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Matters of the Worried Heart—A 4 Part Series

Are you worried or doubtful, burdened by circumstances, uncertainty or loneliness? Discover the key to a hopeful heart!

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“But you slept on the inside last night!” I protested, vying for inside position of my brother’s bottom bunkbed, while images of a murder suspect at-large harassed my fledgling imagination.

I can still visualize his frightful face—pasty white with painted red eyes and black lips. 

Okinawa, Japan, holds the dearest childhood memories of gentle people, vibrant culture and breathtaking beauty, yet as with any home, the delightful and daunting coexist.

Seasonal typhoons threatening disaster, my father flying missions in wartime, and family with a tendency towards worry, myself included—I was fear’s pupil early in life.

worried

Given a front-row seat in the classroom, fear tutored me well in its manipulative craft. 

When it was beyond suppression, I learned to manipulate not only my brother, but circumstances to keep this formidable beast at bay. 

Recently, as my counselor unpacked my past with me, a 2-headed beast surfaced as a prominent player. Its 2 heads—rejection and conflict.

Entangled in its tentacles, fear dominated my every decision.

It wielded any weapon at its disposal—insecurity, sin, family dynamics, world events.

Gratefully, my counselor helped me discover strategies to weaken the stranglehold fear claimed on my worry-prone mind.    

When uncertainty claws for control, conflict threatens peace or rejection rears its beastly head, I can now counter consciously. 

Instead of trying to manipulate people or circumstances to protect whatever’s threatened—my reason, reputation, relationships—I ask for help because despite my newfound discoveries, worry still ambushes me. 

But this doesn’t have to be my forever story. 

God began a powerful work, turning my prayer-life right side up.

I held prayer dear for decades, but until I worked through my past, I couldn’t effectively contend for my present in prayer.

It’s not formulaic or fancy, as I once assumed.

While with us, Jesus demonstrated prayer is about communion with our Father—simple, sweet, straightforward.  

“But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer,” Luke 5:16.

These words repeat often throughout the gospel accounts. Jesus gained strength to persevere and found affirmation and adoration in His Father’s presence. 

And so can we. 

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus,” Phil. 4:6-7

I never realized my faith was so small.

Now, far from mature, it still falters, but every time I choose God’s presence over the 2-headed beast of my past, I gain a little more ground in my God-ordained race.

How do I choose Him in the midst of all the distractions vying for my soul? 

I come. It’s all I can do—I possess no power on my own, no prowess or prestige. 

It’s about my position in Christ!

And when we let someone in, we visit, collaborate, communicate.

Sometimes I sense His tender presence. Sometimes I do most of the talking. Sometimes I hear Him specifically. Sometimes we simply sit.

But coming is key.

God does nothing but by prayer, and everything with it.” John Wesley

Friend, what worries dominate your thoughts? 

Pandemic uncertainty, job loss; marital strife, raising children in today’s hostile culture, rejection, relational conflict, loneliness, loss?

Your concerns touch Jesus deeply; He longs to ease your worried mind. 

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest,” Matthew 11:28.

There’s one command in this verse. 

Come. 

Not—

  • try
  • work
  • plan
  • strategize
  • calculate
  • carry

This hasn’t been easy. It’s messy and un-perfect. I understand the continual, conscious effort. 

It’s not simple, but it’s sure. 

Allowing God to do what I cannot, I relinquish control into the capable hands of the One who is. 

So let’s do this together! This week, when we’re enmeshed in worry, let’s talk to our Friend, the One with all the answers.

Next, pick 2 promises addressing your worries, write them down on a sticky note and place them where you’re reminded of His truth. 

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most,” Hebrews 4:16.

Come, dear one! You’ll find strength and joy in His presence.

 

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