"As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister, called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, 'Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!' 'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.' " (Luke 10:38-41)I feel a deep affinity for Martha in this Biblical account.
I know she was a crazy mess, running around like a mad woman, trying to feed everyone, and muttering under her breath about how her sister wasn't pulling her weight. But I've been a guest in homes where there wasn't a Martha, and sometimes I felt like my hosts were not actually aware I was coming. Also, I felt hungry.
But that is a post for another time. (Working title: "This World Has Room for Both Mary and Martha" maybe?)
Today, as a worrier, I hear Him say to me, "Elizabeth, Elizabeth, you are worried about many things. But I want you to choose what is better."
What is the better way when we're worried?
Mary showed the answer when she camped out at Jesus' feet, drawing close to Him, giving her attention and devotion. She focused on the Logos--the Word made flesh. Until we can do the same and camp out at Jesus' feet near His throne in heaven, we can focus on the Word.
We can affirm the truth of it. We can claim it.
How do we "claim" God's Word and the truth it conveys? Here's one process to try out.
1. Read it silently to yourself.
2. Read it out loud. (This really gets the enemy, by the way. He can't read our minds, so he's not laid low by what we think. But the Word of God spoken out loud? That's slaying the dragon, sweet girl.)
3. Write it out.
4. Memorize it. (Need a way to do this? Click here for a printable plan.)
5. Repeat it.
6. Share it.
7. Act on it. Act like it.
God's Word is rich with anti-worrying promises and precepts that lead us along the better way. Here are 5 to start with today if tomorrow is weighing heavily on your mind and soul.
|Click here for a printable version of these cards.|
2. Psalm 16:7-9 ~ "I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore, my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure." These were my favorite exam-anxiety defense verses in college. I loved the idea that God was working on me even while I slept. And many times, in my dorm room before the test, I'd be yelling, "God is at my right hand! I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN!" I also pictured Him sitting to my right during the exam, literally steadying me as I wrote. Okay, I was a total GPA-worshiping, neurotic freak. But this verse is powerful for any worry-worn situation. Seek God and His wisdom. Check His Word for guidance. Pray about "it." Ask faithful (and faith-full) friends for counsel. Do what you can. Then go to bed and "rest secure" and let God do His thing while you sleep. (He never does sleep, BTW...see Psalm 121:4.) You might also want to try yelling...er, "declaring," "God is at my right hand! I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN." If nothing else, the enemy will hate it. (See #2 in the "how to claim God's Word" list above.)
3. Philippians 4:6,7 ~ "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." I look at this verse as a path from worry to peace. Click here to print a road map for this path.
4. Psalm 27:13,14 ~ "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." I always thought "the land of the living" referred to heaven--the place of eternal life. I looked at this as a promise that no matter how bad now gets, I WILL see God's goodness then in my eternal home. But recently, I learned that "the land of the living" in the original Hebrew refers to life on this earth. In spite of the sin and destruction and evil and heartbreak we experience ourselves and see around us, God is still here. He has not abandoned us. And if we wait for Him, if we are strong and "take heart," we can confidently expect to see His goodness here and now, not just then.
5. Isaiah 43:2 ~ "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Whatever is worrying you is possibly--probably?--very real. I LOVE that this verse doesn't pretend we're never in deep waters or hot fires. When you pass and walk, God says, not if. The Great I AM knows about the floods and the flames. But He declares a couple truths here: 1)He's with us IN them; 2)they will not consume us. They will not destroy us. With God's help, we can and will come out on the other side.
My mom's favorite quote about worrying is from Corrie ten Boom: "Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength." Claim the strength God offers you in His love letter today, sweet one! Then, expect His amazing things, His security, His peace, His goodness, and His protection tomorrow.