I’ve been worried about a lot of things this semester.
Historic Flood #1 made me worry about my friends and their families who lost everything and were displaced. Historic Flood #2 two weeks later had me absolutely worried sick about the future because it was my family’s home and neighborhood that had been hit. I was restless and worried about the cost of equipment to get five feet of water out of our basement, the massive dumpster we had to bring in and where to find the manpower to help me clear out a basement full of memories and lost family items.
Of course, school was still going on and I constantly worried if I had prepared enough for class. Did I read thoroughly enough? Did I study the right sections for the test? Did I really understand factoring? Did I forget a paper, or an assignment?
Then I worried myself into stomach pains when my dad ended up in the hospital for three days. I missed more school as I dropped everything to make sure things were handled back home. When I did get back to school I worried more about everything that I had missed and still had to make up. School stops for no one, there is always something that needs to be completed and turned in, exams to prepare and take, presentations to give – it never ceases.
These were just the big things I worried about. I’m not talking about the everyday little worries that creep into my mind.
Worry and anxiety seems to fill our lives easily, or at least mine personally. I don’t know, you the reader may not have a similar problem, for you I am happy for you.
I’ve spent some time in scripture this semester, something that I have found to be greatly comforting. Even more comforting are two scriptures from Matthew and 1 Peter.
Let’s start with Matthew, shall we?
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
I remember when I read this verse for the first time I had basically glanced over it without actually reading it. It’s that thing you do when you think you’re reading but you’re not actually taking in the meaning of the text. I sometimes do this without meaning to, hence why I always worry if I have read thoroughly enough for my history classes. I made myself go back and reread it. Twice. On the second time it was like a teacher had broken it down step by step math style and it clicked. It clicked!
“So don’t worry about tomorrow,
because tomorrow will have its own worries.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Why am I worried about tomorrow? Today is not tomorrow. If today were tomorrow, it would be tomorrow. Today is the now, right here where I am submerged. Even if I wished it was tomorrow I couldn’t make it true because I have no control over time. So focus on the today worries, there are plenty of them.
I got so caught up in the “oh-no-this-thing-is-due-on-Friday-and-this-is-due-Wednesday-but-when-is-this-thing-due? Wait-i-need-to-complete-this-too-before-Friday” I was starting to make myself sick. Red flags were raised in my mind, I did not want to become this stressed to make myself sick and stay sick. Something needed to change and this was it. I’m not saying I totally skipped assignments and classes and other obligations, absolutely not. I learned to refocus myself on the things I needed to complete today and what I could do today instead of living in the future.
This helped quite a bit with my worrying when it came down to school related things. I was still anxious. I wouldn’t sleep if rain was in the forecast, scared that Historic Flood #3 was going to occur and more damage would be done to my childhood home. I would be beside myself when I heard thunder and it started to rain. I even cried.
This is when 1 Peter comes in.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
I believe that I’m lead to the scriptures I need to hear by God when I need them. This was one of those moments when I realized “this is handpicked for me, for right now” and I’ve hung on to it since.
The Lord is my number one confidant, the one I turn to in desperate times, the one who carries it all. He cares for me because I am a child of God.
I couldn’t control the weather, if I could, believe me Kansas would be a bit cooler during the summer. I couldn’t control the weather, I couldn’t control the actions of other people, I couldn’t control anything but myself. So I stopped worrying about it. Let me rephrase that: I stopped focusing all of my energy on those things. I still worried, but I lifted those worries and those anxious feelings to the Lord. Eventually I felt the tension ease and I could breathe again.
Am I still going to worry? Yes. I am human and that’s how we work. The difference now is I have learned this season how to cast my worries and anxiety to the Lord and focus on the things before me today. I hope that whatever storms continue and appear in the coming seasons that I am able to stay rooted in this way.