I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last 49 years, but I’m still learning and growing.
I know that I can deal with pain, and I’m not afraid of it. I know the physical burden of chronic migraine and kidney stones, but I don’t let them stop me.
Through my experiences in endurance sports I know that I can push myself past my perceived physical limits. When my body has told me that it can’t go on any longer, I’ve told my body that it can and it will. When I have set a physical goal, I push on until I reach it. No quit.
I can function well in a leadership role, even though I often prefer to allow someone else to lead. But in the absence of a clear leader I will always step up and lead with strength.
I have other strengths, of course, but this post is not about strength, but weakness.
We all have weaknesses. And we are, for the most part, well aware of them. Yet when a situation in life arises that awakens one of those weaknesses we often surrender to weakness rather than standing up to it. Our weakness seems to whisper to us that we have no chance of beating it. And we believe our weakness.
While worry isn’t generally an area of weakness for me, when it comes to financial matters, I have been a worrying fool. Nothing sends me to a dark place faster than money issues. It doesn’t seem to matter much if its $10 or $10,000, if I need it and don’t have it, my mind races about in fear of the unknown. There have been times when I have been completely shut down by this fear.
Worry is fear. And fear is the opposite of faith. “Whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23b, ESV).
Not too long ago a situation arose that had my mind racing. I was worried, and upset, and afraid of the unknown. For a while I gave in to my default response. I allowed myself to go dark. But then a thought hit me square between the eyes like a folding chair in the squared circle. Instead of giving in to worry and fear, I could use it to find my way back to the place of faith.
If I was afraid of what might happen, maybe I should just consider all of the possible outcomes. What’s the worst thing that could come from this set of circumstances? Following each branch of possibilities I arrived at the worst-case scenario. And while it wasn’t pleasant, it wasn’t nearly as bad as my fear had led me to believe it could be. Given the worst I formulated a plan of action should it come to pass. Having a plan removes worry and fear. There’s a solution! And if it didn’t come to pass, then so much the better. Worrying steals from us. Our time, Our attention. Our peace.
There are many great scriptures about worry. Philippians 4:6 and Matthew 6:25-34 among them. If worry is a struggle for you, I encourage you to spend some time memorizing these verses and meditating upon them. Let them sink into your innermost being. For “which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matthew 6:27, ESV).
Then, when worry rolls around, take time to figure out the worst thing that could possibly come from it. Figure out a godly response to that worst case scenario. Turn the matter over to God. “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30, ESV). And “do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34, ESV).