A couple of weeks ago I began to realize that most of the anxiety that sometimes bothers me is actually based upon things that rarely if ever actually come to pass. It's more of a "worry myself into a tizzy" kind of fear rather than a fear based upon something that is present in my life. One time I heard a statistic that said the majority of things people tend to worry about never actually come to pass!
I remember seeing the above cartoon hanging on a wall once and nearly laughing out loud because of a) the absurdity of the message and b) how spot on the message actually was. I mean, am I really the only one who sometimes thinks that worrying controls a situation? That maybe if I worry enough it won't happen?
While it may seem kind of funny at how absurd this line of thought is, it is precisely this deceptive kind of thinking that's poisonous to our faith. It is this type of worrying and anxiety that brings death and dismay because... we are not in control.
God doesn't want His children to live in a state of worry. He is the only Sovereign God Who loves, cares and protects us. He is constantly at work in our lives and know what He is doing. It's hard to admit but when we worry incessantly, we are playing the role that belongs only to God.
The "what if's" of life are dangerous. I've passed up one too many opportunities already because the question of "what if" controlled me. You see, by worrying we are not actually in control at all, the worry is in control. And if the worry is in control then that means God cannot truly be the One who is helping us to walk down the path He has for our lives.
We can't serve our worries and God at the same time. Jesus talked about the implications of serving two masters.
"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."Matthew 6:24
The context here is not the same but the principle still applies. We cannot serve our worries and God at the same time. We will either be devoted to serving our worries or devoted to serving God. The what if's of life are deadly and will cost us.
I don't want to live in fear of the what if's anymore. A thought actually came to me the other day, which I truly believe was from God, that helped me to realize what I like to think of as the "what if dilemma."
The What If Dilemma
If I let the what if's of today rule over me, then something even more tragic, heartbreaking, could happen when I'm old, gray and waiting to depart to be with the Lord-- missing out on the abundant life God had for me. The what if's of that day in the future may go more along the lines of...
What if I didn't let the worries rule over me? What if I went to where I felt God was leading? What if I hadn't let that opportunity pass me by? What if?
By God's grace, neither you nor I will have to come to the end of our lives with the what if's still hanging over our heads nor will we succumb to the what if's of today. That, my friend, is NOT God's plan for anyone.
The abundant life in Christ is available to you and me because the what if's of today and tomorrow have been nailed to the Cross.
I want to leave you with a poem by Shel Silverstein. My mother read this to me as a child and it's stuck with me all these years. I didn't fully understand it until I was an adult but for some reason or another I've always enjoyed this gem. I see now that perhaps God used this poem in my life without me even realizing it. (He really is in control!)
"All the Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
Layin' in the sun,
Talkin' 'bout the things
They woulda coulda shoulda done...
But those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
All ran away and hid
From one little Did"
By: Shel Silverstein
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