I’ve read that Jesus commands us not worry about our life — if we’ll have enough to eat or drink, and if we’ll have clothes to wear. So I thought I had been doing alright since I haven’t been worrying about my basic necessities. But then I kept reading my bible, and came across Philippians 4:6: “Don’t worry about anything…” (NLT). All of a sudden, I was no longer flawless when it came to worrying.
As a child I remember worrying about everything! I was afraid the elevator might crash, or that the bridge I was on might collapse, and pretty much anything that I didn’t have complete control over. As I got older I traded in worrying about things that could suddenly cause death, for worrying about things that I thought could ruin my life instead. I’ve worried about relationships falling apart or failing to start, I’ve worried about what to study, and at what school, I’ve worried about how to pay for my car repairs and school tuition, and about a million other decisions and circumstances.
All this worrying started to make me wonder if it is even possible not to constantly worry. But I have good news! Recently, I started to experience a newfound peace to replace my continual worrying.
Reflecting on what has happened these past few years, I’ve realized that I have so much to be thankful for. Time and time again I have seen God provide for me, answer prayers, and stick with me through the good times, and the bad. I have discovered during this time of reflection that by giving thanks more often, I have begun to worry less.
What’s more, is that I kept reading my bible and realized that I didn’t come up with the “worries + thankfulness = less worrying” equation myself. In Philippians 4:6 after it says “Don’t worry about anything” it goes on to say “instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
In the past I had noticed some progress around worrying when I would pray about everything I was worried about, but it was not until I started to give thanks for what God has already done that I started to notice a change and experience the peace talked about in Philippians.
Now I know what you may be thinking: it’s easier said than done when it comes to overcoming worrying. You’re right. I confess that I still struggle with worrying. I confess that I still fail to thank God for all he has done. I confess that I still find it hard to always let go of my need for control. But thankfully our God is a God full of grace and patience.
I came across this prayer of relinquishment recently, and I hope you find it as encouraging as I have in my journey of holding on to God in faith and thanksgiving instead of holding on to worries.
“Today, O LORD, I yield myself to you.
May your will be my delight today.
May your way have perfect sway in me.
May your love be the pattern of my living.
I surrender to you
Do with them what you will, when you will, as you will.
I place into your loving care
Care for them with a care that I can never give.
I release into your hands
My need for control,
My craving for status,
My fear of obscurity.
Eradicate the evil, purify the good, and establish your kingdom on earth.
For Jesus’ sake,
photo by ashley rose,