Blog Post by
Ruling Elder Sharon Cardwell
St. Mark Presbyterian Church
Last night at our Deacons meeting we talked about doing something uncomfortable, like praying for the first time in front of a group. One of our members turned to Philippians 4:6-7 for inspiration–it states:
“Do not worry about anything, 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 understanding will guard your hearts and your minds as you rest in Christ Jesus”.
It started me thinking about how much time is wasted on worry and being anxious over things new to us, or for which we have no control. My mother worried over many things, and I suspect that tendency was passed on to me. I have to continually remind myself that it is futile to worry about something that I cannot change.
My husband used to drive up to Iowa to pick up my Mom when she’d come for a visit. He would often leave right after work in order to get there before it got too late–then they’d drive back the next day. Mom would always ask him to let her know what time to expect him. One time he asked her why she needed to know, as she knew about how long the drive takes. She replied that she wanted to know the time so that she’d know when to start worrying!
The tendency to worry has been a lifelong issue for me. I’m sure my children picked up on me worrying. Several years ago my daughter gave me a Mary Engelbreit plaque that says:
“Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, It empties today of its strength”.
How true that is! Worrying is an exercise in futility and does us no good. We need to be aware of habits that lead to unnecessary worrying. Sometimes we just need to adjust our thinking to be more positive, and not give in to the “what ifs”. Praying to God to remove our worrying is possible. We need to be aware of our shortcomings and remember that God gives us the strength to do let go of worries when we ask. When we do give our worries to God, there truly is a peace that comes, “which surpasses all understanding” as we “rest” in Christ Jesus. What a gift that is! It can keep us calm in a storm and help us handle problems without getting all worked up and stressed.
God also reminds us in Matthew 6:25-34 that we are not to worry. God will supply all our needs, like the birds of the air which God feeds or the lilies of the fields which God clothes. “Are we not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?” We are told that our heavenly father knows our needs—we are to strive for the kingdom of God and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you. Verse 34 says “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.”
I remember the time after we had first moved to the St. Louis area and I was having trouble finding a job. I spent many hours looking and worrying that I would not find something in the area I wanted. As soon as I turned that worry to God I felt a sense of peace—coincidentally I found a job soon after!
Even now with Covid still rearing its ugly head, many of us are anxious and worried about getting out and back into some routines. We still need to take precautions, of course, but constant worry over this situation is not good for us. We are not in control. To continually worry will even bring us physical ailments that can harm us for a longer period of time. This is something we can pray about and turn over to God.
A friend told me once that she sees me with a little light inside guiding me at difficult times. I was surprised to hear this, thinking she is surely seeing things. I do know now that for the most part (I’m still learning to lean and trust) God guides me daily. It is a comfort and brings me peace. As I have gotten older, I have learned better to not worry over little things and it seems to make life smoother. I still care about outcomes and still try to do all I can when I can…but I tend to be less anxious about things. I know God is in control and I’m not (though I admit, I still like to be at times). “Let go and let God” sounds so trite but it really is true and the way, I believe, to a happier, peaceful life.
St. Mark Presbyterian Church