Thursday, January 9, 2014

Taking a Break from the What-If's

I was reflecting yesterday about howI used to spend large amounts of time worrying about things that had already happened. I could have reacted differently in situations.  Or I replayed hurtful words from others over and over in my mind.  I was stuck in the past and was wasting time and energy on things that I could not change.  Over the past years I've gotten a handle on this with God's help, not to say I don't find myself dwelling on the past at times, but I'm not wasting away my years by obsessing about the past.  I'm moving on, confident of the hope in Jesus, forgiveness and grace lavished by Him...

So why did I start thinking about what I used to do?  Because I found it kind of weird that now I'm doing the opposite - I'm worrying about the future instead of the past.  Recently I've found myself throwing large amounts of time toward thinking about and planning out future scenarios - how things are going to play out...I'm not exactly obsessing or myself sick on it, but I'm spending a lot of time thinking about it..and worrying about how things will work out and all the details it will ensue - being the planner (aka control freak) that I am!
“You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both.
“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. 

“Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.  (Matthew 6:24-34, The Message)
This passage (I know, it's long, but it's SO good in The Message version!  Don't you agree?)  I've read many times and it just came to mind.   Well, the last verse is actually what came to mind - and I had to google it because I couldn't remember where it was.  But the first verse about not being able to serve two masters/gods is mentions money but you can replace it with anything - in this certain case -- 'my own control' must be my god...  Ouch.  Jeff and I both had job interviews in December and we've not heard anything yet.  I have planned out/played out every scenario in my head of what happens if and when or if not and is it right or wrong?  Yet, we've not been offered anything yet.  And just this week there has been a buzz about school redistricting.  We moved into this particular neighborhood because of the schools that our children would attend.  We are on the line of moving to a different school - which would still be a good school, but not nearly as acclaimed as where we are.  This also could cause our house value to plummet.  The school board has not revealed which neighborhoods will be affected - this will happen next week.  But, of course, I'm scouring the numbers that they have released, researching the potential schools we may end up at and thinking through all of the things this might mean for us.  So...much of my last week or so has been useless.  Useless in the sense that all those thoughts I've had could have been filled with prayer for us or others or praise for what God has done or is doing.  I can not do a thing by getting worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.  None of us are even promised tomorrow.

The part in the above scriptures "What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving."  I need to hear that!  Relax!  I can look to the future and be prepared and see if there is any action I can take, but beyond that - the thinking and worrying -- it's useless.  I'm worshiping 'my own control' instead of turning these situations over to God who has complete control and knows my future.  Do I trust Him with it?  I know I sure do make a mess out of things often when on my own.  And so many times my knee-jerk reaction of what I think we need is not really the best for us.  He promises to be there to help me when hard things come.  I trust Him, but I need help with my unbelief, Jesus!!  So, what am I doing with today?  Am I wasting it by dwelling on the 'what if's' or the past?  If so, then I'm unavailable to be used by Him.  Today I choose to fill my mind with praise that God has me in the palm of His hand, He has good plans for us and He will be there in hard times.  I choose to fill my mind with prayers of 'how do you want to use me today for your purposes, God?  I choose right now...this moment...not yesterday or tomorrow...and I relax.

Image courtesy of dan /

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