I was on my way to help lead worship at our Blount County campus early one Sunday morning. I could barely see the shadows of the trees through the blanketed fog as the sun was still waking up trying to peak through. There’s just something about the early morning that is so peaceful before the world begins to stir and the commotion of the day sets in. My heart was a little anxious. A lot was on my mind and I was trying to ignore the things that didn’t matter in the moment as I was trying to prepare my heart, and still trying to wake up. Then suddenly as I looked at the beauty of everything around me along my drive it hit me. In that quiet, peaceful moment, God spoke to my heart reminding me of His Word, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10 NIV)
That’s it. In that moment, I felt His peace come over me and everything that was flooding my mind before, the worries, the anxiety, vanished because I knew I could rest in the fact that He is God and He is watching over me. No matter where I am, or what I do, He remains and WILL be exalted.
It is easy to be overcome by the things in our lives. Then we find that when we do come to God instead of being still and listening, we spout off all the things that are bothering or worrying us.
In Luke 12 Jesus tells us, Himself, not to worry, for He will take care of us. “Life is more than food and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all is splendor was dressed like one of these. If that his how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith…” (Luke 12:23-28)
Jesus reminds us here that worry and anxiety are a lack of faith in Him. They are a result of focusing too much on our circumstances, and not enough on WHO HE IS. Our focus is in the wrong place. What an honor to be so valued by the God of the universe that He would care so much to carry us in His own arms. He commands us to be still and rest in the fact that He is sovereign and He IS God – what is left to worry about?
We are also reminded in 1 Peter 5:6-7 which says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” Why does this passage start out by asking us to be humble before we cast our anxiety on God? Because our flesh wants to think we have everything under control.
It all goes back to the sin of pride so evident in our lives. I touched on this in my last blog. The illusion of control (our own pride) is what creates the anxiety and worry in our lives. In addition, too often we fill our lives with meaningless “busyness” because being busy makes us feel important – it feeds our pride. We worry because should anything slip out of our control we’ll lose it – so we grasp on to it with all we have fearing the truth, that we really don’t have it all together, will suddenly be exposed and we’ll be force-fed a piece of humble pie.
Studies reveal that not only does worry and anxiety tear us down emotionally – it has many negative physical effects as well. And God is standing right there, in front of us asking for our worries. He reminds us that only HE has full control of all things and at the same time we can rest in the fact that He cares for us! But we have to humble ourselves and submit to the reality that we really don’t have full control.
Releasing control is an incredibly freeing thing. Allowing God to take over, resting in the fact that He IS who He says He IS, frees us from the bonds of anxiety and worry, enabling us to be used even more for the glory of God – which is our eternal purpose.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite songs that has brought a lot of encouragement to me:
None but Jesus by Hillsong—
“In the quiet, in the stillness
I know that you are God
In the secret of your presence
I know there I am restored
When you call I won’t refuse
Each new day, again I’ll choose
There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise
In the chaos, in confusion
I know you’re sovereign still
In the moment of my weakness
You give me grace to do your will
When you call I won’t delay
This my song through all my days
All my delight is in you Lord
All of my hope
All of my strength
All my delight is in you Lord