Mountaintop Musings: The Cure for Worry
Last updated 1/7/2020 at 4:04pm
Lately I have found great contentment in some areas that have caused me much stress. However, as I write this column, I find that some of those "areas" have come back. I am feeling some anger and uncertainty and I do not like that. I do not want to feel stressed and angry at any person or situation. But guess what, I do! That is not good. I am letting some circumstances rob me of my joy in the Lord. I am trying to control a situation that is not my responsibility, or maybe one in which I have no power or authority to address.
Does that sound familiar? I bet it does. I would guess that most everyone reading this column has these feelings more than they would like to admit. I know some people don't get riled up at things. They leave it to "fate" or maybe they have more faith in the Lord than I do at times. But even as I write these words, I find myself going back to some basic truths. One is that I am only responsible for the decisions and actions of Dave Carroll. I will not be judged for your failures and screw-ups; and you won't be judged for mine!
Also, I get to remind myself that when I am worrying about things, I am trying to be the authority and ruler in an area that is not my responsibility. If someone wants to have the wrong priorities, they have the right to do that. You see God has wired us with this thing called "freewill". We can make our own decisions. We can choose to think of others better than ourselves and honor them. Or we can choose to step on their feelings, ignore their advice and discount their investment in our lives. We can do that. I can do that. It may not be a good thing for the relationship, but we can choose to put ourselves and our desires above everyone else's. When that happens, the relationship goes bad. We justify our actions, we defend our cause, but the respect and integrity that are at the core of a healthy relationship is damaged. One word for this negative behavior is selfishness. We want this, we desire that, it is my way or the highway.
Once I have weathered the storm of all this frustration, God whispers in my ear some wonderful truth that has helped be dozens of times. It is possibly the greatest antidote to worry and stress a person could receive. It is His advice, and I must say it is VERY GOOD! Read it for yourself:
Philippians chapter 2, verses 1-11. Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
I then go to chapter 4, verses 4-8 of the same book and I always get encouraged and peace. "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
The only cost for this advice is what you paid for the paper, so you get two bangs for your buck!
(Dave & Lisa Carroll are area missionaries with InFaith, America's oldest Christian home mission agency. You can contact Dave at 406.459.8935 or [email protected].)