Tag Archives: worrying

No one can be a slave of two masters

Why do we get anxious? Why do we worry? If you’re like me, chances are you worry because you anticipate things that haven’t happened yet. I realized I feel anxious about the future when the present is so good, I couldn’t ask for it to be better. That got me wondering, what if I just enjoyed the present and let the future take care of its own stresses? You know, take one day at a time?

When I walked into church this past Sunday, I prayed that I would learn something important; something that would guide me throughout the week. Coincidentally, the readings addressed matters anxiety:

“No one can be a slave of two masters; he will hate one and love the other; he will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. This is why I tell you; do not be worried about the food and drink you need in order to stay alive, or about clothes for your body. After all, isn’t life more worth than food? And isn’t the body worth more than clothes? Look at the birds; they do not plant seeds, gather a harvest and put it in barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them! Aren’t you worth much more than the birds? Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it?

And why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow; they do not work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that not even king Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers. It is God who clothes the wild grass-grass that is here today and gone tomorrow, burned up in the oven. Won’t He be all the more sure to clothe you?

What little faith you have!

So do not start worrying: “Where will my food come from? Or my drink? (These are all the things the pagans are always concerned about.) Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. Instead, be concerned about everything else with the kingdom of God. And with what He requires of you, and He will provide you with all these other things.

So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.” (Matthew 6: 24-34).

I have read this verses so many times before, but hearing the words again reminded me why worrying is really useless. Worrying won’t help alleviate whatever problems one is going through; it just weakens a person and takes their joy away. It magnifies small matters, making them seem unsolvable. So what’s the point of worrying? I have said this in previous posts, but I reiterate; one can only choose to believe in God or let fear and worry consume them. It’s impossible to serve two masters.

And the thing with anxiety is that once someone starts worrying about something, it becomes a vicious cycle; a cycle that paves way for darkness; a path that leads one into depression. When one gets used to worrying, they will always have something to worry about everyday; because that’s what fear does. It brings to focus things that on a normal day would just pass unnoticed. And it’s those small things that steal our joy away.

dark path

Do you choose to believe that tomorrow will take care of its worries? Or will you be anxious about tomorrow and let happiness seep right through your fingers today? It’s a choice one has to make. What master will I serve? That’s the question.

Take it to the Lord in prayer

When you feel like things are seriously going out of hand, just look heavenwards; God has the solution to all your problems. Of the things I’m quite familiar with, anxiety probably tops the list because it’s there when I’m asleep, in my dreams (some of them), it walks with me everywhere I go…anxiety is like my shadow. When I’m making decisions I feel anxious thoughts creeping up on me…I just find it unnerving. However with my anxiety came a good thing; it made me so aware of God’s presence, in my life, in the air around me…He’s everywhere.

So while anxiety torments me dreadfully, I find comfort in God. Recently, this song came to mind; mom was going through some difficult moment at work and when I saw how troubled she seemed, I realized I couldn’t help her personally, but from experience I knew God would; so I told her to take it all to the Lord in prayer. Those words reminded me of the ‘What a friend we have in Jesus song, and as I sang it I pondered on each word; I found it immensely comforting.

What a friend we have in Jesus,

All our sins and griefs to bear,

What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer,

O what peace we often forfeit,

O what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry,

Everything to God in prayer.

When I read those lyrics, word for word, I saw many people; myself included; people who worry through their troubles instead of taking everything to God in prayer. We forfeit peace when we worry, because worrying leads to more worrying. We bear needless pain, because sometimes, caught up in the situation, it just doesn’t occur to us that God is there to help us; that each one of us has the privilege to take his/her worries to Him in prayer.

To most of us, worrying comes almost naturally. Take me for instance; when there’s something going on in my life, the first thing that happens is worrying. ‘What will happen now? What if…’ it’s in the midst of worrying that I remind myself to call on God.

I realized there are so many people struggling with anxiety. If I say I found something that keeps my anxiety in check, one would expect it would be some medical relief; I tried that at some point but the thing with such medication is that when it runs out one finds themselves in the same old place; worrying incessantly.

I needed a long term relief.

From experience, I’ve learned that the best way to deal with anxiety is to seek God’s help; trust that He will come through for you. It also helps to take part in things that make one happy; it’s only by embracing happiness that we can be in that perfect state of mind to know what God really wants us to do; what’s really right. During anxious moments, very little seems to put one at ease; that’s why it’s imperative for one to hold on to that thing, however small, that makes them happy…and above all, to trust in God.

take it to the Lord in prayer

 

I got nothing I asked for

I asked God for strength, that I may achieve;

I was made weak, that I may learn to humbly obey.

I asked for health, that I may do great things;

I was given infirmity, that I may do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy;

I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power, that I may have the praise of man;

I was given weakness that I may feel the need of God.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life;

I was given life, that I may enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for, but everything that I hoped for.

Almost despite myself, my unspoken

prayers were answered.

I am among all men, most richly blessed.

(This is the Prayer of an Unknown Confederate Soldier).

Many people get discouraged when they spend hours praying, only to end up feeling like God didn’t grant them their wishes. The words above voice the thoughts of many, only that in our finite thinking, we only think, ‘I asked for… but I was given…’ We fail to see the importance of what we have.

You may be feeling burdened right now, but everytime you will yourself to pray you feel like there would be no point of praying because you still won’t get what you pray for. Don’t be discouraged.

For the longest time now, I’ve been praying, asking God to take my anxiety away. It makes my life feel difficult. In a previous post, I’ve talked about how I suffered from an incessant headache for close to two years. Every day I woke up, I would ask God to take the pain away, but it’s only after a relatively long time that it stopped. I would go to bed, hoping the pain would be gone the next day, but that was difficult because I couldn’t even sleep. I stayed up all night, watching the minutes tick away.

My mom watched helplessly as I cried, unable to bear the pain. I had already been to hospital, but I was still in pain. The medicine wasn’t doing me much good, not because it wasn’t effective, but because I couldn’t stop myself from worrying; there were unbearable thoughts running through my head that I couldn’t quite contain.

The cure had to come from within.

One night, my big sister came and sat on my bed. Her eyes were awash with concern, but her voice was harsh. “Is this how you want to spend each day for the rest of your life? You have to fight it.”  

Her words gave me a lot to think about. That wasn’t how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. In her tough love, I found my strength. I willed myself to stop worrying; to push the anxious thoughts out of my head. The pain didn’t go away immediately, but eventually it did. The anxiety, which caused the incessant headache in the first place, didn’t go away, but with God’s help, I found the strength to manage it. Occasionally I do fall into bouts of depression but as I said, anxiety is something I struggle with.

Lately I’m trying to look at things through the eyes of faith; it’s the only way even the bizarre can make perfect sense. So now I don’t ask God to take the anxiety away, because I would love to believe He lets me struggle with it for a reason. Instead I ask Him to help me deal with it in a way that pleases Him.

 embracing challenges