes to heal a sick girl. He finds out she dies but does not stress. And He asks the father not to freak out either. Instead, He walks into her room and raises her from the dead – even death itself doesn’t worry Him!

Of course, Christ does show emotion – anger and concern. But He never strays into sinful stress and worry. He is calm – why? Because He is the Son of God of course! And He is in the hands of His Father, who He trusts. He calls us all to live like Him in Matthew 6:25-34.

“Tomorrow’s got its own issues – don’t sweat about it! You’ve got enough to deal with today – or rather, your Father will care for it all today too!”

Such a life! Such peace! Such calm! Oh, how I long to obey these commands and live like my Savior! Not so stressed but so, so surrendered to God’s will and care.

Well, He’s told us how to live like this. Not only in Matthew 6…

Psalm 37

This is a great Psalm. Unlike Matthew 6, which is about stressful stuff, this Psalm is about something even more stressful – enemies who are prospering while you suffer. If we can live calm in the face of that, then we can live calm in the face of work projects and other daily issues.

What does the Psalmist call us to do. He says “fret not” and gives commands to do instead:

  • Trust in the Lord (vs. 3) – that’s a simple one.
  • Do good (vs. 3) – not so simple. Stress and worry often stop us from doing the things we should do, thus complicating the issue. Instead, keep doing the good you know to do.
  • Delight in God (vs. 4) – even when there’s nothing to delight in at work, home, or school.
  • Commit your way to God (vs. 5) – I love this one. The word means “roll off” to the Lord. What a beautiful picture! Stressed? Roll that onto God – He can handle it!
  • Be still before God and wait patiently (vs. 7) – not easy for a worrier!

And what will God do for such people? He WILL ACT (vs. 5-6). The wicked won’t last (vs. 2). Trust Him – He’s got this!

Felix Felicis

I’ve been listening to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and it’s at my favorite part – Harry drinks the famous “felix felicis” potion that makes someone immensely lucky for a few hours. Harry describes feeling a sense of calm and confidence, like nothing could harm or touch him. Wow, I want that potion! But alas, I did not get an OWL in the subject!

But that is exactly the feeling Christ demonstrated – a godly confidence and calm. And Christ calls us to that same mindset.

So freak out thou not, as my professor used to say. God is in-control. We can live with calm and confidence.

God Is a Good Catch

Keep Calm and Read a Psalm 37:23-24:

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the Lord upholds him with His hand.”

Have you ever watched a baby learn to walk? What great entertainment! They should make a movie entitled “The Walking Baby.” I guarantee you people would pay money to go in there with a bowl of popcorn and watch silly babies awkwardly take their first steps. The ladies would be biting their tongues and cheering the babies on, while the men stifled a laugh. The baby would take a step, waving its arm in the air for balance while shifting its next foot up. Then—ah! The baby begins to topple! But wait! The mother is there, grabbing the baby’s hand and keeping him or her upright.

I like to take credit for teaching my young niece how to walk. I used to grab both her hands and together we’d walk in circle after circle around the kitchen. Most of the time I would just be carrying her, but slowly she began to learn. And today, she’s walking like a pro (although, I’m not sure there is such a thing as a pro walker). But still, there are falls. Ya, I know you don’t want to admit it, but even you fall on occasion. Insert flashback of clumsy trip on sidewalk near your crush here.

But besides physically, have you ever taken a different kind of fall? Perhaps your day starts off great but crashes to the ground when a test score comes back negative, or a cancer test comes back positive, or a police report comes in with an unexpected death. Maybe you’ve taken a moral fall—that lust came back and engulfed you once again. What has it been, five times this week? Five times this day? Whatever the fall, whatever the heartache, did you know there is one Person Who is there to uphold you?

God Almighty. He’s there, guiding your steps, even as we embark on this New Year. Don’t believe me? Look back at the verse. God is Sovereign over your life, whether you recognize it or not. He holds your hand, guiding you exactly where to plant your next step—just like me with my little niece. Yes, sometimes we can’t feel His grip around our hand, but He’s still there, longing to find joy in your walk as you choose to follow His guidance. But know this: every fall, every slip, every disaster, He’s there, over you like a mother with her struggling child. You may fall, but you won’t be utterly cast down—literally, hurled headlong, like a baby falling flat to a hardwood floor. No, God’s there, ready to grab your hand and pull you back up! As quick as you’ll let Him. As we embark on this New Year, let’s delight in God’s way, so He can delight in ours.

-Matthew W., SC