Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sunbathing on the Sea of Dread

Ever planned a vacation for you, your family or just you and your hubby? I know I have and the reason for planning one usually comes because I am way too stressed out, we haven’t had a vacation in who knows how long, or we just need to get away from life. Sound like your reasons?

When you think about it those reasons, it sounds pretty valid. The real thing is for me, based on those reasons alone, would cause me to take daily vacations if you knew my life and the things that go on in it daily. However let’s really break it down and see just how “relaxing” it is.

We have to decide first of all where we are headed, that could take weeks for some. Once you decide on a location, you have to check the weather, locate a family friendly hotel, book the hotel, book any activities that you may need to, pack for the vacation, get airline tickets, or car rentals or even pack the family truckster up. Then you have to get to the airport, get through security, locate food since airlines stopped serving food except the prepackaged peanuts of approximately 7 inside, and wait in line for your flight. Then you have to deal with any potential delays of your flight, connecting flights, lost luggage, bathroom breaks, and locating a rental car or airport shuttle after picking up your luggage from a never ending pile from baggage claim. Then it’s off to navigate some foreign roads you never have driven; deal with toll roads, and since you never have correct change since most people ATM it lately; check into your hotel, deal with not enough pillows, bad smelling room, uncomfortable beds, and the noisy neighbors just on the other side of your paper thin room. Sounding relaxing yet? Yeah right….

If you’re like me, you need a vacation from your vacation when you get back. Isn’t that what your original design for a vacation was supposed to be? If you are like me, what you were expecting was lots of sleep in a luxury room, with a feather bed, tons of super soft pillows, no noise whatsoever, being waited on hand and foot, all your meals are prepared with just the touch of a few buttons on the phone, no worries right?

We worry about everything and anything! We live in a worry-filled society in a worry-filled world with lots of other worriers like ourselves. The truth is however that worrying changes nothing. “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” Matthew 6:25

There are a wealth of opportunities to be anxious about everyday and it’s never ending. Take for example, the stimulus bill, our states budget crisis, layoffs from every company you know, foreclosures at an all time high, late notices of every utility bill and credit card, deaths of loved ones, family members, friends and even perfect strangers, abortions, problems with our cars, divorce, marriage, gay issues, stem cell research, wars and never ending natural disasters. Got a lot on your plate at night??? How about popping a pill for that? Valium, Xanax, sleep aids, you name it, you can be assured you can locate a doctor willing to listen to just a sample of the issues I mentioned above, and you’ve got yourself a personalized autograph prescription. Yet, it doesn’t take the worry away. It only puts it off, it’s right there where you left it once you wake up or the drugs where off.

“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.” Matthew 6:34

The things I have listed that we worry about are the same things our parents and grandparents worried about, but worrying about them did nothing to prevent them from happening. Worry ruins our health, robs us of any joy and changes nothing. Worrying about something does nothing to change the thing we are worrying about. Sometimes worrying about those things makes things worse than they were before.

One simple sentence unveils God’s provision plan: “Live One Day At A Time”. God disclosed this same strategy to Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness. He provided manna daily, one day at a time, not monthly or weekly. Even on the day prior to the Sabbath, God knew what He was doing. He told them not to gather it on the Sabbath, but the day before. He provided twice as much for them because He wanted them to keep the Sabbath holy and do no work, including the gathering of food. Did the Israelites worry? Yup, even after witnessing all God’s miracles, they worried constantly up to the point of wishing they were back in Egypt where they had plenty of food, water and a place to sleep at night. They grumbled about it daily and constantly.

But weren’t they complaining during their time in Egypt for God to free them from their bondage as slaves to the Egyptians? God answered their prayers, but He never promised them that everything would be a perfect “stress free vacation” of sorts. But He did answer their prayers, just not the way they had hoped.

What they saw as problems, God saw as provisions. Imagine quail in the desert, so numerous that each family had so much that they complained that they were sick of eating it. More grumbling, more worrying!

Worry splits up our thoughts into today and tomorrow. So why don’t we worry about yesterday? Because we know that nothing we can do today will change what happened yesterday. Worrying about tomorrow’s problems today, takes away the strength God gives us to get through today’s worries. This leaves us with not enough resources to deal with today because we borrowed on it to fix tomorrow’s worries. Now we are in debt with worry. No wonder we feel like we can’t deal with just today. We are too busy tackling tomorrows, next weeks, next months and sometimes even next year’s worries. No wonder we are stressed out, sick physically, tired, run down, and at the end of our rope or even all of the above. God never planned on us dealing with things that way. “One day at a time.” Hear the voice of God?

If you are like me, we worry so much about something that has yet to happen, but most of the time, what we worry about never really happens. Worry gives small problems, big shadows. Corrie Ten Bloom said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of it’s sorrows, it empties today of it’s strength.” “God will take care of everything you need.” (Phillippians 4:19)

So what can you do to eliminate this worry and stress from your life?

1. Pray More!!! You can’t worry while your praying and you can’t pray when you are worrying. In my case, this means I need to pray most of my day. I worry a lot. The average person prays about 8 minutes a day when the average pastor only prays about 10 minutes. Shouldn’t that tell us something? Imagine how different our lives might be if we just prayed a little bit more? Couldn’t hurt right? No where in the Bible does it say to pray a little or to put limits on our prayer time right?

2. Want Less! I tell my daughters this daily when it comes to buying things, especially in this economy where the average family is barely making ends meet while paying more for groceries, gas, bills, and everything else while our income goes down or stay the same as it was before. So I have to ask them, “Is this a want or a need?” Sometimes I have to remind them of the definitions of each. Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Enough for today is all we can enjoy. We cannot eat or drink or wear more than today’s supply of food and clothing. The surplus gives us the care of storing it and the anxiety that someone may steal it. Enough is all we should expect, but a craving for more is ungratefulness. When our Father does not give you more, be content with your daily allowance.” (The NIV Worship Bible, New International Version, Dana Point, CA: Maranatha 2000, 1302)

3. Live for Today. “Who of you by worrying, can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6:27. God will take care of things in His time, not in our time. He sends help at the hour we need it. You don’t have the wisdom for tomorrow’s problems, but we will tomorrow. You don’t have the resources for tomorrows needs, but you will tomorrow. You don’t have the courage for tomorrow’s challenges, but you will when tomorrow comes.

God will meet our needs daily. He did then, he still does, and he will continue to do for you always. Trust in Him, and wait! Don’t worry.


Denise said...

Amen, amen. Wonderfully said, keep the faith sis. I love you.

David C Brown said...

God can look after us far better than we can look after ourselves!

Live to Him!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

So good to catch up with you.....I am still reading....and adding you to my I can

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

needed this.... thank you sweet Kat! I always appreciate the sweet comments you leave my sister on her CB site. It means so much to her and to me.

Daveda said...

What a fantastic reminder to "take one day at a time." I really needed this today.

Daveda said...

What a fantastic reminder to "take one day at a time." I really needed this today.