This morning, I woke up early, scheduled to commence writing this post. Twenty minutes later, I caught myself worrying about my life. Then I remembered the title of the post is: Don’t Worry. You can imagine how I immediately felt. The truth really is that it is hard to not worry. There is always something to worry about. That visa application to the US, the scholarship application to an Ivy League school, reliable child care, transportation to work, financial security in the face of rising unemployment, good healthcare especially with the confirmation of Corona virus in Lagos, and so much more. All these uncertainties are valid but when we dwell on them they lead us to worry. An expert on worry classified them as: worrying about life (Matt 6:25a). Before considering the expert’s guide on why you shouldn’t be like me (wake up and start worrying about your life), is there some benefit to worry?
Not really. There is no problem-solving benefit to worry. Has our collective worrying about security made Lagos safer? Or despite your worry did that speed up your immigrant application to Canada? Worry does not do what we want it to do. It does not take our problems away. It really changes nothing. The expert once asked: Can anyone of [us] by worrying add a single hour to your life or a single cubit to your height (Matt 6:27)? If our answer is no, then our response to worry should also be no! Don’t worry about your life because worry is powerless.
On the other hand, worry does something. It paralyses us. Have you ever worried about something so much that you become an expert “worrier” at the problem? You will think up the multiple ways and means the problem will affect your life. You will then worry more, and the cycle continues. Settling into worry doesn’t solve a problem but rephrases it, enlarges it and sows doubt, making it more difficult to live purposefully. Don’t worry about your life because worry is powerless.
Expert Guide to a Worriless Life
Our expert, Jesus, gives us a guide to dealing with worry in Matthew 11: 28–30. Instead of worrying, Jesus says:
- Listen to me. Guess where the expert guide is found? Yes, you guessed right. It is in the Bible, God’s word to us filled with the truths of his promises. When worry knocks on your door: read, study, memorize, recite and remind your weary heart of the expert’s promises.
- Come to me. How? Come personally – as individuals and families in daily devotions. Come collectively – in regular community meetings and weekly on the Lord’s Day at church.
- Give me your worry. When we come, we should come with our worries and hand them to Christ. We can actively do so in the place of personal prayer, praying together during family devotions or in community, laying our collective burdens that keep us all worrying at prayer meetings and on the Lord’s Day.
- Learn from me. Jesus, like other experts, tells us to learn from him. When he lived like we do he handled life’s worries like hunger (John 4:31-32), danger (Luke 8:22-24), abandonment (John 16:32), loss (John 11:35), opposition (Luke 9: 51-56), disregard (Matthew 13:53-58), testing (Luke 4:1-12) and death (Mark 32-40). The Gospels are full of accounts of how he overcame challenges similar to what we worry about. Learn from him in our daily devotions, family devotions, bible studies and through sermons preached. Learn from his worriless life.
- Find rest in me: If only you and I will listen to Jesus. Our focus should not be on ourselves but on him. Not on our life but on his life. Not on our rest but on the rest he can give. Jesus’ life points not just to the worriless life he lived here on earth but also to the restful life he currently lives and promises to give us. Rest in these realities.
If all of our worries can be defined as worrying about life, then stop focusing on your life and start focusing on Christ’s life. Because of his sacrifice we don’t have to worry about this life since we look forward to another life. Therefore, do not worry about your life but worry seek the establishment of Christ kingdom here and now (Matthew 6:33).
Pelumi Oset is a Lover, Leader and Lawyer. She is learning to love her Lord, Christ; lord, Emmanuel and little one, Jesudimimu. She also leads administrative and operations efforts at City Church, Lagos and sometimes solves complex legal problems freelance.