Friday, July 29, 2011

Worry Warts

Good morning, my friends! I apologize for the extended absence. I've not been feeling well this week. I've been battling a headache for several weeks that was beginning to take its toll on me this week. But, PRAISE THE LORD! I prayed through night before last, in desperation, and God answered my prayers for relief! My headache is not completely gone, but I can function again with minimal hindrance. Isn't God amazing?

In continuing with our quest for joy and peace, I'm still reading the "Living Above Worry and Stress" study. I have decided to do only 1 lesson a week, as intended, so that I can spend time applying each individual lesson to my life. This week's lesson is titled "Worry Warts". Have you ever thought about that term? Worry warts? What on earth is a worry wart? Did the term come about because worrying makes you ugly? *shrugs* Your guess is as good (probably better) as mine! This was a good one, because I have already been applying this topic in my life the past few days, or attempting to! I have continued to be so stressed out about our finances that I have really struggled with trusting God with it, and it was spilling over into my attitude towards myself and others. But I have been purposing to allow God to bear that burden for me these last few days. Of course, naturally, I go back and forth, riding the see-saw of worry and stress in my quest for peace and trust. But, through the points and scriptures that I picked up in the lesson, and those I was already using, it's slowly becoming easier. Only slowly because I allow myself to get in the way of progress.

In this week's lesson, we're reminded that worry isn't just stressing out about something. Worry comes in different forms, including busying yourself with menial tasks. Worrying yourself with unimportant things that distract you from spending time alone with God. How much time do you spend, in quiet, alone with God? If you said little or none, then I can promise you you're not alone. My time alone with God is minimal. I don't like that. I talk to Him and praise Him and read His Word all throughout the day, while my children are playing and I'm cooking, doing housework, etc. That's great, because we are supposed to never stop praying (1 Thessalonians 5:17), but if we never spend QUIET time ALONE with God, we can't hear that still, small voice when He speaks to us. Not only that, but we miss out on moments of quiet rest in His arms and presence.

The author of the lesson uses the illustration of the sisters, Martha and Mary. Both women loved Jesus dearly, but only Mary took the time away from the hustle and bustle of her duties to sit at Jesus's feet and love Him (John 12:1-8). Martha was so busy worrying over the food, serving the guests, etc that she completely missed out on the joy of just being in the presence of her Messiah. Mary, on the other hand, recognized that Jesus would not be with them in the flesh much longer (because she was listening to Him), and left her other duties, or worries, and used her own hair to wash and perfume Jesus's feet. She did this with such love and adoration. When we serve God, do we do it with love and adoration and selflessness like Mary, or do we do it with worry and haste like Martha?

This week, let's slow down. Let's prioritize our "worries". What is it in your life that keeps you from spending time alone with the Messiah. What tasks on your list are preventing you from resting in the sweet presence of God? I worry over having a clean house. I am a lot more relaxed on this than I once was, but I still stress out way too much if the boys make a mess in the living room while playing with their toys or drawing pictures. Sometimes, we even busy ourselves too much with "ministry" work. Martha was simply preparing the meal for the Passover feast. But ministry work, things we do in the church, should never become so cumbersome that you're neglecting your own personal time alone with God. If you need to, simply make a list of all of the things you do each day. How many of those things can you scratch off the list all together in order to make more time for God? What on your list is so important that it can't be forgotten for some sweet rest in the Father's arms? We're living in a very fast paced world. But that doesn't mean we have to be fast paced. We aren't supposed to be like the world. We're supposed to be set apart, a HOLY people (1 Peter 2:9).

I'll close us out by sharing some of the scriptures and quotes from this week's lesson.

I loved this quote by Sheila Walsh:
My times of silence before God are very important to me.
When I'm quiet, life falls into perspective for me.
I have a very active mind and I'm a worrier, 
but in those moments when I choose to put that away,
I rest beside the Shepherd in still places.
~Sheila Walsh

1 Peter 5:7 NLT
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Philippians 4:6 NLT

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. 
Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Worry says to God, "Lord, I don't trust You."
~Thelma Wells

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